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(RNS) The Catholic bishop leading the hierarchy's push against the White House's contraception mandate says the bishops hope to re-start contentious talks with the Obama administration but says church leaders "have gotten mixed signals from the administration" and the situation "is very fluid." By David Gibson.

2 Comments

  1. Why should Bishop Lori bother with more of his rigid efforts to undermine the Constitution and replace it with Catholic theology. Lori and Dolan of New York, who appointed Lori to his position, think they can just dictate their faith to the rest of the country–especially when even the members of their own church, by a vast majority, pay no attention to them.

    All but Baptism and the Holy Communion were invented sacraments having no biblical ground, and they were developed slowly to add more power, more control, to the bishops over other members of the church. That worked all right until the masses of lay people became at least as educated as the clergy. Lay people were subdued out of fear and with the notion that the clergy have secret, sacramental powers over them.

    Confirmation was added after the practice of infant baptism was started. An infant can’t make am intelligent decision, no kids can. The Baptists have it right. God will take care of those who die early, and Baptism should wait until maturity when the individual can make that intelligent choice. Of course, that would eliminate the need for Confirmation which in most cases is a formality that is practiced too early, anyway, like Baptism.

    No more. The practice of Sacraments, their invention and use as an abuse of power, whether the papacy, its bishops, or many illiterate lay people understand it or not, because they haven’t studied church history sufficiently, are fading away. That’s a nice way of saying the Sacraments, as we’ve known them, are dying. Look at the reduction of hours for “Confession” anymore. Lay people are no longer subscribing to the idea that they need a priest intermediary to make amends for wrong-doing.

    What used to be called Extreme Unction has become a formality of a priestly blessing, imploring the reduction of illness or the gathering of peace at the end. Like Penance, it is slowly disappearing. There are other ways.

    Naturally, until the lay people of God assert themselves to have an equal say in their church with the clergy, they will submit to the hierarchy about the ordination of more clergy–and that will continue, wrongly, to be for men only, men who promise not to marry. We’ve learned it’s not wise to ignore the natural drive for sexual satisfaction. That’s why the church has been so involved in covering up the sexual abuse of young people by its clergy–all sin and crime. Celibacy has nothing to do with Scripture, either, but clergy, from the popes on down, and too many lay people, won’t admit that. So they continue to have a system that attracts misfits who claim, when they are young, that they will forego the sexual drive that is part of their nature. It doesn’t work. It”s wrong.

    More and more lay people are going through multiple marriages and not bothering with the church system of obtaining permission for separations. It costs too much money! And now, Lori and Dolan and Benedict are making a big to-do about gay marriage. Hey, the clergy in most places have been delegated by the state to preside over marriages as a convenience to avoid double events, but they are not forced to do so. The better solution would be to require civil marriages of everyone, ending the practice of clergy as official presiders, and let people go through a second, religious ceremony in their churches if that’s what they want–and what their churches demand–after they’ve completed their civil ceremony.

    So the sacraments are in steep decline, like so much of religion and church affairs–except the waste of the lay people’s money by bishops to pay for super-expensive lawyers and accountants to help them hide their sins and crimes or avoid the justice of facing the consequences for their behavior. Why aren’t lay people screaming about that waste of their money?

    Like it or not, the only two rituals left that deserve to be called Sacraments are mature Baptism, needing no Confirmation, and the Eucharist. Then let’s fight it out with the papacy over who qualifies for performing clerical duties and all church management.

  2. I guess I could carry on and on in a similar fashion about what I don’t like about Obama, the government, and how most people don’t trust the government, but I won’t. Like it or not, this is a full frontal attack on freedom of religion and it is only the beginning. If this wall comes down, expect a flurry of attacks and orders that will change or destroy freedoms quicker than anyone can believe. If you enjoy the government having all the rights and the people being subjects without rights, then I guess I’m talking to a Communist. Otherwise, see it for what it is – a battering ram on the wall separating and protecting The Church from the State.