Is covering up pedophilia a matter of conscience?

There is no law requiring the Catholic Church to report pedophile-priests to the police. If there were, it’s likely the Catholic hierarchy and its supporters would denounce it as “a stunning assault on freedom of conscience and religion.”

With those words, a Chicago Tribune columnist lays out the case that requiring insurance coverage of birth control for workers in Church-run secular businesses also amounts to a “gross violation of a civil liberty” on Catholics.

Let’s get this straight: The law does not require practicing Catholics to use birth control. But that’s not good enough for the godly. They object when anyone uses birth control.

Catholic authorities are not alone in this stance; it’s shared by Protestant fundamentalists.  It’s not a view shared by most Americans, including the large majority of American Catholics who use birth control.

The important word here is “control.” This isn’t about freedom of religion or conscience, despite the Church’s attempts to frame its resistance in those high-minded terms. It’s about the Church’s furious efforts to maintain control over its members (especially its female members), even though in this case the horse has already left the barn.

If the Church wants more control over its members, it ought to start by exercising more control over the shepherds of its flocks. It sacrificed the moral authority to preach about matters of conscience when it chose to protect the pedophiles among its priests and to cover up their crimes.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-oped-0207-byrne-20120207,0,3249104.column