Thursday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:27-33; John 3:31-36)
“We must obey God rather than men” (or women, we should add). This maxim from the first reading today may be delusive since God sometimes speaks through others and since our sense of God speaking to us may be mistaken. Discernment guided by Scripture and Church teaching provides necessary assistance in determining what God expects of us when the dictates of others conflict with our own ideas and actions.
A recent development in government points to an impending conflict between obedience to God and compliance with civil law. The Obama Administration has called for inquiries on whether the protections of medical workers and institutions from prosecution for not performing abortions should be lifted. In other words, the Obama Administration is contemplating pressuring Catholic facilities, doctors, and nurses into doing abortions. Catholic bishops have raised their voices decisively and vigorously in defense of freedom of conscience. Removal of protections, they claim, would mean violation of many consciences, non-Catholic as well as Catholic. It would also facilitate the taking of human life in its most vulnerable period.
Many Americans are pleased with policy changes introduced by the Obama Administration. His friendly overture to the Cuban government, for example, seems productive and right-minded. It is also in line with the approach the Church has taken in recent years. But Catholic Americans especially should be wary not to allow their enthusiasm for positive change allow them to overlook areas where the Administration may tread on sacred values upholding the common good.