When I was first married, my mother-in-law sat down at her kitchen table and told me about the day she went to confession and told the priest that she and her husband were using birth control. She had several young children, times were difficult — really, she could have produced a list of reasons longer than your arm. “You’re no better than a whore on the street,” said the priest.
Ms. Collins was born in 1945. I think it's a safe assumption that her Mother-in-law would have been young in 1930 when Casti Connubii came out explaining the church's position against artificial contraception.
No one was in the confessional with her, so it's hard to know what exactly was said, but I think the gist of what the priest was saying (albeit perhaps not as pastorally as he could have) was that to use birth control has no place in the marital act. Casti Connubii put it this way:
Therefore the sacred partnership of true marriage is constituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution...
11. Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.Ms. Collins goes on:
These days, parish priests tend to be much less judgmental about parishioners who are on the pill — the military was not the first institution in this country to make use of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” system. “In most parishes in the United States, we don’t find them preaching about contraception,” said Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice. “And it’s not as though in the Mass you have a question-and-answer period.”
So her expert for what "most parishes in the United States" are preaching is Jon O'Brien of the dissident group Catholics for Choice, who apparently is unaware that the time for "question and answer" isn't at mass, but rather in the confessional. And of course to make a true confession and receive absolution, one must make a full and complete confession. Funny Mr. O'Brien left that out.
More from Ms. Collins:
Catholic doctrine prohibits women from using pills, condoms or any other form of artificial contraception. A much-quoted study by the Guttmacher Institute found that virtually all sexually active Catholic women of childbearing age have violated the rule at one point or another, and that more than two-thirds do so consistently.
Guttmacher - the left wing "fact finder" support for Planned Parenthood. Of course the stats used by Guttmacher et al were later debunked. Also, Collins is committing an Ad Populum fallacy. She even concedes that point in the next paragraph.
But as Collins continues she starts to re-write history:
The church didn't start this imbroglio - the Obama administration did, by mandating that Catholic institutions MUST provide coverage for medications and procedures it finds immoral.
The church is not a democracy and majority opinion really doesn’t matter. Catholic dogma holds that artificial contraception is against the law of God. The bishops have the right — a right guaranteed under the First Amendment — to preach that doctrine to the faithful. They have a right to preach it to everybody. Take out ads. Pass out leaflets. Put up billboards in the front yard.The problem here is that they’re trying to get the government to do their work for them. They’ve lost the war at home, and they’re now demanding help from the outside.And they don’t seem in the mood to compromise. Church leaders told The National Catholic Register that they regarded any deal that would allow them to avoid paying for contraceptives while directing their employees to other places where they could find the coverage as a nonstarter.
Secondly, I'm not sure that they church has lost the war at home. While Europe may be a lost cost, the faith in Africa is growing. I find in the US, there are many young Catholic families who are on fire for their faith, using NFP and being open to welcoming babies into their families. Come to Ohio Ms. Collins- I'd be happy to introduce you.
And lastly, the Catholic Church teaches that it holds the fullness of the faith to preserve and pass on to each generation. We aren't the Universalist Unitarians or the Anglicans - the faith is what it is; you don't compromise on God's truth.
She goes on:
We are arguing about whether women who do not agree with the church position, or who are often not even Catholic, should be denied health care coverage that everyone else gets because their employer has a religious objection to it. If so, what happens if an employer belongs to a religion that forbids certain types of blood transfusions? Or disapproves of any medical intervention to interfere with the working of God on the human body?Well here's a thought - if you don't agree with the Catholic Church on this issue- don't work at a Catholic institution. It's not that tough. Why would you want to work for an organization that doesn't share your core beliefs anyway?
In this paragraph I felt that Ms. Collins was deliberately being dishonest in framing the confrontation:
Organized religion thrives in this country, so the system we’ve worked out seems to be serving it pretty well. Religions don’t get to force their particular dogma on the larger public. The government, in return, protects the right of every religion to make its case heard.Catholics don't force people to work for the church. Catholics don't force people to come to their hospitals or attend and work in their schools. People have free will to do those things. It is Obama's government that seems to be brushing aside the separation of church and state in order to mandate religious institutions to do things against their faith.
And shame on Gail Collins for framing it any other way.