Obama vs. The Catholic Church

On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration announced that faith-based institutions must cover free contraception for employees. While mainstream media tries to pass this off as merely covering “the pill,” it also includes sterilization and abortifacients. (See the AP story here.) Regardless, Catholics (and other religious denominations) are being forced to accept insurance coverage for procedures and chemicals that are mortally dangerous, both physically and spiritually. What’s more, we’re being forced to pay for others to accept such coverage also, or go without health care coverage ourselves. Of course, the administration attempted to soften the blow by allowing faith-based entities until August 2013 to make the necessary changes to their insurance packages.

The Obama administration timed the announcement perfectly – right smack in the middle of the United States Bishops ad limina visits with the Holy Father during which the threat to our religious liberty is a primary concern, and just before the March for Life in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, January 19, Pope Benedict XVI remarked about this in his address to Region IV of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

“In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” (Read the full text here.)

The Holy Father cited this as a “grave threat” in which we’re being forced to cooperate in “intrinsically evil practices.”

Well, the USCCB isn’t going to take this lying down. They’ve vowed to fight this order as “literally unconscionable.” “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, USCCB president, in a LifeSiteNews interview on January 20. “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable,” he continued. “It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.” (Read the entire story here.)

Cardinal-designate also spoke out about the HHS ruling in a web video in which he urged Catholics and the public at large to speak out in protest. “Let your elected leaders know that you want religious liberty and rights of conscience restored and that you want the administration’s contraceptive mandate rescinded,” he said. (View the entire video here.)

Absolutely we have to do that, but we also have to do more. This is both a political and a spiritual battle. We need to educate ourselves about this issue so that we’ll really know what we’re talking about and how to fight it when it rolls out. Even more, we need to prepare ourselves spiritually by receiving the sacraments often and deepening our relationship with the Triune God. We also need to step up our prayer life, praying not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for our bishops in their part of the fight. We have to pray for the administration to change its ways, and for a new administration that will be able to undo the harm caused by the current one. Yet, there’s even more we can do. We can fast, make spiritual sacrifices, do works of mercy, increase our self-discipline, and offer it for a moral and acceptable resolution to this crisis because this is just a next step in the persecution of the Catholic faith in our country.

There’s much we can do, and we need to begin now. We simply can’t take this lying down.

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  • DeaconDonB

    He is determined to be a war with the Church

  • Christianima

    As freedom loving citizens, we must ban together.  Regardless of our faith beliefs we must stand up and be counted.  Yes let us pray & ask our Creator for help in overturning this awful legislation & give us the strenght & courage to speak against it.

  • Joe DeVet

    We can’t take this lying down, for sure.

    In our response, we have to be as cunning as serpents and gentle as doves.  One of the possible responses echoes what Cardinal O’Connor did a couple decades ago in NY when he was threatened with a similar local mandate.  He simply told those in power that he would shut down 23 Catholic hospitals before he would comply with an immoral mandate.  They caved.

    Let us be aware: Obama won’t cave to such a threat!  He will use it as a pretext to claim that the Catholics are withholding services from the most vulnerable, and therefore the government must take over the hospitals to prevent their closure.

    No, we will need to keep our hospitals under our own management, but exercise civil disobedience.  Hopefully, by a year from now the question will be answered by a change in administration.  But we need to be prepared for the worst.  We must be ready to simply say no. 

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  • Anonymous

    None of us can be passive, spiritually or actively.  And this November may be our last chance to truly protect our religious freedoms from the federal government.  Catholics need to be politically involved.

    Also, when the media passes it off as just covering “the pill,” I bet they don’t mention that can be abortifacient, too.

    John
    servantofcharity.blogspot.com

  • salvatore

    Can anybody with some a deep understanding in canon Law explain to me on what ground Ms. 
    Kathleen Sebelius  is still in the Catholic Church?
    If  militantly  promoting abortion and now maliciously  and relentlessly working to persecute the Church does not warrant her excommunication what does?

    Please, do not reply that she is already excommunicated ‘latae sententiae’.
    i am talking about  an authoritative public pronouncement from a competent bishop.

    Thank you

  • Jeff

    Let’s march on DC!  

  • Terrygeorge

    yes we must band together to repulse this attack on us.

    cannot help but wish the bishops had vetted the whole nonsense better in the 1st place however.  i paid attention and they were basically supportive of it as universal healthcare until near the end of its passage.  then it was to late.

  • Mary

    Kathleen Sebelius has been excommunicated (and it is posted on her Wikipedia page) with reference to this article:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/mar/24/catholic-church-to-pressure-hhs-nominee-on-abortio/
    Let’s pray her excommunication brings about the change of heart as intended versus the bitterness we’ve seen so far!

  • Peter Nyikos

     Wikipedia is not very reliable.  In this case, the reference is almost two years in the past, and the following excerpt from the article you link indicates clearly that she had not been excommunicated back then:

      “A church official in Washington said the admonition does not prohibit
    priests from serving Mrs. Sebelius if she does present herself, but
    declined to speculate on what would happen in that event.”

    If Sebelius had been officially excommunicated back then, I would have heard about it many times by now.

  • Peter Nyikos

    Don’t be fooled — the Administration is not softening the blow by giving a year of “grace”.  It is cunningly fixing things so that no one can be officially in a state of civil disobedience, and thus it makes it very hard for any entity to have standing to sue the Administration over this outrage.

  • Michael Weaver

    The question needing to be asked is this one, does being a Catholic supersede being an American Citizen under the Constitution? Which comes first, faith or upholding the Constitution?

    While I don’t profess to understand the intricacies of the HHS rule as I understand it this has more to do with religious institutions that accept federal dollars and therefore must abide by federal law in order to keep receiving the monies. Maybe my understanding is wrong, if so someone please explain it to me.

    I for one am all for freedom of religion, but I am also in favor of the separation of Church and State. As I see it the option for Catholic Institutions is simple, don’t accept Federal Funds if you are not willing to abide by the Federal Laws which represent the United States of America.

    Now to me if there is an objection to that solution I for one would have to question whether the Catholic Church, or any other religious belief, is more interested in allegiance to their religious dogma or being granted access to Federal dollars?

    Also, what is to stop the Catholic Church from providing their own brand of Health Insurance which does not provide contraception services? I personally don’t have a problem with them setting up their own Catholic’s Only Health Insurance Company where those members of their religious belief could purchase their health insurance and be secure in the knowledge that the policy abides by their religious beliefs. As long as zero Federal dollars are involved in the organization, administration, and services of said Catholic, or other religious denominational beliefs, based company there is no reason for the Federal government to intervene in the operation of a privately held and operated company. Now, if the Catholic Church or other religious denominational belief feels that they are being discriminated upon because they are not eligible for Federal funding then I have to go back to my very first questions, “Does being a Catholic supersede being an American Citizen under the
    Constitution? Which comes first, faith or upholding the Constitution?”

  • Almaray2

    There is no gun in the Church’s back.  It can simply refuse to go along with the edict.  But it can also rest assured that it probably should not waste its time looking to the federal dollars for support.  Most taxpayers will rebel, rightfully so. 

  • Almaray2

    Revenge is mine saith the Lord?  Is that it?  Of course it is.

  • donna

    Thank God we are standing up for our religion and our rights. Obama must be defeated. Our country, our children and our freedom depend on him not being elected again. He should never have been elected and the fact the 54% of Catholics voted for him is a frightening thought and something that needs to be addressed by the Catholic church. God bless America. Rock on conservatives.  Thanks from Donna

  • Kathleen Roberts

    It is not canon law that has failed, it is the bishops that have failed.  Maybe the 650 million shekkals they get from the US government has something to do with it, via the Secretary of Health.  

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  • Michelle Marie Allen

    I myself sent e-mails to Iowa’s 2 Senators and the House of representative for my area in rural Iowa urging them to vote for the “Respect for Rights Conscience Act” (H.R. 1179, S.1467). You can too !

    http://www.usccb.org/conscience

    ALL Catholics who remain faithful to the Magesterium regarding Catholic teachings through the CCC should make their voices heard through this simple action that takes no more than 10 minutes to complete.

  • picking and choosing

    i agree that Obama’s advisors did not think this one through. however, fellow Catholics we ourselves need to stop being hypocrites. Catholics are a very active part of the abortion culture (pill, abortions). we don’t practice what we preach for the most part. i’m not talking about the few that have mastered natural family planning. let’s be honest…our daughters and sons are well known regulars at the bars and very very busy sexually before marriage. some of us go to church half dressed and we are fondling with our girlfriends/boyfriends right in church. many of us think the pill is ok..responsible thing to do. so, yes we’ll beat the administration on this one, but…the log in our eye is huge. and don’t even get me started on being pro-life but supporting the death penalty. CONSISTENCY IS WHAT WE NEED…NOT ONLY FROM THE BISHOPS BUT FROM THE FLOCK..WAKE UP!!

  • Augustpersonage

     Mr. Weaver,
     First there is no issue here at all, the Constitution is meaningless in Comparison to the Faith, however, you are misinformed. This is not  about those who take federal money, this mandate will apply to all employers in the United States, regardless of whether or not they take public money, to provide health insurance, that health insurance will be required to include birth control, abortion drugs, and voluntary sterilizations.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PG6FVCAGMPGBSF35LDICAEEQ5M Edward

    Ms. Sebelius was excommunicated from the Catholic Church the moment she
    CHOSE to disobey the Church Laws. It is common knowledge that the Catholic Church is not a Democracy _and_ you do NOT have to belong to it. There are a wide variety of other denominations that embrace a pick-and-choose Theology.

    But, if you profess to be a Catholic, you _must_follow the rule.

    We know that some people choose to NOT pay taxes, STOP at red lights and
    engage in other illegal activities. So, should all the Tax and traffic laws be dissolved because of this?

    Womens’ health, birth control and abortion are NOT the issues here.

    It is all about control and whether there is a higher authority than what
    resides in Washington, DC.

    It has been said that those with Faith need no proof.
    The Faithless will not respond to any evidence whatsoever.

    And lastly, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    I suppose all of those garbage bins filled with the living remains of aborted children has not caused legions of Angels to descend upon us – yet.

    It ain’t over ’til its over.

    Ms.Sebelius and her group will face the Creator at some point in time.
    What a scene that will be.
    Imagine facing the Trinity on one side and the souls of millions of aborted children on the other. I can;t imagine the explanation she will give….

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Very well said Edward !

  • Robert Chacon

    Yes Mr. Weaver,

    I believe Augustpersonage is absoultely correct in that your proposal is exactly what the Obama Administration has rejected as a solution. The HHS mandate is rejecting your very proposal. Our own Catholic Health care systems are being told to violate our religious faith. That is not just an attack on our religious faith but an outright violation of the Constitution! In this case you cannot be for Separation of Church and State, and support the Administration.  The Separation of Church and state is  NOT designed to protect the government from Church practice, except that there shall be no establishment of a State Church. Permitting Catholics to live out their faith by observing our call to live in Culture of Life does not establish the Catholic Church as the State Church. There is no vioation of the Constitution by the Church, as some are arguing the Bishops opposition is an attack on womens health rights. No such thing exists! But freedom of worship does! And it is the Administration that is denying Catholics the freedom to cling on to a Culture of Life that lets every fetus live, that lets God determine conception.  No Mr Weaver, you cannot believe in the Constitution, Catholic Church teaching AND the Obama administration’s HHS decision! One is incompatible with the other two. Guess which one? I normally would not add to a Catholic news site, since it generally feels like preaching to the choir. However, if there are any Catholics, such as  yourself who fail to see the real issue involved, then we need to clarify it more where ever and whenever we can.  Let me just summarize: The mandate has NOTHING to do with taking government funds. You dont have to take a penny from the government to lose your freedom. Our own Catholic institutions, such as healthcare providers and insurers (such as you recommend as a solution), and even you Mr. Weaver, if you were a private employer and self-ensured your employees, are being RESTRICTED from the free excercise of their Catholic Faith. With all due respect Mr. Weaver, if Catholics and Americans in general, are as uninformed as you about this issue, we have much much more work to do to be educated about the issue.  I just pray that it is just a matter of clarification that will make more Americans take action to stop this Mandate. Unfortunately, I think most  Americans, including Catholics, believe more in the phony “rights” of having whatever they want  (such as birth control and abortion) over the real rights granted by God and promulgated in Constitution, such as the free excercise of religion. God be with us!

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  • Bernard Paszek

    How can the Obama admin. prevent Catholic Priests in the military from administering
    the Holy Sacraments? This is just another violation of our God Given inalienable rights and our Constitution. Are other Religions being prevented from practicing their faiths?

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