Catholics for Choice

Crux think piece: Just try to pin a political label on the agony loyal Catholics are feeling

Crux think piece: Just try to pin a political label on the agony loyal Catholics are feeling

Please consider this post a quick follow-up on this morning's blog item about a Washington Post story on the pain and confusion that is setting in for many doctrinally conservative Evangelical Protestants facing the choice of voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton or Citizen Donald Trump.

This is a religion story, of course. The more seriously one takes centuries of church teachings on moral theology and life issues -- the whole spectrum of issues from abortion to the dignity of every human person (including immigrants) -- the more painful this White House race gets.

So how do you think conservative members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are feeling right about now? How long can they remain all but silent?

With that in mind, let me point readers toward a think piece that ran over at Crux, under this headline: "Trump v. Clinton matchup has Catholic leaders scrambling." The key to this story is that it shows, once again, how hard it is (#DUH) to pin conventional political labels on the teachings of the Catholic Church (and my own Orthodox Church, for that matter).

Readers get to hear people from rather different political perspectives say some remarkably compatible things, in terms of doctrine. That's a compliment.

So, let's try pin-the-label on the quote, shall we? Which quote is from the Catholic left, which is from the Catholic right and which one is actually from a Protestant who is frequently involved in dialogues with Catholic leaders?

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Wanted: Critical distance in the mainstream press on overseas abortion stories

Wanted: Critical distance in the mainstream press on overseas abortion stories

About six weeks ago, the story broke of the Nigerian army finding and freeing about 677 women and girls who’d been enslaved by Boko Haram in the Sambisa Forest in the northeastern part of the country. About 214 of them were pregnant. However, none of them were the girls from Chibok who had been kidnapped a year ago.

Last Thursday, a coalition of liberal religious groups seized the moment to demand that the Obama administration fund abortions for these women. A press conference at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Park from the White House featured groups ranging from Catholics for Choice to Muslims for Progressive Values and the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

I will start with how the New York Times framed it:

WASHINGTON -- A starkly worded ad began appearing this week at bus stops near the White House. Next to a silhouette of President Obama’s back reads the words: “Don’t walk away from women and girls raped in conflict. Act now.”
A coalition of religious and human rights leaders on Thursday followed up the advertisement with demands that Mr. Obama support the financing of abortions for women raped during violent conflicts overseas by members of terrorist groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram.
The leaders of several Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups accused the president of talk rather than action in addressing the grim fate of women and girls by refusing to direct the United States government to help pay for abortions in cases of rape in foreign countries.
“President Obama has spoken compassionately about women and girls raped in war and conflict, but has failed to act on that compassion,” the coalition said.

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Crux leaves out crucial details in story on gay activists, Catholic education

Crux leaves out crucial details in story on gay activists, Catholic education

Crux is the Boston Globe site that covers “all things Catholic” with a staff of six. They got everyone’s attention in 2014 when they snared famed Vatican scribe (formerly with the National Catholic Reporter) John L. Allen, Jr., to be their omnipresent front-line reporter, as well as a columnist and blogger.

Many of us who watch this beat were grateful that a large newspaper put time and money into covering a flock that is so dominant in their circulation area. And Boston is a very Catholic place, in many ways the heart of progressive Catholic life in this land.

Anyway, the Crux team just ran a piece about a council of war by five organizations that are concerned that crackdowns by bishops - specifically in San Francisco -- on who may or may not teach in Catholic schools will result in employees being fired.

CHICAGO -- A group of Catholic activists gathered in Chicago over the weekend for a brainstorming session aimed at stopping the firings of gay employees, Crux has learned.
The “Church Worker Justice Strategy Session” was held at the Catholic Theological Union Friday through Sunday.
Representatives from several organizations — Catholics for Choice, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, New Ways Ministry, Dignity USA, and Call to Action — attended the meeting, along with workers from Catholic parishes, dioceses, and schools. About 30 people participated.
Participants discussed “discrimination, at-will employment, morality clauses, and how we might build some power to push for just employment practices in the workplace,” said Ellen Euclide, program director at Call to Action.

First, I think it’d be only fair to mention near the top of this piece that most if not the groups mentioned are not exactly considered Catholic by the leaders of the Catholic church itself. That factoid gives the story a lot less weight -- since the Catholic church remains, to say the least, a hierarchical church.

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