|(Archbishop Paglia; CNS photo/Paul Haring)|
Particularly during times of high unemployment, the actions of government as they affect families must be examined carefully. The welfare state is characterized by family assistance programs principally intended to address situations where the family is broken, unstable or lacking in internal resources. In these cases the state attempts in effect to be a substitute for the family, or at least for some missing element of the family.
But by substituting itself for the family, the welfare state produces a kind of vicious circle where instead of strengthening family relationships, it weakens them even further, and thus creates increased need for government assistance. Increased need leads to crisis, however, because it gives rise to expectations that the government cannot hope to meet, firstly because financial resources are never unlimited, but more importantly because government cannot itself function as a family, only as an agency. It thus becomes clear how important it is for government programs not only to promote family “mainstreaming” but more importantly for the government to have a correct understanding of the family when formulating public policy and to respect subsidiarity, which should be a guiding principle in any governmental action.
It can hardly be said that all these Presidents and Congresses, of both parties, had been waging a war on women. I have seen no evidence that such laws, showing respect for Americans’ conscientious beliefs, have done any harm to women or to their advancement in society. What seems to be at issue instead is a new, more grudging attitude in recent years toward citizens whose faith or moral principles are not in accord with the views of the current governing power. And while the mandate for coverage of abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization is hailed by some as a victory for women’s freedom, it permits no free choice by a female employee to decline such coverage for herself or her minor children, even if it violates her moral and religious convictions.
It is most discouraging that this coercive element remains unchanged in the new notice of proposed rulemaking the Obama administration issued this month in response to widespread criticism of its original mandate.
Finally, in news unrelated to archbishops, we have heavy snow in the forecast for both Thursday and Monday...
|(Next Tuesday's mushing to school and work... source)|