The headline last week in the National Catholic Reporter, the country’s go-to source for all things Catholic, might have run on the satirical news site “The Onion”: “Vatican admits it doesn’t fully understand youth culture,” it said. Next week, perhaps NCR will run a follow-up piece: “Bishops admit they have no clue about sex.”The Obama administration has tried to be sensitive to the bishops’ claims to conscience. After much yelling about the trampling of religious liberties, most notably by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the administration last week unveiled adjustments to its health-care plan that would allow religious organizations to abstain from offering their employees contraceptive coverage under their group plans while, at the same time, requiring insurers to offer the coverage separately. The compromise is a win-win-win, the Department of Health and Human Services argues. The religious employer can follow his conscience. The woman gets the coverage, if she wants it. And the insurer doesn’t have to pay the higher costs associated with unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. In an editorial, The Washington Post supported the compromise.
But some bishops just won’t be satisfied. Three American bishops said on Jan. 30 that they’d sooner go to jail than submit to the contraceptive mandate. The archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, called the administration’s concessions “minimalist” and used the phrase “immoral services” as a euphemism for birth control. The spokeswoman for the USCCB, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said the accommodations “did not completely satisfy concerns related to conscience rights,” and Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s fuller response was equally chary.
What these most conservative advocates want, it seems, is for American women to be thrust back to a time before Vatican II, when legal birth control was scarce, expensive and difficult to procure.
Which brings me back to the NCR piece, and the Vatican’s articulated lack of understanding of youth culture. The hierarchy is worried enough about its hold on the young to have held a closed-door conference in Rome from Wednesday through Saturday at which bishops listened to experts on youth in an effort to improve their messaging to the young and recapture some of the generation who — in the developed West, at least — are falling away. In preparation for the conference, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, said he’d been listening to Amy Winehouse.
Ravasi will probably come to this on his own, but in case he doesn’t, here’s a clue: Young people care about sex.
Written By: Lisa Millercontinue to source article at washingtonpost.com