Obama Administration’s War on Religious Liberty: we have one year to comply!

A bad day.

This comes one day after Pope Benedict gave an important address to US bishops on freedom of religion and the role of the Church in American culture and politics.

Coincidence?  I think not.

Pres. Obama’s Administration has declared war on freedom of religion and exceptions of conscience when it comes to what Catholics know as the intrisically evil of abortion.

Kathleen Sebelius, (catholic) Secretary for Health and Human Services, issued a statement that the HHS would not attend to concerns of religious employers in regard to the HHS’s rules which require health insurance coverage for sterilizations and abortifacient “contraception”, except… except.. get this… to allow religious groups one year to comply!

The language is little short of creepy.

The Sebelius statement is as follows with my emphases and comments:

In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. The rule allows [My God!  The arrogance….] certain non-profit religious employers that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services. Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive [Orwellian, no?] health services will ensure [such warm and supportive language…] that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception. [Any abortifacients?] Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.

After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. [Get this…] Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. [Get that?  You have one year to comply.  Then you will have to conform against your religious beliefs.] Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. [Watch this…] This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule. We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concerns.  [In a similar way, Pres. Obama spoke about “common ground”, right?  Mendacious.]

[But wait!  This will convince you that they are right.  Here comes the SCIENCE!  SCIENTISTS will help you change and comply.] Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women. This rule will provide women with greater access to contraception by requiring coverage and by prohibiting cost sharing. [Evil.]

[And now, with that little tilt of the head, she tells us that this was a tough decision.  They struggled with this, I’ll bet.  That should be enough to exonerate them of any blame, innoculate them from any accusation of ill-will.] This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. [Really important to them, you can tell.] I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance [weasel] between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services. [Yah, okay.  I get it now.  These are “important” preventive services!] The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, [So long as they comply with our will and total disregard for religious liberty.] which promote healthy communities and serve the common good. And this final rule will have no impact on the protections that existing conscience laws and regulations give to health care providers.  [… HUH?]

I’d vote for a frozen orange juice can in November 2012.

Listen to this PODCAzT now, of you haven’t already.

UPDATE:

The young papist has his take HERE.

CNS HERE.

USCCB reaction HERE.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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60 Responses to Obama Administration’s War on Religious Liberty: we have one year to comply!

  1. DavidJ says:

    This certainly leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Completely expected of this administration, though.

  2. kab63 says:

    So, Sebelius has given non-profit employers a year to fire all women and hire men as replacements. Is that the kind of “comply” she had in mind?

  3. Brad says:

    The pill: WHO’s admitted class 1 carcinogen. The pill: abortifacient (winky winky!) according to one mode of its multi-headed hydra approach to preventing/killing what it failed to prevent.

    But let’s not talk about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Komen, PP. It’s 30 years on and let’s just let those dogs “lie”.

    Main thing is, kill those babies and also poison their mothers! Get ‘em in the ground and off of our insurance spreadsheets by the time they’re 50. And pass the soylent green. And the soma. Oh, you have been?

  4. acardnal says:

    When will a bishop in the USA ever exert his authority and rule that HHS Secretary Sebelius cannot present herself for holy communion or perhaps excommunicate her? Perhaps Cardinal Burke can step in because I know he has strong opinions on the matter, in fact, when he was Archbishop of St.Louis, he DID step in and instructed that Senator John Kerry not present himself for communion in his diocese.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Every Catholic who voted for Obama brought this down on the Church, as I noted in my blog today. This type of bullying will get worse, unless we change this administration. Every bishop needs to take this to the pulpits of America before we lose that right as well, to speak freely in the Church about morality. God help us.

  6. NoTambourines says:

    This:

    “Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women.”

    This is an upside-down and backwards approach to health care, brought to you by the Let’s Throw Pills At Everything Because We Can mentality. Not all women take birth control. I don’t, and I won’t. Somehow I’ve survived 33 years without the “health benefits” of birth control.

    I believe the pill is vastly over-prescribed. It affects fertility. It affects libido (isn’t that enough of a disincentive?). The hormonal changes affect mood and body weight along with a whole slew of other potential hazards — see also, the “Yaz” fiasco. No drug is 100% “safe.” But the Pill is absolved of all of these things.

    And it’s not just the women taking it who ought to be concerned:
    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/how-the-pill-can-harm-your-future-childs-health/
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=birth-control-in-water-supply

    There are far-reaching unintended consequences of this pill binge that we may not know for decades. And Sibelius would steamroll over the remaining refuseniks who won’t cooperate in what is both a moral evil and lousy policy.

    This, here and now, is the battle between freedom of “worship” and of “religion” Fr. Z was talking about in yesterdays podcast. The ability of an institution to refuse to cooperate in evil depends on freedom of religion and the integrity of religious identity, not just the right of an individual to his opinion.

  7. JKnott says:

    God willing, we will have a next president who has the moral courage to persevere in whatever it takes to overturn Obamadeathcare. This is THE key issue in the next election. It impacts everything; religious freedom; ALL our constitutional freedoms: the economy; entitlements; homosexual agenda; abortion etc.. The time for voting for pacifist wimps and moderates is over.

  8. NoTambourines says:

    Clarifying something I wrote above: of course, I think the pill is “over-prescribed” wherever the intention is contraception. I wish I could find the article I’m thinking of which detailed how casually it is prescribed for even small hormonal irregularities. It’s lazy medicine.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Kathleen Sebelius should be publicly excommunicated. Who would be her bishop? That would put a halt on some proceedings.

  10. This is war.

    Be grateful; President Obama has overplayed his hand, badly. (And, caution: he may yet offer a concession to buy off the bishops; pray they don’t go for it.) But if he is going to go to war against the Church, then be glad he is bald-faced about it. He’s just thrown all his Catholic apologists under the bus, and they won’t recover for some time. He’s just united the bishops.

    If it must be war, better one where everyone *knows* it’s war.

    This isn’t so much bad news for our Church–we will survive and thrive. It’s terrible news for our country, which enjoys no such promise from our Lord.

  11. APX says:

    Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families,

    Bravo Sierra! The Pill causes cancer and makes women attracted to effeminate men with boyish facial features. The day I read the second side effect to the Pill in a magazine was the day I went off it (for medical purposes). I’d rather live in agonizing pain for a day or two every month than be attracted to effeminate “men”. *shudder*

    I am so happy I am not an American.

    I was covered under a health plan from a Catholic School Board, and before I could get coverage on it, they needed a letter from my doctor explaining what it was being used for. Even my doctor wouldn’t give it in a dose that would actually be an effective method of birth control for myself and warned me that I better not being lying to her for what I was using it for because I would end up pregnant. My doctor’s kinda hardcore like that.

  12. Cristero says:

    One year and a day until we can get that can of Orange Juice into office.

    This is deplorable, and it IS war.

    Good advice, Father. Prayer, Almsgiving, and Fasting.

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Fr. Martin Fox,

    I agree with you about the fact that our nation may be wrecked over such tyranny of the spirit. However, I would not say that Obama overplayed his hand. He has a lot of support and knows it, sadly, even from so-called Catholics, including priests and bishops.

  14. Tradster says:

    This could very well be a good thing if it finally forces the bishops to stop being liberal-leaning wimps, ignore the “separation of church and state” nonsense (as do the Demoncrats), and finally act like bishops. They need to stop the “dialogues”, start public excommunications, and tell all clergy and laity in no uncertain terms that the Demoncrats must be voted out of office or risk the loss of their souls. Vote “R” for redeemed or “D” for damned!

  15. LaudemGloriae says:

    This one year delay is for polital convenience. It is about postponing a controversial topic during an election cycle. When questioned in the debates the President can easily work both sides of the issue, ie: telling one group he’s willing to look at the issue again, telling another that he will insist on compliance.

  16. Supertradmum says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytVF0BTrxWw

    It was said by one brave bishop in 2008

    Bishop Finn on considering one’s immortal salvation… and should be said by all the bishops individually in each one of their dioceses.

  17. tealady24 says:

    It’s Friday you see, so time for another Obamination! No coincidence.
    I guarantee he HATES all of us as he HATES all Republicans.
    One year to choose; ok, if we put this in the hands of Mary,
    he won’t be in office in one year.
    I think, Mary is waiting for some real commitments from us. Real. Prayerful. Pious.
    In the words of a real American hero, “let’s roll!”

  18. CharlesG says:

    The bishops better fight this in the courts tooth and nail. I’m still disgusted that the Massachusetts bishops caved on getting out of the adoption business rather than fight in the court on First Amendment grounds.

  19. Athanasius says:

    Mark my words, that crook Romney will do the exact same thing, having supported similar legislation in Massachusetts.There is no discernable difference between him and Obama. Gingrich supported Hillary Care years ago and is only slightly better. The only way out of this mess: Pray. Things like this happen because God is displeased with His people. The second way, support Ron Paul who has aggressively campaigned against this type of legislation and has always been consistent on our rights to choose what we do and don’t pay for.

  20. ckdexterhaven says:

    It’s not just liberal pro-choice Catholics who put Obama in office. A lot of “principled” bloggers just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican,” *b/c they’re just as eviiiil.* and waah waah, the Supreme Court still hasn’t struck down Roe v. Wade, so what’s the point? waaah waah” Gag, I’m disgusted by these people just as much as the pro Obama Catholics. Yes, please sit at home and watch your freedom and your grandkids freedom be taken away by an avowed Marxist.

    *no they’re not “principled” they’re just whiny whiners who can’t bring themselves to believe they would have to vote for a Republican. Did I use the adjective sanctimonious yet?

  21. Marc says:

    Let us pray that our American Bishops have the courage to make it perfectly clear: voting for the Obama Regime is cooperating with evil.

  22. benedetta says:

    This “one year to comply” is like a death sentence, scheduled to be carried out in a year’s time. After the election season, of course.

  23. amenamen says:

    “You see that? That’s how much longer you’ve got to be alive! And it isn’t long, my pretty, it isn’t long!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep5xMUBQhOg

  24. gambletrainman says:

    I can’t remember the EXACT situation, but I thought the SCOTUS just said unanimously that the government cannot interfere with religious institutions rights to run their own organizations according to their respective religious beliefs.

  25. ContraMundum says:

    It will get worse after the election. Win or lose, Obama knows he will never have to face the voters again.

  26. kelleyb says:

    Evil-pure and simple. I, too, will vote for an orange juice can before I would cast my precious vote for 0bama to continue his evil administration. He is waging war of the Catholic Church. I will work to elect any GOP candidate, God willing.

  27. Ckdexterhaven says:

    It’s not just liberal pro-choice Catholics who put Obama in office. A lot of “principled” bloggers just can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican,” *b/c they’re just as eviiiil.* and waah waah, the Supreme Court still hasn’t struck down Roe v. Wade, so what’s the point? waaah waah” Gag, I’m disgusted by these people just as much as the pro Obama Catholics. Yes, please sit at home and watch your freedom and your grandkids freedom be taken away by an avowed Marxist.

    *no they’re not “principled” they’re just whiny whiners who can’t bring themselves to believe they would have to vote for a Republican. Did I use the adjective sanctimonious yet?

    CK — please count me as one of those whose principles have, so far, prevented me from voting for a GOP candidate for President since 1988. I stand by that decision. To argue that I somehow have an obligation to support a candidate, because his opponent is worse, is deeply flawed. Anyone who argues that there is a grave obligation to vote for someone has a high burden of proof.

    For that matter, I pointedly deny that I did a thing to elect President Obama. I can prove it. I live in Ohio. The outcome of Ohio’s vote for President did not depend on a single vote. And I am prepared to bet $100 (up to 20 takers) that this year, my vote will, once again, not tip the election.

    Make no mistake: I vote; but I vote only for those candidates whom I deem worthy of my vote.

  28. Supertradmum says:

    ContraMundum,
    You understand, as I do it seems by your comment that POTUS does not support the Constitution at all and would happily, as he has stated, work without Congress. If elected again, he will play the tyrant. This is just a warm-up session.

  29. Supertradmum:

    I think the President’s action will have significant, negative political consequences for him:

    > He has greatly strengthened the case for repeal.
    > The Catholic bishops will find natural allies among Evangelicals, Muslims and some Jews; this is, as the political types say, “bad optics.”
    > A lot of Democratic members of Congress are going to be under a lot of pressure to support a Hyde-Amendment type bill on this.
    > This will be challenged in court–and the recent, unanimous Supreme Court ruling smacking down Obama’s interpretation of the First Amendment on religious freedom gives us hope of prevailing in this case.
    > This will be a significant issue in the fall election.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    Father Martin Fox,

    I hope you are right, but I see a momentum in the opposite direction of these points, excepting the SCOTUS decision.

  31. Athanasius says:

    *no they’re not “principled” they’re just whiny whiners who can’t bring themselves to believe they would have to vote for a Republican. Did I use the adjective sanctimonious yet?

    Why do I have to vote for a Republican? You can’t support the lesser of two evils. I firmly believe that the war on terror approaches, but is not at the same level of injustice, as abortion. They’re really the same principle: murder for the greed of rabid individualism. Moreover, on questions of economic justice, the effects of which often cause abortion, Republicans are little better than democrats. Its republicans who let big agriculture write bills detrimental to small farms and for our health freedom just as democrats let big pharma write bills that allow them to sell poison with more government funding. I believe the pro-life movement is DOA until it realizes that Republicans are part of the anti-life establishment, just a different department. They will not end abortion, they will not follow through on their promises, they make culture war worse not better. We need to take a lesson from the 19th century Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, who advocated Catholics get behind a 3rd party, and by doing so solved the question of school reform.
    We need 3rd parties in every state, we need them in every town, we need them in congress and in the senate. Then we can run serious candidates on a serious platform.
    The fact is since Truman there is no discernible difference in American foreign policy, or the increase of the police state and erosion of our freedoms. It just takes a different outer coating. One party two factions. This is why I have said elsewhere that even voting for Ron Paul, who represents real change, is moot because the powers that be, firmly ensconced in the government, will fight tooth and nail and oppose as many changes as Paul can make, no matter what they are. Its not enough to change the game, even if you can stomach the vote. Only intense political activism at the local level dealing with real issues can bring real “change”, or any real progress on abortion.

  32. Athanasius:

    CK would seem to believe there is a positive moral duty–of a grave nature–to vote for a particular politician. This is contrasted with a negative obligation not to vote for a politician, because of a defect in his or her character or platform. CK seems to be asserting that one is morally bound to vote for a candidate…but I’d rather not go further in interpreting CK’s point.

    But that seems the only way to take it. And, I reiterate, s/he has quite a burden of proof to demonstrate said positive moral obligation.

  33. auntpat says:

    If having your birth control covered by your insurance is soo important and you work for a religious organization, maybe you need to find another job. Can’t have your cake and eat it too!!

  34. EucharistLove says:

    Our Blessed John Paul the Great would tell us, “Be not be afraid.” We’ll make it. I love all my faithful Catholic brothers and sisters and particularly our faithful Bishops, Priests and Deacons. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

  35. Dan says:

    Fr. Martin Fox,

    I second your point about Obama overplaying his hand. First, no one has ever tried to wage a war (ideological or physical) against the Church and won. Just ask Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, etc. Christ Himself promised that our Church would endure the very gates of Hell. But, as Fr. Z points out from time to time, that does not mean the Church will endure in our nation. To be sure of that, we must stand up for our faith.

    Thankfully, the law is on our side. Speaking from a legal perspective, I can say that Obama has overplayed his hand because current federal law (specifically, the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act) mandates that any government regulation that burdens religious exercise (i.e., forces Catholic hospitals, schools, charities to pay for birth control) must 1) forward a compelling governmental interest, and 2) be the least restrictive means to doing so.

    This HHS regulation does not further a compelling govt. interest because, even if the premise that birth control = health & happiness is accepted, the women who, in the gov’t’s eyes, need it the most will not get it by having Catholic universities and hospitals buy their professors’ and doctors’ birth control. The unemployed and poor, who according to the gov’t, NEED contraceptives the most, will not get it if EMPLOYERS are compelled to pay for their employee’s birth control.

    Second, the mandate is not the LEAST RESTRICTIVE means of furthering the government’s interest in this case. Federal Courts have consistently taken a broad view of religious exercise, holding that it encompasses the activities of church-affiliated civic/community organizations. If a government mandate compels these organizations to change their religion-based policies, it will by definition burden their free exercise rights. Because the mandate is not broad enough to protect the religious exercise of these Church institutions, it cannot be the most substantively neutral and “least restrictive” means of doing so.

    I hope to have a law review article on the subject published in the near future. In the meantime, the Becket Fund has initiated a lawsuit on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, and their website has some good information on the legal principles involved.

    BTW, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as interpreted by SCOTUS, allows Federal District Courts to create exemptions from facially neutral and generally applicable federal laws to accomodate the religious exercise of plaintiffs. The more Catholic institutions who challenge this mandate in court (and they have a good case under the RFRA) the more individual exemptions courts will have to create. The administration has indeed overplayed its hand!

  36. Dan says:

    I would add another observation:

    Fr. Z has often remarked that one of the most important issues to consider in the upcoming election is JUDGES. I agree. The Federal Judiciary is the American aristocracy. They wield immense power and have guaranteed life tenure with no decreases in salary. Even when they retire, they receive FULL SALARY and benefits. Currently, SCOTUS is more conservative than the administration, in spite of Obama’s recent appointments. That can change dramatically in another four years. While Congress may make the law, and the President enforce the law, Federal Courts tell us what the law IS (See Marbury v. Madison).

    This is the most important reason why Obama, or any other liberal, cannot serve as President.

  37. Kerry says:

    This means war.

  38. Dan:

    That’s great stuff, thanks.

    The relevant committees in Congress could have some fun with this. If they hold hearings–and I bet they will–they should call Sebelius and Co. to testify about their research into the very areas you cited, as they prepared this rule. Let’s hear their explanation for how they square their rules with existing law. Of course, they’ll have to do that in court; but why wait?

  39. Pingback: Breaking: Obama’s Assault on Religious Liberty | ThePulp.it

  40. contrarian says:

    An unjust law is no law at all. Civil disobedience is now–or a year from now–the just course.

  41. ContraMundum says:

    I agree with Athanasius (as is fitting!) and Fr. Martin Fox.

  42. Geoffrey says:

    This is ludicrous. As a Catholic business owner / employer, I would be “required by law” to provide contraception coverage in employee insurance plans? No thanks. I would prefer to pack my bags and do business elsewhere.

  43. Centristian says:

    O God, come to our assistance.

    O Lord, make haste to help us.

  44. I hope Mr. Obama and his administration pay attention on Monday when they see all the March for Life witnesses. I hope they really pay attention to all those women holding the I regret my abortion signs. Though not brave enough to hold a sign just yet, I am a prime example of what abortion does to a woman, or a girl, when they have one. What it does to their entire life, and the damage that birth control actually does.

  45. JohnE says:

                “This was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection,” Sister Keehan said.

    Sounded pretty clear to me. Obama doesn’t believe in conscience protection.

  46. Athanasius says:

    Folks,

    One thing to bear in mind is that it is irrelevant to the Obama administration whether or not this is against the law. Presidents have been violating laws for a long time, but usually it is not found out until well after the fact and it is a smaller or at least less interesting thing which does not garner popular support. Roosevelt and Truman illegally detaining an American citizen without trial (one of the 8 german saboteurs who also was an American Citizen) and illegally interning Japanese Americans without due process in camps for no other crime but their race. Eisenhower Using our CIA to stage a coup that removed the democratically elected president of Iran, Muhammad Mosedech, for the terrible crime of nationalizing what had hitherto been a british company, which was against international law. It began the process that gave us Khomeini and now Ahmedinejahd. Carter’s secret funding of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan (Operation Cyclone) and Reagan’s Iran-Contra were also illegal. For that matter we might recall under Reagan that Donald Rumsfeld brokered the sale of biological weapons to Sadam Hussein, in violation UN arms legislation. (Rumsfeld meeting Sadam) There was a slight expansion of illegality in the Clinton administration including domestic surveillance of Pro-life groups by Janet Reno, the murder of American citizens at WACO with no due process, perjury and other things, but those paled in comparison to Clinton’s illegal wars in Serbia on phony pretenses (to fight alongside Mujaheddin trained by Usama bin Laden no less, against the Serbs) and his selling state secrets to China. Bush mildly expanded these powers to domestically spy on Americans for the War on Terror, (the same principles now used by Obama against pro-life groups), and imprison two American Citizens without due process (Yasir Hamdi, and Jose Padilla), not to mention made a number of unconstitutional signing statements. Bush put in place in the Patriot Act (an act itself authored originally by none other than Joseph Biden in the wake of Oklahoma City, who is where now?) That is the preface for everything Obama is doing now. Obama has expanded all of those powers and more, illegally running drugs to Mexico (fast and furious), assassinated (murdered) an American citizen with no due process (Anwar Al Awlaki who dined in the pentagon weeks after 9/11) engaged us in one immoral and illegal war (Libya), has us in an unofficial proxy war via drones in Yemen, and has two more around the corner in Syria and Iran. Violating the 1st Amendment to assault the Church is small change (legally speaking) compared to the abuses of power and outright criminality which have gradually increased with each regime (administration).
    You all need to realize the American Constitution does not matter anymore. It has gradually been eroded by President after President, irrespective of party. The government has decided to ignore it. We see this in the Soviet Union, which had a constitution which on paper is more fair and gives more rights than the American Constitution, except in one detail, it was never enforced, it was just for show. Laws are only as good as the government which enforces them, and when it decides not to, they are no longer functionally speaking laws. This has been the case with our presidents for a long time. Don’t be surprised when Romans I:25 becomes hate speech for which jail time will be applied. Do not be surprised when you are jailed for making health choices that the medical money interests don’t like. Don’t be surprised when you refuse the pill for your 14 year old daughter if CPS swoops in and takes her away. Don’t be surprised if your children are declared truant for homeschooling. Don’t be surprised if this happens under a Republican regime (administration) which itself is merely increasing and applying the laws already handed down to it by Obama and a long succession of lawless executives. Don’t be surprised if after mild protest most bishops go along with it.
    While I applaud the fact that the USCCB is doing something, I question whether or not their silence over the years hasn’t helped bring us to this point. Where did they find time to decry real goverenment wrongs amidst their pitter patter over immigration, nuclear disarmament and ineffable pink bunnies? Usually they were benefiting in some way, or nestled deeply in the democratic party, they kept quiet on abortion and contraception (men such as Bernadine) in order to stay out of the fire. If the Bishops were serious, they would excommunicate Kathleen Sabellius unless she withdrew her support for this or resigned. They will not do this, anymore than they will excommunicate pro-abort politicians who would be kicked out of most conservative protestant Churches in two seconds.

  47. Not a year to conform, but a year to fast and pray without ceasing. I will be attending Mass and praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy that the Church have the spiritual fortitude to withhold ‘compliance’ from this administration.

  48. Cathy says:

    Are we now an unnatural law country? This is war and we are at war. This command by HHS is the first shot, and it is heard loud and clear and it is most clearly directed at the Catholic Church in our country. This is not a political maneuver, it is spiritual warfare and it is well over time that our Bishops unite and take action and declare what is not tolerated of Catholics in the pew, Catholic politicians, Catholic teachers and Catholic religious. The Democrats cannot destroy us and the Republicans cannot save us. We can destroy ourselves, or we can turn to Jesus Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church for salvation.

  49. bookworm says:

    “This one year delay is for political convenience. It is about postponing a controversial topic during an election cycle. ”

    I suspect it may also be in order to allow the issue to work its way through the courts. Obama and Sebelius probably know that there’s a better than even chance the courts will toss this out before the deadline, especially given the 9-0 smackdown SCOTUS recently gave them on another religious freedom issue. However, it also allows the administration to display its pro-abortion cred to the Planned Parenthood and NARAL crowd for campaign purposes.

    I’ve been getting into Civil War history of late and I’d say this move does for abortion/contraception what the Fugitive Slave and Kansas-Nebraska Acts did for slavery — taking it beyond the places/institutions that wanted it and forcing those who did not want it to endorse and cooperate with it. The SCOTUS will have to deal with it at some point. Hopefully, they will go the right way as they did in Pierce vs. Society of Sisters (striking down a KKK-backed Oregon law that outlawed Catholic schools) and not the wrong way as in Dred Scott and, of course, Roe.

  50. Supertradmum says:

    I sincerely hope the men out there in blogland are getting ready to go to jail, protect their wives and children and, if single, go to the stake for religious freedom. The intellectual and theological discussions are fine, but people were talking when Hitler invaded the Sudetenland. My people died. Plan, get involved in grass roots politics, read Catholic teaching on socialism and get ready for a real battle. Can I quote one more time Edmund Burke:

    “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

  51. trad catholic mom says:

    Quote: So, Sebelius has given non-profit employers a year to fire all women and hire men as replacements. Is that the kind of “comply” she had in mind?

    That was my immediate thought reading it. They’d have to fully staff with celibate priests though, because most other men are married and hence would have coverage for their wives anyway making not hiring women a moot point.

  52. Cantate says:

    Republicans and Democrats are simply two wings of the same bird, which happens to be a vulture. Athanasius, you have spoken well on the state of affairs in this country. The Constitution is dead. I don’t have much hope for the bishops to do anything significant to remedy this deplorable breach of freedom of religion. Most of them are just democrats in Roman collars. They get more enthusiastic over social matters like illegal immigration

    EucharistLove:
    He is Blessed John Paul II, NOT Blessed John Paul the Great.

  53. MisterH says:

    Belmont Abbey College has taken the lead in the legal fight against this mandate:
    http://allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/2012/01/belmont-abbey-college-leads-fight.html

    Let us pray that many other Catholic institutions join them in this fight.

  54. Fr. Frank says:

    I really think we’re on our own in this situation. The Protestants, even the pro-life ones, have no problems with contraception or sterilization or even “morning after” pills. Most don’t even have problems with things like IVF. The Protestant ox isn’t getting gored with this legislation. Look for a few what-a-shames from Dr. Dobson or Family Research Council, but not much more.

  55. St. Epaphras says:

    To add something to the comment just above – yes, it’s directed at the Church, for sure, but there are non-Catholic Christians who will be very affected. Our friends before I entered the Catholic Church had huge families (12 children was not at all unusual) and thought the pill and sterilization and morning after pill were evil. Quite a few spoke out on the evils of any type of contraception, particularly the low dose pill. But it is sadly true, the majority of protestants are as Fr. Frank stated. However, for years we associated with the pro-life activists and then the Anabaptists, and that is where the children were. So this attack as well as those to come will affect TRULY open-to-life people wherever they are to be found, in or out of the Church.

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  57. Kieninger says:

    I WILL BE DAMNED – literally – if I did anything toward assisting any of my parish employees to obtain contraceptives or an abortion on my watch as pastor. Thanks be to God that two of my staff members are pregnant, and all of us are joyfully and prayerfully awaiting the births of these beautiful children. Contraception is a frequently-mentioned sin in confession, and I am fortunate that at Mass last night, only one couple walked out after my homily about how contraception destroys marriages and families by declaring “Jesus, I do not trust in you.”

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