Okay, so, I think we can all agree to a few things, from the discussion thus far:
1st - Father Sotelo stated:
...the Church's mission is to apply to souls, in time and space and history, the graces and fruits of the Blood Atonement of Calvary so that souls persevere in divine charity and are saved from hellfire. "Save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy."
2nd - From James' quotes from Catechism:
Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task "to preach the Gospel of God to all men," in keeping with the Lord's command.
Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates.
When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed,"419 and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith."
The Eucharist is the center of the life of the particular Church. The bishop and priests sanctify the Church by their prayer and work, by their ministry of the word and of the sacraments. They sanctify her by their example, "not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock."
"The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but over and above that also by the authority and sacred power" which indeed they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that of their Master.
I think we can all agree that while social justice is one of the ways in which we live our Faith, the mission of the Church is not to focus on bringing about social justice on earth, but rather to preach the Gospel and offer the Sacraments in order to lead souls to the sanctifying grace that saves souls.
So - given that...
Let me turn finally to the thought that permeated my consciousness during the lecture I attended on the HHS Mandate, the fuzzy little thing that caused me to start this thread which has helped that thought slowly become clear and come to fruition in my mind...
The lecture was given by a conservative professor of political theory, a good and solid Catholic who addressed the issue of the HHS Mandate precisely as our Bishops have collectively addressed it and precisely as I had been addressing it: "the real issue is not contraception and abortificiants; the issue is religious and political freedom." Indeed, I had just watched the movie "The Cardinal" and still had the cardinal's final words ringing in my head: "...the hell on earth that results if totalitarianism prevails."
And then he turned to the case about Bob Jones University, which had appealed to the Supreme Court the ruling by the IRS to revoke its Tax Exempt status, due to it supporting and advocating a policy that was contrary to established Public Policy. Bob Jones lost its case. The Court ruled that an organization that supports policies contrary to the public interest as expressed in public policy, has no grounds for being exempt from taxes. It is not serving a public good that would justify such an exemption. The professor pointed out that if Obamacare succeeds in making Contraception established public policy, the Church could very well lose her tax exempt status.
She could win in keeping her religious freedom, her political freedom of not having to pay for employee coverage of contraception, but if Obamacare succeeds in having it recognized as a part of "Preventive Healthcare for Women" that the government rules must be included in healthcare coverage, then the Church keeps her political and religious freedom but could lose her tax exempt status. He pointed out that with as much property as the Church owns, that would be devasting financially to one parish after another, one Catholic school after another, one Catholic hospital after another... The result would be devastating to the Church.
And then that little thought appeared in my mind: "Oh my Lord, it IS about contraception!"
And as I tried to work that thought through, what it meant, I kept coming back to the question I had to ask all of you, all of us: what is the Church's mission? Is it political freedom? Is it religious freedom?
Or is it preaching the Truth? Is it saving souls?
We are where we are today, over 50 million aborted innocent little lives, and who knows how many more than that aborted through contraceptives, and who knows how many souls lost in the act of committing those horrendous murders, because the Church, our Bishops, backed away from their core MISSION - to spread the Truth, Humanae Vitae
, to those in their care. They turned from preaching and teaching, and sanctifying, through the teaching of Humanae Vitae
to preaching and focusing on Social Justice issues... and helped thereby to wreak this cultural devastation in which we are now drowning.
And now - when once again it appears that God Himself has placed before them the opportunity to teach about the Dignity of Human Life, they are all - in unison - screaming what? "It's NOT ABOUT CONTRACEPTION, it's about POLITICAL and RELIGIOUS FREEDOM."
Is that any different from what they've been doing all these many years?
Is it REALLY about political and religious freedom? Aren't those just another side of the Social Justice coin?
Or is it REALLY about CONTRACEPTION?
With Love and Prayers,