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Catholic Leaders Must Dial Down The Rhetoric

Memo Pad

Catholic Leaders Must Dial Down The Rhetoric


As a non-Catholic, I wrestled with an internal conflict over the birth control battle of the bishops.

Part of me has been so outraged over this all-male effort to undermine women’s reproductive rights that I can barely string together words that are appropriate for family newspapers. The other part of me has wondered whether my not being Catholic renders this mess a whole lot of none of my business.

As of this week, conflict resolved.

On Monday, Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio — where Rick Santorum gave his I-almost-won primary speech earlier this year — announced it was canceling all student health care insurance because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires coverage for “women’s health services.”

Translation: Blame the harlots.

“We encourage you to decide how you are going to provide for accidents or illnesses requiring visits to physicians, health clinics, or the hospital emergency room while you are a student here,” the university said in a statement.

In a news conference, the university’s president, the Rev. Terence Henry, said the Diocese of Steubenville had hired the top-gun law firm Jones Day to file suit against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Barack Obama’s administration. The diocese joins 11 similar lawsuits, all of them filed by Catholic organizations.

“Under no circumstances can Catholics be both in compliance with this new law and at the same time live that faith that we believe,” Henry said. “This is not just a Catholic issue. It is an issue for all people. It attacks our basic religious freedom. … This is a do-or-die issue for Americans.”

And with that, I am done with any internal conflict over my non-Catholic status in America.

If the Roman Catholic Church wants to make this about all Americans, then this American is unequivocal: Access to affordable contraception saves lives, and there is no constitutional right to discriminate against the women who need it.

You don’t have to be Catholic to be offended by a relentless campaign to cast sexually active females as God-defying, wanton women. And you don’t have to be a woman to object to the bishops’ attempts to keep women enslaved by their menstrual cycles.

The latest Gallup poll spells it out. If you think birth control is morally acceptable, you’re a member of the overwhelming majority of Americans. For those of you who like numbers, that’s 82 percent of Catholics and 90 percent of non-Catholics who think birth control is just fine.

Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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  1. ChristoD May 25, 2012

    As a recent rejector of the religion of my birth and a devoted Christian, I can assure you that if the church were to excommunicate all its’ followers who use, or used, birth control, they would have a grand total of 500 active members of the church in the US. This whole issue should be a non-issue in todays’ modern world were it not for the absoluteness of the present Pope who belongs more in the middle ages than the modern world. It is a crime against humanity to NOT use contraceptives for the good of all mankind. It is called reasonable and sane population control. The no-brainer of todays’ humanistic studies. In addition, the church needs to stay out of politics or lose its’ credentials as a tax free religion.

  2. seche May 25, 2012

    These are the people who molest children and then protect the molester . What do you expect.

  3. seche May 25, 2012

    I agree they should lose there tax free credentials. I personally think all religous groups should pay taxes just like the rest of us.

    1. korhal May 25, 2012

      I agree – religious organizations are in the business of spreading information and making money, so why not treat them like any other business?

  4. mtooey May 25, 2012

    The Castholic Church has been devaluing women since the 6th century. I”m just glad that everyone is finally seeing that. Jump forward to the 21st century – without contraception we are faced with abortion. Don’t they get it?

  5. William Deutschlander May 25, 2012

    This is simply and purely Republican, GOP, INSANITY!

  6. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012


    All this war on women crap is nothing but a distraction away from the real issue of this election: BH Obozo’s complete and utter failure in the job as president. If America focuses on Obozo’s record, he loses in a landslide. If he can deflect attention, he might have a chance by dividing us.

    BH Obozo has had a sum total of 1 (one) success, if you can call it that. Ordering the killing of OBL. That’s it. There is nothing else in 4 years. Nothing. And even that isnt really as big a deal for him as it is for the soldiers who actually did the mission.

    Lets take a look at some of Obozo’s other “successes”…….

    1) Obozo comes into office $10T in debt. 3.5 years later, $16T in debt
    2) 88 Million adults are NOT in the work force while only 63% are in the workforce. Thisis the lowest percentage of Americans at work since the Great Depression.
    3) 2 years complete control of the government. NO budget as required by the Constitution. Still has no budget. The one budget he presented that was actually voted on by the Senate wend down to defeat by a vote of 97 to 0. Nice work Mr. President!!! THAT IS an accomplishment!
    4) A new bankrupting entitlement program called Obozocare jammed through congress against the vast majority of Americans who were against it (and still are) and with the blessings of the idiot Nancy Piglosi who said “we have to pass the bill before we know what is in it”. And after all that, the crowing achievement of this president will be struck down like a rabid dog by the SCOTUS. Nice work, Mr. President!
    5) Persistent unemployment that has been the worst since the Great Depression, especially among blacks and young people. His administration keeps claiming unemployment is going down, but in reality, they manipulate the formula by reducing the # of jobs available. And then they claim that over 8% unemployment is good! Quite an accomplishment in propaganda, but not economics, Mr. President.
    6) Promises to close Gitmo…. instead, he spends $750K on a soccer field for terrorists. Dont get me wrong, Gitmo should stay open. This is an example of how stupid and naive Obozo really is. Nice accomplishment, Mr. President!
    7) Gas prices are up 100%++ across the nation. And Obozo is so dumb he actually believes that increasing supply has no effect on prices… what an idiot! Blocking EVERY permit that has come before his administration and blocking pipelines that increase supplies does HAVE consequences, Mr. President. Gas prices are through the roof! Nice going Mr. President!
    8) Real inflation rates are close to 8% or higher. Who measures inflation without food and fuel??????? Obozo does! Another strong achievement in propaganda, Mr. President!
    9) SOLYNDRA!!!!!!!! need I say more?
    10) OK, I will. SOLAR TRUST… another BILLION DOLLAR boondoggle in your attempt to play venture capitalist with taxpayer money that actually goes to your FAT CAT financier friends who are big donors. Nice money laundering accomplishment, Mr. President! Should I say more? OK.. I will…
    11) ECOTALITY – Another “green” Obozo investment disaster. Obozo gave them $115 MILLION. The SEC investigates fraud at the company. While that’s going on, Obozo gives them another $26 MILLION…. What an idiot! Nice accomplishment Mr. President!
    12) Fast and Furious!!!!! If this was a Republican Admin, all of you nutjobs that write on this web site would be going justifiably ballistic!! It would be the lead story on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSLSD, CNN, etc. etc.
    13) Same with the crook Jon Corzine. He steals $2B in client money, much of it farmers money, to cover his own bad bets. Then he gets to continue on raising money for Obozo like nothing ever happened. Where is Eric The Incompetent Holder? ……… crickets………. crickets……….. crickets………. Thought so!
    14) 88% of Americans say they are spending way more on groceries now than we were 4 years ago.
    15) 50% of Americans have had to give money to a relative at least once to help them get buy in the past 4 years.

    I’ll continue to refocus the discussion on what is important and not these foolish smokescreens the left throws up to obfuscate Obozo’s true failure as a socialist in the White House.

    Have a nice day!

    1. Bigspender May 25, 2012

      BOZO — am having a slow day so I decided to actually read your diatribe. It seems to be largely an assembly of false “facts” and illogical conclusions. But in the spirit of fairness I do agree with paragraph #15, i.e. more of us have been suffering from the terrible recession imposed on the US by the Bush administration and have needed help. Its a shame that the very people who caused this mess are now working overtime to ensure that the middle class and poor get no relief and that only the rich benefit from government largesse. On this point we do agree.

      1. Landsende May 25, 2012

        Bozo, maybe you think the war against women is a distraction because you aren’t one and don’t have a wife, sister, or daughters that are affected by the legislation the teapublicans and religious organizations are passing to limit rights women’s rights. How loud would you yell if they tried to take away your right to own a gun because your a male, or you must have a vasectomy as a form of birth control or your insurance cannot cover prostate cancer or the little blue pill for male impotence. Think about it. Would that be a distraction?

        Have a nice day!

    2. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

      Well well well, another big mouth teapublican who spends all his time watching Faux News and listening to dicks like Limbaugh and O’Reilly.
      You know … if all of you gas bags and shills would spend a few minutes fact-checking the BS and bile being spewed by these anti-American fascists, maybe you wouldn’t comes across as such a dick.
      And yes, the teapublican war on women is real. And it is not a distraction. Maybe it is for you because you don’t give a crap about women. But here’s a clue sherlock, the rest of us do!

      1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

        Fox News calls me to tell them what to think, pal! Just because you think you should have a right to tell everyone else what to do and that they must pay for your birth control pills and abortions, doesnt mean that’s the way America works. Your just another angry useful idiot and leftist nutjob whose bought the lies of the left and eats Obozo campaign propaganda like a dog eats his own vomit. The only difference between you and the dog is that the dog KNOWS its vomit, while you think it’s filet mignon.

        Have a nice day!

        1. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

          Kind of a violent piece of garbage aren’t you? Your mind is so warped and distorted you’ve become one of those racist bigots that swallows all of foxes loads and keeps coming back for more. You’re not capable of a discussions. All a-holes like you want to do is cram your bile and filth down everyone else’s throat. How bout this … you live your perverted little life the way you want and the rest of us will lead ours the way we want.

          1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

            You cannot say that you “think all religious freedoms should be revoked” and simultaneously say that “you live your life the way you want and I live my lifte the way I want.” Clearly, by your first statement, you are saying that religious people should live their lives the way YOU say they should.

            So which one is it?

            Have a nice day!

          2. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

            How’s that any different than religion trying to do the same thing?

          3. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

            Answer the question.I have not heard of any religion telling you what you have to do (other than Islam)

            You cannot say that you “think all religious freedoms should be revoked” and simultaneously say that “you live your life the way you want and I live my lifte the way I want.” Clearly, by your first statement, you are saying that religious people should live their lives the way YOU say they should.

            So which one is it?

            Have a nice day!

  7. Carol Martin May 25, 2012

    as an ex-catholic I am sooo proud to disavow any adherence to their b**sh*t..

  8. Bigspender May 25, 2012

    Without yet seeing the GOP version of the bill to protect women, its fairly certain that it will contain unmistakable republican features. Not being predominately muslims, house republicans will limit a husband’s right to beat his wife to certain specifically set forth justifications. For example, a husband may only beat his wife if she evidences immorality such as by having lunch with a male colleague, or if she disobeys, backsasses, or speaks ill of her husband in any public forum. Or if she dares to spank or harshly discipline any of her male children. Furthermore a husband may not beat his wife with any rod or other object that is more than 3/4″ in diameter. I’m sure the republicans will come up with other equally considerate ways to protect women in our society.

  9. 1totalk May 25, 2012

    I do not want the Catholic Church, or any church deciding what is right for me. What I do or believe is between me and God , and no one else.

  10. Bunny May 25, 2012

    This is one of the reasons I am a recovering Catholic ! ! !

    1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

      Hi Bunny! Just to clarify… so you think the Catholic Church should be forced to go against their conscience and beliefs to pay for your or any other woman’s BC pills or abortions? So while you have differing views, you think it’s OK to force your morality on them against the Constitution’s protections of religious freedom and an American time-honored tradition of freedom of conscience? Is that about correct? They have not been enforcing their policies on you, have they?

      Have a great Memorial Day weekend, Bunny!

      1. DurdyDawg May 27, 2012

        Not FORCED you idiot.. If they don’t want it, don’t ask for it but for those who do then it’s their right.. Better to pay for pills than welfare for the one’s who couldn’t find help when they needed it. BTW why don’t you find a nice right-wing forum to spew your self-righteous rhetoric..

  11. Bunny May 25, 2012

    The Catholic church has always put women down and will continue to do so until the end of time ! ! !

    1. catball June 30, 2012

      Yes my dear, this is very true however, this war on women is very real. I couldn’t believe what Rep. Townsend said last week.”the women in the senate should have acid thrown of them”. If the repubs had their way, women would never be able to leave their home. Remember what Michelle Bachman said. Her husband told her she had to go to school. She said she has to “obey him”. This is one of the things the t party believes in.

  12. PamelaT May 25, 2012

    If they are going to be involved in politics that the Catholics have for thousands of years they should never have been given their tax exempt status. Once you cross that line you are not a church but a political organization supported by the GOP. war on women

  13. joyscarbo May 25, 2012

    To me this isn’t a religious issue. It’s another human rights issue. If you’re catholic and believe that birth control pills and devices are wrong, don’t use them. Don’t use Plan B pills and abortion when your “rhythm method” fails.

    What a load of crap put forth by Catholic, Inc. They’re hardly a religion with all the money they bring in through collecting outrageous amounts of money from their vast array of universities. I know…17 years later and I’m still paying my student loans to a catholic university. I’m not now, nor have I ever been catholic. After meeting several student nuns and taking a “catholic tradition” course, I made my mind up that catholocism was NOT for me.

    1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

      Hi Joy! I hope you are well. Just saying hello!

      Have a nice day and a great Memorial Day weekend! 🙂

      PS> Don’t forget to say a prayer of thanks for those who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy as exemplified by the fact that we can come on sites like this and argue politics in a public forum without fear of retribution, regardless of your views.

      1. joyscarbo May 25, 2012

        I always do honor those who served- my deceased grandfathers, deceased father, step father, husbands (both of them), brothers, nephews, uncles. In fact, my great, great, great, great, great Grandfather served in civil war and was part of the unit that captured Jefferson Davis. (Sorry, southern folks be my family was on the right side of that war!)
        Hope you have a fabulous weekend as well. Always good to give you a little poke! 🙂
        Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend…to you and your family!

        1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

          WOW! Great history on your family. Mine’s been here since sometime in the mid-1600s and I also have long ago relations that fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Two of my great aunts spent 40 years traveling around as a hobby from the time they were young in the late 30’s to the late 70s when they were old, just to produce a family history. They produced a full size hardcover that was about 200 pages long at the time with pictures going back to the early 1800s. I am fortunate to have had such great aunts to know the things I do.

          Oh… and you know I like your pokes, Joy! Keep em coming. I’ll keep delivering mine, too. 🙂

          Have a great weekend! God bless you and your family!

  14. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

    I think all religious freedoms should be revoked. These people are given carte blanche to run around this country spewing their hate and intolerance while being given a complete tax free ride. I want to know when the IRS is going to get off their dead asses and start putting the screws to these organizations that flaunt their tax-free status in our face. They should be told directly, shut the hell up or lose your status. Choose!
    And don’t you just love it when the Vatican becomes incensed about the nuns here in the US trying to help the homeless and poor and yet remains calm and almost nonchalant about their rabid pedophile priests? It makes want to strangle them all!

    1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

      >”I think all religious freedoms should be revoked”<

      Whose the bigot here? I suppose you're next going to suggest that we scrap the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Then set up "camps" where all religious people can go to be re-educated or, better yet, introduced to the inside of a wonderfully warm and inviting oven, huh? I'll bet that appeals to piece of garbage like you, doesn't it?

      Have a nice day!

      1. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

        No I love the Constitution. It’s too bad imbeciles like you have no idea of what it means or what our founding fathers intended. Religious bigots like you pretty much need to keep your own narrow minded bronze age, fairy tale nonsense to yourself. Stop trying to judge people and the world thru your eyes of hatred. I’m saying you pretty much need to mind your own business.

        1. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012

          You cannot both love the Constitution and say you “think all religious freedoms should be revoked” at the same time.

          You do recognize the contradictory nature of your statements, don’t you?

          Or is it that you only like the parts that apply to your view of the world, but not the parts that don’t?

          Which one is it?

          Have a nice day!

  15. LakeCounty May 25, 2012

    Well well well, another big mouth teapublican who spends all his time watching Faux News and listening to dicks like Limbaugh and O’Reilly.
    You know … if all of you gas bags and shills would spend a few minutes fact-checking the BS and bile being spewed by these anti-American fascists, maybe you wouldn’t comes across as such a dick.
    And yes, the teapublican war on women is real. And it is not a distraction. Maybe it is for you because you don’t give a crap about women. But here’s a clue sherlock, the rest of us do!

  16. ObozoMustGo May 25, 2012


    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – And maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened
    his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death,
    -by his parents, Truth and Trust,
    -by his wife, Discretion,
    -by his daughter, Responsibility,
    -and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
    – I Know My Rights
    – I Want It Now
    – Someone Else Is To Blame
    – I’m A Victim
    – Pay me for Doing Nothing

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

    If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

    Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Remember, we are the land of the free because of the brave.

    1. joyscarbo May 25, 2012

      OH PLEASE, Bozo! Quit with the sanctamonious bullcrap! What the hell does a six year old boy and sexual harrassment have to do with women’s health rights or the continued harboring child molesting priests??!! “Common sense” and “common decency” dictates that these molesting men of the cloth should be criminally charged, convicted and sent to prison. Women need birth control. It’s basic part of a woman’s healthcare whether you guys (and priests) like it or not!!! Families can’t afford huge families these days. And we have the science to help families control the number of children they have. Why does male-dominated religion (catholics and evangelics, primarily) insist on trying to regulate women’s reproductive rights? Maybe you guys need to put the Viagra down and go get vasectomies!!

  17. Justin Napolitano May 25, 2012

    Tell Terence Henry to go f** himself. How will they continue to have a school if the students tell them that they refuse to attend without health insurance. If you want a civil war in this country just allow the Catholic bast**s to continue their bulls** against women.

  18. Justin Napolitano May 25, 2012

    The government should also cut off all aid and student loans to those attending this school and since they are fighting the constitution of the United States and the civil laws of this country they should be investigated as possible insurgents and criminals.

  19. sleeprn01 May 25, 2012

    I would like to join in the chorus that is asking for the Catholic church to lose their tax free status. They have become politically active attacking the incumbent administration with ludicrous charges of interfering with religious freedom. In addition to corporate income tax they should also pay local property tax. Perhaps instead of hiring high profile lawyers to prove how misogynist five old men dressed in drag really are, maybe the church should use that money to pay off the law suite judgements levied against them for the child abuse scandal instead of claiming bankruptcy. Instead of worry about other peoples sex lives, maybe they should take a long hard look at themselves and quite throwing stones at others. A thousand years of enlightenment hindered by myths and prejudice.

  20. Joe Steel May 26, 2012

    The other part of me has wondered whether my not being Catholic renders this mess a whole lot of none of my business.

    That’s not it. It is your business because this whole thing isn’t really about contraception or religious freedom. At least, it shouldn’t be.

    This is about workers’ rights.

    In America, we’ve accepted private enterprise as the basis of our economy and have institutionalized it with over 200 years of laws and rule-making. That puts workers at the mercy of plutocrats with only unions and legislatures to protect and promote their interests. With unions becoming less influential in setting working conditions and legislatures become increasing conservative and hostile toward workers, every step toward protecting workers’ rights is precious and has to be defended by everyone who works for a living. That means all of us have to get involved in this fight to stop the Catholic Church from denying workers their just benefits.


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