Two items in today’s papers involving the Catholic Church. Both expose the stubbornness, insensitivity, and hypocrisy of the Vatican and its doctrines.
One reports that UW Medicine has signed an agreement with PeaceHealth, a Catholic health care system. The article quotes a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union:
“We are troubled and concerned because we have yet to see the final details,” said Sarah Dunne, legal director for the ACLU of Washington. “What we don’t know is whether this is a Trojan horse. … They’re saying they’re independent organizations, but we’ve seen this before, and lo and behold, once they’re connected, one takes over the other.”
There is much evidence to support her suspicion, including a previous agreement between Swedish Medical Center and Providence Health and Services. Spokespersons at the time gave assurances that the two entities would remain separate and independent, just as the statement on the PeaceHealth-UW Medicine arrangement asserted. Empty words, it seems, as Swedish stopped performing abortions, no doubt in deference to Catholic teachings.
And what about those teachings? Non-Catholics likely know little of the church’s long history of social justice doctrines. I can think of a couple of reasons for that. First, the church has a hypocrisy problem: it doesn’t practice what it preaches. Second, its dogmatic proscriptions of anything sexual, and reporting of same, clearly overwhelm the former.
Which brings me to the second article, this one an op-ed by the New York Times‘s Frank Bruni. He writes about the fate of one high school physical education teacher who had the misfortune of teaching at a Catholic institution and suffering the sudden loss of her mother. Though a Methodist and married to her husband at the time of her hiring, Carla Hale eventually drifted into the arms of another woman.
Rather suddenly, her mother died, and an hour afterward, she and her brother numbly went through the paces of a standard obituary, listing survivors. Her brother included his wife. So Carla included her partner, Julie, whom her mother had known well and loved. Leaving Julie out would have been unthinkable, though Carla didn’t really think it through at the time. Her grief was still raw.
One of those goody-two-shoes parishioners caught the reference while reading the obituaries then wrote an anonymous letter (such fortitude) to the school and diocese. You can guess what happened.
“A lot of people want me to be bitter and go after the Catholic Church,” [Hale] said, adding that others want to cast her as a lesbian heroine. She just wants her job back, a recognition, she said, “that I’m a moral individual who happens to be gay.”
By the way, I was born and raised Catholic, discovering only much later in life that I was the product of two homophobes and closet racists. I can be accused of adopting a cafeteria approach to church dogma, embracing the social gospel while completely ignoring all that stuff about sex. But the church leaders, such as they are, couldn’t let that go. By their words and actions they demonstrate a ready willingness to throw the gospel under the bus as they pursue a sick agenda dedicated to the proposition that male clergy can engage in protected perversions but the Rest of Us must be pure to god, or some such crap.