The Obama Mandate to Catholics: Where’s Notre Dame?

Listen to Dr. Paul Kengor’s commentary here:

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America’s Catholic bishops are princes of diplomacy, highly educated, erudite, men of tact, propriety. They’re asked to shepherd the flock with a long historical timeframe—like, say, eternity. They tend not to have knee-jerk reactions to issues of the moment.

And so, it’s not often when a paragon of decorum, namely, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik, publishes a letter in his diocesan newspaper with a title like, “To hell with you.”

Gee, what could have provoked that? The answer is the Obama administration via its horrendous mandate to Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients—that is, birth-control drugs that induce abortion. The Catholic Church defines these things as “evil.” The Church and its members are now being told they must provide them. By fiat, the Obama administration has issued that decree.

It sort of flies in the face of that old freedom of religion thing we’ve always had in America. And it’s certainly of concern not merely to Catholics but all Americans.

Here’s what happened:

Last August, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidelines for implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as, “Obama-care.” The guidelines mandated that by summer 2012 all health-insurance plans—yes, all of them—must cover any and all FDA-approved contraception, sterilization procedures, and pharmaceuticals, even those that produce or result in abortion. Every employer and employee must pay for these things, even if they violate the dictates of their conscience. The employers include all Catholic institutions, from colleges to hospitals to nursing homes to social-service agencies to charities … to whatever else. “All” means “all.”

How’s that for social justice?

Speaking of social justice, didn’t Notre Dame University give an honorary degree to President Obama?

Maybe it’s time for Notre Dame to revoke that degree. Does Notre Dame—and especially its trustees—have the moral courage to do that?

For Catholic and Ave Maria radio, I’m Paul Kengor.

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Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • no,they do not

  • Lisa

    I’ve had a couple liberals ask me what the big deal is since many Catholic universities already provide health care coverage for contraception.  What do I say to them?  I can’t seem to find any Catholic links dealing with this question.

  • Lprice

    Revoke that degree and apologize to Catholics that they ever had him as a speaker at Notre Dame U.

  • Lprice

    Revoke that degree and apologize to Catholics that they ever had him as a speaker at Notre Dame U.

  • Lprice

    And why do they dispense them in the first place?

  • Lprice

    And why do they dispense them in the first place?

  • I remember sitting in the pews during Mass hearing the Prayers of the Faithful and how we should pray for fair, humane, and compassionate health care laws.  It was a very thinly veiled intention to pass Obamacare.  At the time, many people probably labeled me as “greedy” and “uncompassionate” because I disagreed with the bill for numerous constitutional and religious issues.  And now that emotional, but not well-reasoned, support from many Catholics for Obamacare is coming back to bite us.

    Obamacare and this mandate should serve as a reminder to everyone that we should be critical of bills and laws even when they are wrapped in touchy-feely goodness.  Just because we are called to live moral lives and treat others as we would like to be treated doesn’t mean we should support every proposed social justice bill that comes out of government.  I want all Catholics to remember this mandate the next time they throw their support behind politicians who are only using Catholics as pawns to get what they want passed.

  • ST. Markeymark

    “Religious liberty has been granted to churches and to individuals not by the State but by the hand of God,” Bishop Lori pointed out. “It is the first of our freedoms in the Bill of Rights and at the heart of all the other freedoms.”

    And since when did pregnancy become a disease, and abortion a right (rite)?

  • Anonymous

    Notre Dame needs to consider its defense to Jesus Christ for what it did in His Mother’s name…if it can.

  • Jbm1040

    next well be asked to pass out condoms at Mass.  Satan is winning. Bishops need backbone to get him out of office. 100 million catholics could vote him out

  • Udairi Rose

    Lisa, try telling these moral relativists that the “big deal” is that the federal government is forcing people of faith to commit their own monies to the support of what these devout people believe is a sin.  For a simple analogy, would these people support a bill that forced Jewish or Muslim schools or hospitals to have bacon in their cafeterias, even if the people had the option not to eat it?  The how much more so human life.  You really don’t need a link for this…

  • Mahrt

    Planned Parenthood argues that 98 per cent of Catholic women have used contraception at some time in their lives. This argument is like arguing that since someone was once drunk he should be provided with free alcohol. 

  • Timfleming

    Wake up , staff of Notre Dame! Wisdom admits mistakes and helps,others avoid them. Foolishness holds onto mistakes and lies to himself about them because pride is more valuable than truth. This is not just a Catholic issue. We need every lover of freedom to stand up for liberty! Even if the mandate were for free vitamins or even free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it is not right to mandate free anything as part of a benefit offered by an employer, especially one against the conscience of said employer. So many Christians who run a business are affected! This is not just a Catholic Church issue, this is an American rights issue. Stand up for life! Stand up for liberty! Stand up for freedom!

  • Louise Huberty

    It would be to your advantaage if Notre dame revoked that Honorary Doctorate from Obama, and it would send a message to the world that Notre Dame is not as bad as it was believed earlier when it gave that degree to Obama.  God bless Notre Dame if it shows courage enough to revoke that degree.  LHH FL

  • California Catholic

    And, she says with great sarcasm: I would be willing to be if there was a way to PROVE those poor aborted babies would grow up to be gay liberals, there would be no more abortions – because it would be offensive to gay people! We Catholic Christians need to find the courage to shout from the rooftops about how bad this situation is!!

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps another degree to Obama will change his mind