Friday, August 3, 2012

On our obligations

In discussion on another blog, I was asked to justify my disagreement with the Church Hierarchy. The discussion was with respect to the USCCB statement of 12 April, this year, on religious liberty.

My disagreement is with their reference to "undocumented immigrants", a phrase which is at best, disingenuous. The people are illegal aliens, and many of them have contributed very unpleasantly to our lives, bringing with them drug-resistant strains of diseases we had all but obliterated, violent criminals, high levels of illiteracy and low levels of skill. I am not opposed to immigration, which is a legal process in which these people have elected not to participate. My wife and step-daughter are immigrants. Not illegals.

However, to the issue at hand.

In essence, the question is how dare I disagree with the bishops?

Well, let us review.

The statement is from the USCCB, not the Holy Father, so it is not binding. And had it been from the Holy Father, and not promulgated as an infallible teaching, it would still not be binding. It is simply a statement of what the signatories to the document believe are the approaches we should support in a number of areas.

With all due respect, I disagree with them on the illegals. I will never refer to them as "undocumented immigrants", as this is a deflection, a distraction from the legal reality that these people are here illegally.

As to the "basic human right" of health care, if it is a right, then its provision is an obligation. The logical result is either that we declare doctors are bound to provide free care, or that society is. Or in the style of our current president, we might declare that corporations must provide it at no charge. All of these are nonsense.

An aside: No one is refused health care at this time, anyway. Between 1997 and 2004, in California, 44 hospitals closed their doors forever, bankrupted by providing care to those unable to pay, a cost they were obligated to because they participated in Medicare and Medicaid.

Economics as a study was invented by the Church, long ago. Yet today, her princes, not unlike our politicians,appear to have forgotten it, or have not been schooled in it.

Returning to the topic, what are our obligations? First, we are obligated to obey what Christ taught, and then, what the Church infallibly teaches. And what of the bishops? Well, it is worth remembering that during the Arian heresy, 90% of the bishops were eventually on the wrong side of that. Should the faithful have followed them? Are we lemmings? We are called to obey Church teachings; we are also called to right reason, and to turn away from sin and heresy, itself a sin.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post, Bill. Personally, I think Bishops conferences are unnecessary, at least insofar as they act like a traditional aspect of the Magisterium. Synods/Local Councils are one thing, local gatherings of Bishops from a certain area in an organized and solemn manner to guide their respective joined territory. But this strange, new thing of Bishops conferences issuing teachings is just... odd. I think it makes the Holy Father harder to hear and follow, with constant exercise of Collegiality through joint statements from the conferences. Oh well.. if that's the nature of Mother Church for the time being, I will obey. Certainly, these statements are not at all binding though. We are bound to respect at least the General Magisterium of our diocesan Ordinary when he teaches us, and if he thus agrees with a USCCB statement we ought to bow the will and intellect and not talk back to him, though we may disagree respectfully.