But some bishops just won’t be satisfied. Three American bishops said on Jan. 30 that they’d sooner go to jail than submit to the contraceptive mandate. The archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, called the administration’s concessions “minimalist” and used the phrase “immoral services” as a euphemism for birth control. The spokeswoman for the USCCB, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, said the accommodations “did not completely satisfy concerns related to conscience rights,” and Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s fuller response was equally chary.
What these most conservative advocates want, it seems, is for American women to be thrust back to a time before Vatican II, when legal birth control was scarce, expensive and difficult to procure.
Which brings me back to the NCR piece, and the Vatican’s articulated lack of understanding of youth culture. The hierarchy is worried enough about its hold on the young to have held a closed-door conference in Rome from Wednesday through Saturday at which bishops listened to experts on youth in an effort to improve their messaging to the young and recapture some of the generation who — in the developed West, at least — are falling away. In preparation for the conference, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, said he’d been listening to Amy Winehouse.
Ravasi will probably come to this on his own, but in case he doesn’t, here’s a clue: Young people care about sex.