First, to whet your appetite, Weigel considers the HHS mandate and the reality of Obamacare. The lawsuits to protect religious freedom might win. Or they might not. Either way the Church faces an uphill battle:
But with Obamacare now seemingly set in concrete, the Church will face a host of such implementing “mandates” and it will be imperative to contest those that are morally unacceptable, time and time again.
Then there's gay marriage. There's a lot to consider here. As I told some students yesterday, excepting a miniscule minority even opponents of SSM don't desire some intrusive anti-gay witch hunt. Traditional marriage should be defended and, if we remember the Catechism's view, our gay friends and family members need our prayers and solidarity. Weigel's not concerned about that, though.
Thus it seems important to accelerate a serious debate within American Catholicism on whether the Church ought not preemptively withdraw from the civil marriage business, its clergy declining to act as agents of government in witnessing marriages for purposes of state law.
Well, that ought to grab some attention! Forget about withdrawing from the healthcare industry, let's get out of the state's relationship regarding marriage!! Granted, this is the first I've seen this measure advanced and nothing happens without the bishops (and Rome) deciding to do so. But still, it's a refreshing, if idealistic, consideration.
Weigel then brings up a more familiar topic: the relationship of the Church with Catholic politicians who don't conform--and apparently don't care if called out for not conforming--to Catholic social teachings. This is where an array of voices ranging from Mark Shea to Vince Miller might agree if the concommitant recognition of economic injustice receives the same sort of support. I.e., if pro-choice Catholic officials need to toe the line, then for this to really work the same will be required of Catholic officials (others? the same pro-choice ones?) who bracket their faith regarding the death penalty, euthanasia, and, you guessed it, economic and environmental justice.
Either way, Weigel harbors no illusions about the future:
Radically converted Christian disciples, not one-hour-a-week Catholics whipsawed by an ever more toxic culture, are what this hour of crisis, in both senses of the term, demands.The same clarion call hasn't come from the bishops....yet. As blogged earlier, the guidance there takes a quieter but no less committed approach. Still, Weigel shows some refreshing willingness to consider what might be needed.