The Church’s Failure to Communicate
The Church as an organized institution seems to have found its collective voice in decrying the HHS mandate, but its doing so now, with such coordinated ferocity, and in respect to material cooperation with contraceptives and sterilizations, has led many commentators to wonder or to speculate about the Church’s motives and priorities. Why this? Why now?
My guess: the Church isn’t just responding to issues of concern in light of its teachings; it’s having to defend its own freedom to act in accordance with its tenets and principles. The state has backed the Church into a corner; we can expect a forceful reaction.
And yet, this outcry bespeaks a problem. I wouldn’t call the Church’s response an over-reaction, but it does stand out, doesn’t it? We haven’t recently seen the Church orchestrate a loud, uniform call-to-action regarding the impoverished, those terrorized by war and genocide, or those suffering from AIDS .
The Church speaks on a variety of important issues, no doubt, but it typically does so here and there and without a coordinated design and plan of action. It’s just one voice among many, not one with much moral force or credibility, and not one speaking persuasively or in terms and styles to which the people of today’s pluralistic democracies can relate.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.