The horns of a health care dilemma

I’ll bet they had a good laugh about this one at the White House.

I saw this from the Catholic League.


Catholic League president Bill Donohue addresses the dilemma that the Obama administration has created for religious employers:

Yesterday, the Obama administration mandated that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization for women, though it made an exception for religious employers. But did it? Not really. To wit: a religious employer is defined, in part, as one that primarily employs, and serves, persons who share its religious tenets.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said this means that “our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics.” He’s right: Catholic schools, hospitals and social service agencies have a long and distinguished record of serving everyone, regardless of religious affiliation; most even employ non-Catholics. However, there are matters, like foster care programs, where same-religion requisites make sense.

The situation is even more pernicious than it looks. Consider that three years ago, then presidential candidate Barack Obama said he opposes allowing faith-based programs to hire only their own people. Since becoming president, he has authorized his administration to consider this issue on a case-by-case basis, and just recently many of his allies lobbied him to gut the religious liberty provision in hiring altogether.

In other words, the Obama administration is playing Catch-22 with religious employers. If they are too religious, Catholic social service agencies risk losing federal funds, but if Catholic hospitals are not sufficiently religious, they cannot be exempt from carrying health insurance policies that transgress their religious tenets.

The Obama administration knows exactly what it is doing, and what it is doing is burning religious institutions at both ends. This is a pretty sick game. But it is one where there is plenty of time left on the clock.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, SESSIUNCULA, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. jkm210 says:

    Duquesne University, a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, is suing its insurance provider for reimbursing employees for birth control, IUDs, and botox. I wonder how the Obama mandate will play into this.

  2. Panterina says:

    Doesn’t the Administration know their basic civil rights act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on religion? These people are not that smart.

  3. Martial Artist says:

    Let us hope that the question gets to the Supreme Court and that they tell the Administration to take a hike on the issue. And, with or without such hoping, let us pray fervently and continually that God will intervene to stop this corruption of the Rule of Law in its tracks. I have a sense that we will not be able to win this battle without the intervention of our Lord.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  4. S. Murphy says:

    I’d like to see Catholic institutions be independent of the Federal government anyway. Maybe it’s not possible, but I wish they hadn’t taken the chocolate in the first place.

  5. KAS says:

    I’m FURIOUS with our bishops, pushing for the universal health care/Obamacare and then whining that it forces everyone to pay for evils such as contraception, abortion and sterilization. What did they expect? The government NEVER does things according to Catholic teaching except by accident. The Bishops are so weak and ineffective they cannot even get the Catholic legislators to live and work according to Catholic teachings. If they cannot teach the Catholic laity, like the legislators, to know and live by Catholic teachings, then how do they expect any government, made up as it is by lay persons, to actually do anything according to Catholic teaching?

    Our government schools teach pro-homosexual lifestyle propaganda and have sex education programs that are raunchy at best and pornographic at worst, and somehow the Bishops expected this government to do better with health care?

    What are our Bishops SMOKING when they support government run health care when history show exactly how badly government run anything goes for Catholics? How did pushing socialized, government run health care serve the common good when it means we ALL must pay for abortions, contraception, and sterilization? How did the Bishops think Obamacare was going to serve the common good when it means our hospitals and medical professionals will all be forced to do and support with our tax money that which we find abhorrent due to our Catholic beliefs?

    Are the Bishops dumb enough to fall for the “exemption” when it means the rest of us CATHOLICS will be left outside of that exemption– how does THAT fit with Catholic social teaching?

    I find it highly hypocritical of the Bishops to whine about the result of government health care after pushing for it.

  6. DisturbedMary says:

    KAS has said it so much better than I could. When the bishops embrace ANYTHING this Administration is pushing, they shake hands with the devil. How do you translate DUH into Latin?

  7. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    St. Thomas More, pray for us.

    To quote from a wonderful movie, “But for Wales?”
    We must assume that the intent of such a program is to act directly as Fr. Zuhlsdorf envisions [Fr. Z or Card. DiNardo?] — and now is the time to find ways around the law, to provide medical care “off the grid”, as it were. The question, in my mind, is whether we act in open contravention of the law — providing adoptions, medicines and so on and daring the government to challenge us — or to find some other way, less “confrontational”, but no less effective.

    Paint a target on my back, I guess, because I’m convinced that compromise isn’t possible on this point, and that the law officers don’t intend to apply the laws properly.

    God bless us, everyone.


  8. asophist says:

    Is there really “plenty of time left on the clock? Not so sure about that.

  9. CharlesG says:

    I believe the Magisterium of Nuns are more to blame than the Bishops. It was the Nuns that gave cover to all the faux Catholic politicians to vote for Obamacare. The Bishops did object to Obamacare’s abortion provisions at the time.

  10. tealady24 says:

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” Mt. 7:15

    The obama administration ( I put that in small letters as I don’t consider him to be president of ANYTHING!) knows exactly what it is doing! They are out to destroy this country one facet at a time. Give this devil another 4 years and kiss this country goodbye!
    What a disgrace that catholic pols stand up for this nitwit! Where’s excommunication when you need it?

  11. moon1234 says:

    Allowing Catholic institutions that were OWNED by the Church to be run by private boards and the Bishops would just be advisors was the START of the problem.

    This will get MUCH worse before it gets better. This country is looking more and more like 1930’s Germany. The parallels are staggering. I think people refuse to see a problem until it is their problem.

  12. drea916 says:

    I hardly ever hear priests and bishops speak against sin (including contraception) I wonder if they are secretly at odds with the teaching and so they are quiet. People are acting like this is shocking. Um, most Catholics ARE contracepting. Seems the only folks who are pissed are the couples that aren’t contracepting and a handful of faithful priests and bishops. Except for an encyclical here and there, the Church has pretty much been silent on the issue of birth control. She’s also been pretty weak on the whole issue of sin. We’re asleep!

  13. Gail F says:

    You are forgetting another group that would be exempt from that exemption — Catholic employers in secular businesses. They would not be able to choose insurance plans that did not include that coverage, even though they own the companies and negotiate the plans and pay all or some of the premiums. This is completely wrong.

    My first job was with a NON-Catholic, private, family-owned company. Their insurance did not cover birth control (to my husband’s and my dismay — we were not practicing Catholics at the time). They did not think it was their obligation to pay for something that was not a medical treatment or prevention for an illness. And long before I returned to the Church I realized that they were right. Pregnancy is not an illness. Moreover, if one accepts that birth control is moral, there are much cheaper methods. No one has a right to demand that other people pay for birth control pills and invasive procedures just because they want them — especially when many real medicines and procedures are not covered. My son requires THREE medications every day; no one gives them to me without a copay!

  14. CatholicDRE says:

    I understand the bishops wanting healthcare for everyone, but this is exactly why the government shouldn’t handle it. They want to control everything and the best way to do that is to silence other voices and remove competition.

  15. EXCHIEF says:

    I also wonder if there is a lot of time left. From my perspective, based upon morality not politics, every day this evil and illegal regime continues in power the more threat there is to religion and to the future of our country. There is no threat to Islam which is more a political ideology than a religion. I again contend, as I have before, that Obama views the Catholic Church as potentially his greatest enemy and thus will do all he can to destroy it—at least the Orthodox version of it.

  16. Clinton says:

    Who pays the piper calls the tune. Our Church lost the final say on what Her agencies– schools,
    hospitals, adoption services, etc.– would and would not do when we agreed to take government
    funding. The fine print on that deal is that Catholic institutions must also accept government
    interference in matters of policy or face a cutoff of funds from the state.

    The funding needn’t be direct. Catholic colleges and universities must bend to government
    regulations even if they receive no direct funding from a government agency. For example, if its
    students receive government funds via Pell grants or state scholarships, a school is deemed
    to be receiving state funds and therefore is subject to govt. regulation and control. Hospitals
    are in a similar situation, being required by both the laws of charity and the state to attend
    anyone in need, they must accept medicaid/medicare monies to remain open. Again, because
    accepting government funds comes at the price of accepting government policy directives, the
    state becomes the final authority on what a Catholic hospital may or may not do. We recently
    saw the result of this deal with the devil when the story broke of the Arizona Catholic hospital
    that could not revoke the privileges of one of its doctors, even though he was a notorious

    American Catholics have sacrificed time and treasure building up a vast network of charities and
    schools. It is infuriating that our tax dollars are being used to suborn and erase the Catholic
    identity of those institutions.

  17. ipadre says:

    I wonder what would happen to our government if we were to close all of out health care ministries, schools and social outreach ministries in one day without warning, and tell the people why we are doing it.

  18. andreat says:

    ipadre says:

    I wonder what would happen to our government if we were to close all of out health care ministries, schools and social outreach ministries in one day without warning, and tell the people why we are doing it.

    I actually think this would be very effective. Close all Catholic services for one day.
    There is a Catholic school in a small country town near where I live which did just that (I can’t remenber what it was over and it was quite a while back), but having numbers double at the government run school convinced the powers that be to back down.

  19. transparent2one says:

    I don’t think that everything can be blamed on the Bishops and priest for all the ills in the church. We lay people have some responsibility don’t we?

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