The following comes from a longtime priest in the archdiocese of Milwaukee (links added):
[Y]ou can guess why I am contacting you--this flare-up over contraception. I'm trying to look beyond the hyper-ventilating about "religious liberty" (poor Courtney Murray would turn over in his grave to hear this precious term used the way it is by "Fightin'" Tim Dolan and Bill Lori.)
I get the politics...it makes sense--so does some sort of compromise make sense (Biden may have been wrong about getting bin Laden but he had some wisdom here that was overlooked--I think he knows the hard-right of the Catholic church better than most of Obama's inner circle.)
But I can't get my mind around the likes of America and NCR joining in on the Obama bashing (Commonweal seems more restrained). And I can't understand it because both of these periodicals have been in the forefront of challenging the ban on artificial contraception and documenting the non-reception of Humanae Vitae by US Catholics. I don't need Guttmacher stats to tell me that using contraceptives is not an issue for Catholic women...I see it every week at the Masses I celebrate at large suburban parishes...each one of those couples has 2.5 kids...I hear it in the casual conversations that men have with me informing me that they long ago had "snip-snip"...I haven't had confession about birth control in years...So why the uproar about a "mandate" that mirrors what many states do (Marquette provides contraceptive coverage for its employees and has for years--neither Dolan nor Listecki has ever said a word.) What exactly is the difference between the state and federal mandates--co-pays? I tried to follow Lawrence O'Donnell's coverage of this wherein he insisted that states had exemption clauses--but he made no sense--and his guest seemed to contradict him.
But what of the subtext of all of this--a deliberate and (if the NYT is to be believed this AM) a pre-meditated attack by the Catholic bishops on the character and reputation of a sitting president and an effort to affect the outcome of a presidential election...I cannot remember there ever being such a frontal assault on a sitting president and a concentrated effort to affect the outcome of a presidential election in our history. Prelates had their preferences (Spellman for Nixon and not a few for Bush in 2004) but I can never remember any election cycle where the interference was this blatant. Is Deal Hudson still calling the shots? Put this together with several of the former US ambassadors to the Holy See who openly supported Romney (including Mary Ann Glendon whose defense of Father Maciel was unconscionable)....and can we expect a "mandate" to "faithful" Catholics to vote for Romney (providing Opus Dei's child, Santorum doesn't edge him out)?
I really am confused about this...I know the politics--and how the message was lost and coopted by the fake "religious liberty" meme--but what the hell--with the NCR and America--have they lost sight of their own reporting on contraception?