Catholic Professor: Bishops “Un-Christian” on Coverage for Contraception

A sociology professor at Fordham University has blasted U.S. bishops and Catholic universities that uphold the Church’s teaching on contraception as “un-[C]hristian.”  Writing in the Huffington Post, Associate Professor of Sociology Jeanne Flavin accused the bishops of showing a “staggering disregard for young women’s everyday lived reality, and their futures” for their stance against providing insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Flavin, the author of Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America, seems incensed by the recent decision by Xavier University to stop providing contraceptive coverage and the bishops very public struggle for religious liberty against the HHS contraceptive mandate.

Flavin concludes her piece for the liberal website even more bombastically, saying:

The principle of cura personalis (or “care for the whole person”), central to the mission of Catholic schools, does not come with a qualifier that says “unless you are sexually active” or “except if you are a woman.” While Catholic social teachings communicate powerful and uplifting messages about the dignity of the human person, the contraceptive coverage ban (not to mention the Vatican’s recent rebuke of the American Catholic nuns for not promoting the “Church’s biblical view of family life and human sexuality”) shouts volumes about women’s second-class status in the Catholic Church. This disrespect for the women who are here — in our midst, on our campuses — being shown by a powerful minority of conservative Catholics in favor of purported concern for the unborn must be called out for what it is: profoundly un[-C]hristian.

And, of course, no piece slamming the bishops would be complete without at least one mention of the sex abuse scandal, which has nothing at all to do with providing contraceptives to college students. She wrote, “the ban contributes to a climate of shame and stigma surrounding sexuality that — as we learned from victims of the widespread priest sex abuse scandal — can be incredibly harmful.”

Flavin wrote in The San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama made her heart “flutter, nay, pound”” when he said he had an abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. She also described the practice of late-term abortionist George Tiller as “compassionate.”

Flavin contended in her piece in HuffPo that colleges and universities must take the place of dysfunctional and struggling families. She writes that “to do otherwise is to fail our students.”

In light of the Pope’s recent statement that “the Christian vision, presented in its breadth and integrity, proves immensely appealing to the imagination, idealism and aspirations of the young, who have a right to encounter the faith in all its beauty, its intellectual richness and its radical demands,” perhaps, in the end, it is Fordham that is failing its students.

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