Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
Unsafe at any 'choice'
By Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
January 29, 2014

Nothing much man-made achieves perfectly it's intended purpose neither automobiles or contraceptives.

Next year will mark fifty years since the publication of Ralph Nadar's book, Unsafe at Any Speed – raising since then higher standards of safety in the automobiles we drive. Too few people, today, however, realize how unsafe and immoral contraceptives are, not only to women but to children as well. Too few realize that contraceptives not only often fail but when used frequently take the lives of countless numbers of children actually conceived in the womb but prevented by contraceptives from attaching themselves to the endometrium, the lining of the womb, where children normally develop until birth. Making contraceptives in effect abortifacient.

Many individuals including parents and their children from our diocese are returning this weekend from the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. against the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion in 1973 which our federal government today avidly supports and advocates. Since 1973 more than an estimated fifty-five million children have been overtly aborted and the number of children who were aborted undetected in women is incalculable. One out of four children conceived in our country are aborted and a majority of women of child bearing years use contraceptives. One way to end the argument or not even start a conversation about contraception and abortion is to 'raise the red flag,' we 'don't want to go there.' 'It is a private matter, don't you agree?' There are, however, in the public square the Little Sisters of the Poor who are not exempt from the Health and Human Services mandate of Obamacare that everyone must financially contribute to the costs of contraceptives and abortions regardless of their moral and religious objections.

No other government levied tax exists for such a purpose.

The Little Sisters of the Poor found, Thank God, a temporary court stay of the government mandate for now until a final ruling is made. The Little Sisters already said they would pull up stakes, discontinue their charitable care for hundreds of the elderly and the neglected rather than be cooperators in the unjust law. The are joined by many others who would rather follow their consciences than offend the laws of nature and God. They understand Jesus' mandate, "You can not serve both God and the world" even when the world engages the United States Internal Revenue Service to enforce its edicts. (Matthew 6: 24).

Freedom of expression and association guaranteed first by God and then by the United States Constitution are then violently suppressed for the political interests of others.

Last year a man and his wife who owned a bakery in Oregon, "Sweet Cakes," for religious reasons, which are, after all, always 'personal', declined to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple. Marriage, they held, is a right established in nature, between a man and a woman, and the expression of divine law. They held that they would not want to be complicit in the same sex couple's immoral 'choice.' Oregon found the bakery couple in violation of state law. They have now closed their shop and are now facing the possibility of criminal charges by the Federal government. 1 Freedom of choice does not guarantee others' cooperation. That would impinge upon others' freedom. Freedom of choice always bears its own restrictions and consequences in this world and in the next. Freedom of expression and association, that is, a baker making his own signature wedding cake would be the same as personalizing catering a wedding for a same sex couple to be married. Were that true than a same sex couple should have a right to be married by a priest in a Catholic Church.

In a more subtle contention those who support tax-paid government abortions and contraceptives argue that some employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor may exempt themselves from the mandate for religious reasons by simply signing a form of exemption which bypasses they are told the 'direct payment' of their taxes through Obamacare for abortions and contraceptives while individual and for profit organizations are directly obliged to pay into the abortion and contraception 'health plan' or be penalized by the IRS.

Directly or indirectly the government's abortion and contraception plan is funded by taxation. Besides, where is the justice that priests or religious sisters may exempt themselves under the law but laymen may not? What is the basis for such a distinction of equality under the law?

The media in our country called the "fourth estate," a public monitor of the three branches of government once assured a fair and accurate reporting of events careful to separate the news from opinion especially journalists' and commentators' who now report the news. Not only is today's news reporting mostly secular it is prejudicial. Kirsten Powers, a commentator on Fox News recently reported her conversion to Christianity and remarked how disengaged she became with her non-church affiliated professional associates and friends in the news media. Worse than disengaged the television media is especially prejudicial against religion in general, the Catholic Church and our faith and morals in particular. Yesterday, for instance, all the news channel reporters except one excoriated Mike Huckabee's recent speech at the Republican National Convention about women taking personal "control of their libido" without lobbying the government for free contraceptives. Many of the cable show commentators labeled Huckabee's remarks: "against woman' rights" advising that he should "not go there" or "not use the words he did" and "strike the right tone." 2 All these comments hung on his use of the word "libido" as if the human libido, male or female, is a given inevitability in human sexuality, that unrestrained sexual urges can not be controlled only their outcomes can be changed by contraception and abortion. Sexual activity is then amoral, outside the bounds of moral judgment, because too many people do not want "to go there" as one journalist reported. Would that include rape or incest? I can not think of anything in human affairs which is more disordered, that sexual pleasure is more important than God's gift of life for children, parents and God who is the author of life itself.

The early Church also suffered contention within its ranks as Saint Paul described in his first letter to the Corinthians: "'That there are rivalries among you,' Paul said. 'I belong to Paul . . . to Apollo . . . to Cephas or I belong to Christ.' Is Christ divided?" (1 Corinthians I: 10-17). I can emphatically repeat Saint Paul's admonition that there can be no division on marriage and human sexuality in the church. Those who hold such opinions contrary to the Church's teaching effectively separate themselves from the Church and are contributors to a culture of death.



© Fr. Tom Bartolomeo


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Fr. Tom Bartolomeo

I am the founder and director of the Families For Families Retreat House, a refuge for anyone who wants to rethink his or her life in a quiet non-demanding environment in an historic house c.1709 when life was less complicated. I am also and primarily a Catholic priest having been a college and university teacher, business-owner and executive among other things. I received my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English literature from Saint John's University, Jamaica, New York and completed post-graduate studies at Kansas State University. Contact me at (Fr. Bartolomeo passed away on September 18, 2018. His obituary can be found here.)


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