Friday, April 24, 2015

Cardinal George, who died...

...last week at age 78, was buried yesterday. Is it too soon to say something critical of the former prelate?

From his obit in the New York Times (my emphasis):

Cardinal George became a hero to many Catholic traditionalists in the United States and in Rome, where he had worked for a dozen years as vicar general of his religious order, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The foster care program of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago closed in 2011 after he refused to comply with an Illinois state requirement that charities that receive state funding must not reject same-sex couples as potential foster care and adoptive parents.

The bishops conference supported government health care reform, but early on Cardinal George took the lead in the group’s opposition to Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act because of its mandate that employers include coverage of birth control in their health plans.

Now, I'm willing to cut the Cardinal a little slack on his homophobia. After all, we've all "evolved" on that subject in the last ten or twenty years. Heck, some of us who were laughing and retelling "fag" jokes not too long ago are now renting Airbnb rooms from 72-year-old gay men in West Hollywood!

But it's on that second point, birth control, that I have a bit of a problem with Cardinal George. I mean, come on, it's not too much to ask that he acknowledge the reality that, after almost 50 years since Humanae vitae was issued by Pope Paul VI, the overwhelming majority of Catholic couples practice some form of artificial birth control. Was it really worth opposing the Affordable Care Act, which has allowed some ten million people to finally obtain health insurance, because of some quixotic crusade on birth control? 

Healthcare reform has arguably saved lives. Isn't that more important than whether or not some married Catholic woman is on the pill?

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