Saturday, April 16, 2016

WSJ's William McGurn's Criticism of Notre Dame Is Misplaced Foolishness.

William McGurn, in his recent WSJ column ('The Little Sisters vs. Notre Dame', April 5, p. A11) makes the lame argument that the Little Sisters of the Poor are veritable moral champions for refusing to accept an Obama administration accommodation to the Affordable Care Act's birth control provision.  Recall that contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the ACA health care law. The administration pointed to research showing that the high cost of some methods of contraception discourages women from using them. A very effective means of birth control, the intrauterine device, can cost up to $1,000.

Houses of worship and other religious institutions whose primary purpose is to spread the faith are exempt from the birth control requirement. Other faith-affiliated groups that oppose some or all contraception have to tell the government or their insurers that they object.  The Little Sisters, whose mission is to care for the sick elderly, did this and were granted an accommodation. This meant they did not have to provide birth control under their plan, but via a secondary insurance platform. But they've rejected even this.
They are resolved that birth control (artificial) violates  their precious Catholic dogmas, but in fact they are deliriously out of touch with reality. The Catholic birth control doctrine as pointed out by Hans Kung ('Infallible?') has never ever been posited ex cathedra which means from the chair of St. Peter, the Pope (assuming his infallibility). but from the Magisterium or teaching office. In other words, it is more a recommendation not an edict for black-white moral action.
If a ruling comes from the Magisterium or teaching office, then it isn't binding! It isn't binding on Catholics and it isn't binding on those they would serve, say in their hospitals (patients who need contraceptives) or institutions (workers there, who aren't even Catholics!)
This has a direct bearing on the Little Sisters'  refusal to budge which McGurn sees as their "pluck and mettle" with the Obama administration "forcing them to choose between their faith and the loving care they provide men and women too old or poor to care for themselves". A bigger pile of ripe merde has seldom been confected - unless one reads some of the tripe penned by Warren Commission apologists.
The facts? NO ONE is forcing the Little Sisters to compromise their principles since their Catholic employees are still not affected by the accommodation (which McGurn dismisses as "fake"). That means they are still bound by the Sisters' perception of the Magisterium as prohibiting artificial birth control" so their plan is not obliged to provide it.
The difference applies not to Catholic employees but to secular employees working at their institutions. “Imposing one’s faith” means taking away rights of secular citizens– based on invoking one’s own imagined religious principles.  In other words, extrapolating their “principles” beyond their proper moral domain to take away the rights of citizens who aren’t part of that domain other than in an employee capacity.
While McGurn pompously rakes the University of Notre Dame over the coals for "signing under pressure"  and insisting the Little Sisters need to "put some fight back in the Fighting Irish" - the fact is Notre Dame doesn't need it. As opposed to McGurn's take of an expedient capitulation, the more plausible explanation is that the University recognized the same arguments I put forward above. That is, that the Church's magisterium prescriptions on birth control doesn't extend to an institution's secular employees, only the Catholics.
Let's also get clear that McGurn isn't making any of his specious arguments out of a concern or pure support for the Little Sisters. No, he's doing it out of his own ideological stance that insists ever increasing population is needed and the world can support it - for capitalist advance. See e.g.
In that post I attacked McGurn for sloppy thinking regarding population dynamics and effects, as when he argued that the primary error of Thomas Malthus was  asserting that "humans were primarily mouths to feed and not minds to be unlocked"  I wrote:
"McGurn is clearly too dense to process that unless those new mouths are fed, they won't be doing any thinking, and certainly not of the radically transformative, energy intense form he and his capitalist Pollyannas demand! "
I indicated as well that the Borlaug revolution is almost all but spent, and climate change and its droughts will easily wipe out even the GMO crops on offer.

From all points of view, then, the wide dissemination of artificial birth control devices and pills is of a higher moral order than enabling indiscriminate births that are already overtaking the food and water supply. It is a pity that the Little Sisters, as well as McGurn, aren't aware of that higher moral imperative or don't really care - preferring to put a specious dogma ahead of human survival.

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