USCCB spokeswoman says:
Irony is the word of the day.
The timing is not understood, according to the USCCB. Here in parish life, we all know that it’s all about Catholic Schools Week. Even in my parish which doesn’t have a school, as such.
January is a busy month. I do understand the timetable, even if I might harbor doubt on the content. The announcement on the HHS regulations precedes their implementation by a presidential administration by exactly one year, a somewhat closer association than Roe v Wade, but just by two days.
Getting back to the irony, I think that Catholics who interpret the president and his administration as anti-Catholic, yes; this honor is ironic. My daughter was explaining the three forms of literary irony to us the other night. I found this definition in wiki:
In dramatic irony, the author causes a character to speak or act erroneously, out of ignorance of some portion of the truth of which the audience is aware. In other words, the audience knows the character is making a mistake, even as the character is making it. This technique highlights the importance of a particular truth by portraying a person who is strikingly unaware of it.
So maybe there’s more irony to this than expected. People who have convinced themselves of a certain point of view seem strikingly unaware that it’s not about them. But in the political view, it’s about an issue of rights and responsibilities that trumps a conscience matter for a minority of citizens.
Honestly, I don’t know how people are going to extract themselves from this. Millions of citizens need health insurance. Health insurance reform is going forward, and if the president backtracks on his milquetoast commitment to it, he’s going to anger a lot of supporters. And it is undeniable that the people most upset about this weren’t likely to vote for him anyway. Not even if he pins a medal on a Catholic school teacher. As for how this turns out, maybe all of us Catholic Church employees are in line to get big raises to cover our old insurance premiums. Too bad the institution can’t take a page from the Knights and set up their own system.