So the Catholic Church hierarchy in the U.S. has announced that in late June they will begin “A Fortnight of Freedom“, which seems to primarily revolve around the anger at being unable to force their non-Catholic employees of Catholic organizations that receive federal funding to follow the dictates of the Catholic Church.
If public opinion polls are to be believed, they are way out of step with most U.S. Catholics. I can only see this alienating many Catholics. At the same time, much of what they’re doing, such as political advocacy, certainly pushes the boundary of non-profit tax status. If there’s one thing the Catholic Church has proven over the centuries, it’s that it’s a survivor. I’m failing to see the Church’s angle here. So I’m wondering if any of these hypotheses could explain its actions:
1) They are utterly clueless. Never underestimate the power of dumbitude.
2) Hubris. Since none of the hierarchy paid a price for the decades-long aiding and abetting of serial kiddie rapists*, they don’t think the government, including the IRS, will lay a finger on them. Of course, they could be right about this…
3) They’re preaching to the faithful. Those Catholics who haven’t left the Church believe this stuff, and the Church is responding to the involved laity, and ignoring the uninvolved laity.
4) The Church has given up on alienated Catholics. Related to point #3, the Church doesn’t think it’s worth the effort to appeal to marginally involved Catholics. Admittedly, that would be an odd position for the church of John the Evangelist to adopt.
5) Appealing to congregations outside of the U.S. Perhaps the conservative hardline appeals to cardinals outside of the U.S, especially in the developing world?
6) Follow the money. If the Almighty provides, He does so through human donors. Perhaps those who are still willingly to give to the Church are conservative Catholics, who then push the Church to the right, further alienating more Catholics, thereby forcing the Church to appeal to the religious right even more.
Anyone clued into the Catholic Church know what’s going on? Because it looks like it’s going to be a hot summer. Discuss.
*Cardinal Bernard Law essentially did have to flee to Rome. I believe he now shepherds the flock at the Basilica of the Immaculate Getaway.