Cardinal Burke: Catholic Employers Cannot Provide Contraceptive Coverage!

The upcoming episode of Catholic Action Insight hosted by Thomas McKenna to air on EWTN on Wednesday, April 11 at 2:30pm and April 13 at 9:00pm EST will surely ignite discussion among Catholics on the impending mandate which is an attack on religious liberty.  In this interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke speaks out for the first time in a public interview on matters of faith, religious liberty, and culpability in relation to this threatened mandate for employers.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (photo credit:

“We are very blessed to be granted this interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke who explains the Catholic position on the right to religious liberty, the moral conflict for Catholic employers who provide contraceptive services to employees, and a comprehensive explanation and perspective on the role of the Church in this time of governmental interference with the constitutional right to ‘freedom of religion’”, said Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family.  Thomas and his film crew recently returned from the Vatican where the interview was conducted.

There are many liberal Catholics and Obama supporters who are trying to divide and confuse the faithful on the issues surrounding this attack on religious liberty and the impending mandatory requirement for employers to provide insurance plans which provide free contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.  Still others that oppose the mandate are advocating that the issue of contraception should be separated from the discussion of religious liberty all together.   The reality is that these issues are quite inseparable as it relates to the practice of Catholicism and the moral burden that is placed upon the conscience of employers who provide contraceptive services.  Only those who understand the grave moral evil of contraception and abortion understand that the Catholic Church will never compromise on these issues because to do so would lead to eternal ramifications for those involved.

Because Catholics have so many questions about all of this, President Obama’s first-of-its-kind Health and Human Services mandate has ushered in a period of catechesis and education for Catholics who now seek to truly understand what is at stake here.  They are ready to participate in resisting the mandate however in standing up with Church leaders they seek more definitive clarity to understand their own duties as Catholics.

Below are a few excerpts from this ‘must see’ interview to air on EWTN Wednesday, April 11 at 2:30pm and Friday, April 13 at 9:00pm EST.  Cardinal Burke stands in solidarity with U. S. Bishops and the USCCB in his defense and advocacy for our authentic, unchanging Church dogma as well as highlighting the critical role that the Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals must play as shepherds to their flock:

Thomas McKenna:  “It is beautiful to see how the faithful have rallied behind the Hierarchy….How does your Eminence comment on the union of solidarity of our bishops?”

Cardinal Burke:  “Yes, I have received emails and other communications  from lay faithful who say that they are supporting their bishops 100% and they have communicated to their bishops their gratitude and assured them that they want them to continue to be courageous and not to be deceived by any kind of false accommodations which in fact continue this same kind of agenda which sadly we have witnessed for too long in our country which is totally secular and therefore is anti-life and anti-family. I admire very much the courage of the bishops.  At the same time I believe they would say it along with me that they are doing no more than their duty.  A bishop has to protect his flock and when any individual or government attempts to force the flock to act against conscience in one of its most fundamental precepts then the bishops have to come to defend those who are entrusted to their pastoral care. So I am deeply grateful to all of the bishops who have spoken about this and who are encouraging the members of their flock to also speak up because our government needs to understand that what is being done with this mandate is contrary first of all to the fundamental human right, the right to the free exercise of one’s conscience and at the same time contrary to the very foundation of our nation.”

Thomas McKenna: “So a Catholic employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be, in a sense, cooperating  with the sin…the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive  that would abort a child, is this correct?”

Cardinal Burke: “This is correct.  It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation”  in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception but it is also “formal cooperation” because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

This comment by a high ranking Cardinal is the clearest explanation to date on the issue of an employer’s culpability when providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion inducing drug options in the insurance plans for employees.   Cardinal Burke has illuminated with piercing clarity the controversial issue which has seen dissent from Church teaching on this matter among Catholic institutions and universities here in the United States.

Cardinal Burke issued a public statement of support for Catholics to sign the Stop the Birth Control Mandate Petition.

For more information on the entire interview and the additional times it can be seen on EWTN or to watch the full interview after it airs on EWTN please visit

Jenn Giroux is a Registered Nurse, Prolife Activist, and Catholic Speaker.  She and her husband, Dan, have 9 children and live in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Cover photo credit: EWTN News

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Clement_W

    Much as I hate to say it, it is far too common to find some members of the religious orders, priests and nuns alike, writing and speaking in public forums in direct contradiction to Catholic teaching and belief. I have thought all along that members of religious orders take a vow of obedience to the teaching and the catechism of the Catholic Church. Has my church changed its views on what the vow of obedience means? In this context, when some members of the priesthood and the religious who are the shepherds, is it not reasonable to conclude that catholic employers and the laity have been misled by their shepherds who do not adhere to the core principles of the Catholic Faith? Has the Spirit of the World succeeded in infecting the Church?

  • Joe DeVet

    Building on Clement’s comment, this whole HHS mandate exposes a vulnerable spot in the Church’s performance over the past 4 decades or so.  The bishops are rallying to the defense of their flocks, thank God, in the face of the Obama threat.  But they as a group are just a bit tardy on the rather more pertinent question of whether they have defended their flocks from attacks from within, from theologians and other leaders who have misled the faithful about the teachings against contraception.  Many bishops and other leaders have stood by silent while this has happened.  Not all have been this way, but many.

    One who has been pro-active in teaching his flock is Abp Chaput.  He was the first, to my knowledge, to mandate NFP instruction as part of marriage preparation as a diocesan policy.  A few have followed suit; God willing, more will.

    Catholic leaders have a good opportunity now to break the silence, and explain to their flocks why the teachings against contraception are worth defending in the first place.  Again, many notably are.  We can be thankful, in a way, to the Obama administration for this “teachable moment.”

  • Dan

    As much as I agree with Cardinal Burke, I would hasten to add that we, as Catholics, while rejecting the mandate are, in fact, STILL required to fulfill a more important mandate. We are still called, as individuals, business owners and institutional leaders to provide for the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. Christ’s mandate is unequivocal and while at any given time a government may or may not protect our conscience, we are still bound by faith to the more superior mandate of Our Lord. I would love to see a discussion on how, as we reject the HHS Mandate, we formulate and implement HIS Mandate. Easter blessings to all. 

  • Cnsm83

    I agree. This is the perfect teachable momentum. To clear many mistakes on these topics. Even as a simple parish catechist, the people from the church look to us for guidance. So we must all be prepared with the correct information to help young and old understand the situation we are in with this Obamacare and what it makes employers do and what should be our response as a responsable catholic and also as mothers and fathers of teenagers that will be asked about it in school and socially. This affects us all. Easter blessings, and may God’s mercy help us.

  • Ganewf

    I too agree with Cardinal Burke and with your concerns for the poor and disadvantaged. However, needs and wants are often quite different. Would you consider it OK to drive a getaway car for a poor person who wishes to rob a bank? Providing health care for an illness is much different than providing the means of preventing or aborting the life of an unborn child. Rejecting contraception and abortion can be justiofied by contributing to the homeless, hungry and orphans through the many organizations available for such charitable works inside and outside the Catholic church.