But this has changed drastically, in a way that is evident by the “models of freedom” used to defend the contraception mandate, she said.
Rather than a woman facing poverty or a married couple overwhelmed by a dozen kids, the iconic figures in the sexual freedom debate today are unmarried, highly educated, and fairly well-off financially.
She pointed to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student who has become a leading figure in the push for free birth control.
These women are not talking about marriage, poverty or the wellbeing of children, Alvaré observed. Rather, they are simply saying that they want a regular sex life with a constant supply of contraception, and they want someone else to pay for it.
This “right to a commitment-free, child-free sexual experience” has become so elevated that no religious conscience is permitted to object to it, she said, explaining that when disconnected sexual expression becomes a basic and fundamental right, religious liberty suffers.
This can be seen today, as Catholic individuals and institutions are told that they shouldn’t “even be able to have a critical stance” on issues such as contraception, she said.
She also observed that proponents of the mandate are making claims of a “war on women” and using “language of discrimination,” as if religious individual seeking to follow their conscience were violent members of the Ku Klux Klan, who should not have a voice in the public square.
The Catholic Church’s idea of sexuality as being connected to marriage and new life is “absolutely contrary” to the modern understanding, Alvaré explained.
As Catholics step up to defend religious freedom, she noted, they also have a chance to help change the way that human sexuality is viewed.
“I really see this time as an opportunity,” she said.