Being a Catholic right now is so exciting–it means I get to be outraged because my bishop told me to. Now don’t get confused, bishop outrage is different from the Catholic League’s everyday outrage. The Catholic League makes a big to-do over anything that can get them press, like their recent huff over Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance and Pope accessory. As scandalous as it is for Catholics to see someone perform with a priest, monks and altar boys to O Come All Ye Faithful, the Catholic league does not speak for the Church nor is it endorsed by it. This is because the Church has been dealing with human beings for 2,000 years and knows that the outrage card is only powerful if used sparingly. So imagine my surprise when President Obama decided to play a game of “Piss Off the Catholic” with the entire Catholic Church and the Church took the bait. If you’ve never played before, “Piss Off the Catholic” is a side-splitting pastime that even Catholics partake in, where one person says traditionally outrageous things at a conservative dinner party such as “Gays should marry,” and, “Women should be priests.” It’s such a good time and one I look forward to at every family holiday.
For this round of the game, the President chose the topic of contraceptives. The Catholic Church condemns the use of contraceptives and has been sure to reiterate this since 1967–just in time to cock-block Catholic hippies during that year’s Summer of Love. Why does the Church say no to contraceptives? I still don’t know, but the delightful read can be found in Pope Paul VI‘s Humanae Vitae. There the deceased Pope explains how it’s okay to prevent pregnancies using the Natural Family Planning method, but not through the use of a lowly relationship-crushing condom. If this doesn’t make sense to you, then you must not be married. After all, how could a single person understand what a marriage is all about.
I was so excited when Obama went for it and from out of nowhere told the Catholic Church that their employee health plans had to provide contraceptives for those working in their hospitals and school (not churches). Oh man, the faces on those bishops must have been priceless! Not only did he piss off the church but he got pro-contraceptive people calling into radio stations yelling because they thought the Catholic Church was preventing women from their right to use a pill. It was the best game of “Piss Off the Catholic” I’ve ever seen. Secretly I hoped Obama would even venture into “Piss Off the Lame Boss” and tell an old employer of mine that he needs to provide his employees with a less strict dress code. After all, it’s our right to freedom of speech to wear what we want, and my old boss who left corporate law to open up a coffee shop, continues to make all of his employees dress like corporate lawyers against their wills.
So then after all was said and done, President Obama must have spoken to Susan G. Komen, because as the rage grew, he rescinded his proposal this week and came to a compromise with the angry bishops. Now Catholic Institutions no longer have to pay for contraceptives, instead it’s their health insurance companies that will have to. That’s it?! A compromise? Not just one more jab from either team to keep the press going? Is it just me or does anyone else feel like they were watching the best episode ever of their favorite TV show and it all turned out to be a dream. Or worse yet, an unaired episode of Punk’d.
- Contraception’s Con Men (nybooks.com)
- Catholic League Blasts Nicki Minaj’s Grammy Performance (rollingstone.com)
- Bishops don’t speak for most Catholics on contraception (cnn.com)