the [New York] archdiocese’s own money is used to pay for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion for workers at its affiliated nursing homes and clinics.The Times reported this in their Sunday edition over the holiday weekend, so the reaction has yet to hit. We are given a moment here to guess how this might play out.
Now, here's the worst case scenario ...
- Bill Donohue of the so-called Catholic Defense League will point out that Cardinal Dolan was not the one who agreed to this, and New York state law requires this and the archdiocese is paying the premiums in protest, and the New York Times is an abortion-loving liberal rag trying to bring down a good and holy man, and it's all a left-wing conspiracy, and on and on.
- Conservative Catholics (many of whom are secretly pro-contraception anyway) will rally behind Cardinal Dolan, regardless of how he handles this situation.
- Dolan will say, "Well, the plans are in place and we can't take insurance benefits away from families, and I didn't know about this and I'll sure as shootin' look into this right away and we'll see what can be done, and on and on."
Sad if such prevarication, equivocation and game playing happens, but it probably will.
Here's another worst case scenario. Paul described it to his church in Thessalonica 2,000 years ago.
At the End Times, some may will perish eternally, says Paul
because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity. (2 Thes. 2:10-11)
Do we know Catholics who refuse to love or to believe the truth, who consent to believe Lying? Do we know Catholics who consent to iniquity - itty bitty iniquities, done to shame and ridicule our enemies, abortion clinic workers?
Certainly lay Catholics, especially conservative lay Catholics, would not prevaricate or equivocate the way the bishops do, would they? Good solid Mass-going conservative lay Catholics will not be damned when Jesus comes again, having participated in the "operation of error" in order to believe and put their faith in Lying, would they?
Don't fool yourself. The Lying Debate has not been about words. It has been about the fate of the Church and the fate of our souls.
Here's the best case scenario.
1. Dolan shows that he lives the faith he preaches. He immediately and without hesitation cancels the policies in question, and instructs the archdiocese of New York to "self-insure" the employees who have been covered. The insurance the archdiocese will provide will not henceforth pay for any procedure that's contrary to Catholic teaching - which is precisely what he and the bishops have been fighting for all this time. Dolan apologizes publicly and does public penance, offering nary an excuse or a PR spin. He behaves like a true Prince of the Church, like a true Apostle of Christ.
or (I know that's pretty far-fetched, but he is a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and so he has some character) ... or ...
2. Dolan does what Dolan does, and either way, lay Catholics man up. If the bishops fail us (again), we will simply step in as we've done before - since bishops and cardinals and even popes have been failing the Church from the get-go. If Dolan drops the ball and hems and haws and (frankly) lies in this case to save himself from embarrassment (lying for a good cause, you see), we man up.
We reject Lying, even for a Good Cause. We stop playing games with the Catechism. We stop attacking each other on the internet. We stop worrying about defending a Church that Christ assured us will never fall.
We start living holy lives. We mortify the flesh, repent of our sins, give ourselves to the life of the Spirit, and seek first the Kingdom of heaven.
If we must, we will let the bishops - our teachers - learn from us.