Secular vs Church Tenet

St. Peter's Basilica by Viviano Codazzi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

St. Peter’s Basilica by Viviano Codazzi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Bishops Take Aim at Sterilization – ProPublica

A toughening of Catholic medical directives could include enforcing a ban on tubal ligations.

The Vatican has an absolute prohibition on sterilization for the purposes of birth control. The U.S. Catholic bishops consider the procedure “intrinsically immoral,” on par with abortion. Yet for years, Genesys Health System, a Catholic medical center near Flint, Mich., allowed doctors delivering babies there to tie the tubes of new mothers who wanted to ensure they never got pregnant again.

Genesys’s policy wasn’t hard to fathom: Performing a tubal ligation immediately after childbirth is the long-established standard of care, especially if a woman is having a cesarean section. “She’s already cut open — her tubes are right there,” said Sarah Ward Prager, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology and director of family planning at the University of Washington Medical School. Subjecting a new mother to a second surgery carries “unnecessary risk,” Prager said. “It is simply unethical to say, ‘I’m going to make you come back to a different hospital to have another surgery in six weeks because the bishop says I can’t tie your tubes right now.”

Once again, or ever again the churches are seeking the secular world to be used to enforce spiritual penalties that they have deemed to be of utmost importance in their quest to save the souls of humanity. The religious apex, though unproven, in all religions.

Ignoring the consequences in the conception process, the depletion of the very world’s environment, where the secular and they reside. Their narrow view of consequences is contained in anti-abortion and against all birth control methods currently. Both attempts to proscribe the spiritual concept of celibacy that many of them practice, hoping thereby to attain the spiritualism on earth that may evade them after death. They also discount that non-celibacy is also the purpose of humanity. One designed to enjoy the closeness of a man and  woman without the procreation process, for them to become as one in spirit as well as body and for a continuous relationship.

They treat any interference in the procreation process as a non-starter in attaining the highest level of spiritualism and is designed to interfere in the secular to impose church tenets.

Historically, this trend to enforce spiritual penalties clash began with the Constitutions of Clarendon  passed by Henry II in 1164.

The Constitutions’ primary goal was to deal with the controversial issue of “criminous clerks,” or clergy who had been accused of committing a serious secular crime but were tried in ecclesiastical courts by “benefit of Clergy”. Unlike royal courts, these ecclesiastical courts were strictly limited in the punishments to which a convicted felon could be subjected; in particular the spilling of blood was prohibited. An ecclesiastical case of murder often ended with the defendant being defrocked (dismissed from the priesthood). In a royal court, murder was often punished with mutilation or death.

Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library has some paragraphs pertaining to the Constitution of Clarendon.

Henderson’s Note

The list of articles laid before Thomas Becket in 1164, for finally refusing to sign which that prelate went into his long exile.

The custom of appealing to Rome-a custom which had begun under Henry I. whose brother was papal legate for England-had assumed alarming dimensions under Henry II. The king had almost no jurisdiction over his clerical subjects. And, to make matters worse, the clergy did not refrain from crimes which called for the utmost severity of the law. In ten years we hear of more than one hundred unpunished cases of murder among them. It was to put a stop to such lawlessness that Henry caused the constitutions of Clarendon to be drawn up by two of his justices. They contain nothing new, no right that did not belong by precedent to the crown. It was the way. in which the struggle with Becket was carried on, not the weakness of the King’s standpoint that caused the latter to fail in his endeavors. Public sympathy turned against him and, in 1174, he was obliged to expressly permit appeals to Rome.  Papal influence was to increase in England until it reached its zenith under Innocent III.liege lord and collector of tribute.

Though the crimes were more egregious, murder, theft, etc, which then the Catholic church could or did proscribe by absolution in the confessional, today is no different in that the churches, most that later split from the Catholic church, are asserting church tenet by various means in the US. They have made more progress in other countries and it seems that they have now decided that the US is ripe for reinserting their Rome church tenets into the US secular law or via other means, usually by ownership of parts of the medical care system, in the  lifestyle and laws of Americans.

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Categories: Catholicism, Health Care, History, Religion, Reproductive choice, US News, Women's rights, World history

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3 replies

  1. When people and elected officials don’t pay attention, courts grant the churches their seeming right to object to secular laws. The lawyers slice and dice the laws until church tenets have wormed their way back into the secular area.

    Judges need to keep in mind the Constitution of Clarendon and what it ultimately means……the establishment of separation of Church and State.

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  2. Nice bit of research, Ecantados.

    While our constitutional separation of church and state has its roots in the Constitutions of Clarendon, the situations then and now are quite different. Henry II was attempting to grapple with the Catholic clergy exempting itself from English law. Our constitutional ban on congressional interference in religious matters was, conversely, a reaction to the exact opposite: the state getting into the religion business. Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church and created an official state religion, the Church of England. More precisely, it was that to which our founders were reacting in passing the First Amendment to our Constitution.

    But I’m not disagreeing with you. Religious groups, through their elected representatives, never tire of trying to pass laws in Congress to codify their religious beliefs into federal laws. And the U.S. Supreme Court continues to strike these efforts down.

    Our constitution does not ban religious institutions from political participation in our democracy. To do so would be an infringement of freedom of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Insofar as their business decisions do not deny anyone their constitutional rights or violate existing laws, a company owned by a religious organization has every right to deny services inconsistent with its mission statement.

    American citizens have a right to tubal ligations, but the Constitution does not require the Catholic Church to give it to them.

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  3. k, in reading some of the history, I understood the Clarendon situation as being more that ordinary people (landed gentry) were outraged that a cleric could murder one of theirs and have a way less harsh sentence because they were under church law and Henry couldn’t do anything about it when they petitioned him. In effect, they shadow ruled Henry and the populace.

    There are people now that think their church views can go around or replace the law, though subtler, in as much as they want to punish those that don’t believe as they do by restricting not only abortion but also the death penalty, birth control, gay marriage, or anything else they can think of…doing what the church did back than.

    They really came right out with their agenda when they threatened to defrock or otherwise punish their ministers/priests, if they attempt or marry gays and by getting a Judge to agree they didn’t have to provide birth control in an insurance policy. In other words, saying sex is only for procreation. And that coming from people that are vowed to celibacy. ha!

    Church’s in effect want a say (via preaching to their congregations and church ‘rules’) in secular law, once again.

    Piece by piece they’ve wormed their way around today’s laws by getting people elected that agree with them. The thing that gets me Is that they have no problem with cutting spending on Medicaid and SNAP. Treating the poorest of the poor in a most unchurch like manner. God will provide in other words.

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