Bp. Zubik (D. Pittsburgh) on Obama to Catholic Church: “To Hell with You.”

His Excellency Most Rev. David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburgh has issued a powerful statement about Pres. Obama’s attack on religious liberty, the 1st Amendment, and the Catholic Church.

Here are some excerpts.  I am NOT making this up.


Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.

To Hell with your religious beliefs,
To Hell with your religious liberty,
To Hell with your freedom of conscience.

We’ll give you a year, they are saying, and then you have to knuckle under. As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded, “in effect, the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs. And we are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation; to subsidize the imposition of a contraceptive and abortion culture on every person in the United States.

It is time to go back to work. They have given us a year to adapt to this rule. We can’t! We simply cannot!

Write to the president.

Write to Secretary Sebelius.

Write to our Senators.

Write to those in Congress.


This mandate can be changed by Congressional pressure. The only way that action will happen is if you and I take action.

Let them know that you and I will not allow ourselves to be pushed around (or worse yet) be dismissed because of our Catholic faith.

Let them know that you and I will not allow our religious freedom to be compromised.

Let them know that you and I will not allow our religious liberty to be rescinded.

Nobody, not even the president of the United States or anyone who represents him, has the right to say to you and to me as U.S. citizens, as Catholics, or as both: “To Hell with You.”

The president and our elected leaders need to hear from you and me and to listen to us NOW.


WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Zubik.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Fr. Z KUDOS, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peggy R says:

    This year deadline makes me think of the creepy evil villain who tells the fair maiden prior to their nuptials that she’ll get used to the idea of being his wife. We are, like her, waiting for our prince to come to the rescue. Cardinals are princes of the Church, right? This is their cue to come in.

  2. JoyfulMom7 says:

    God bless Bishop Zubik! And thank you, Fr. Z, for keeping us informed. I will pray for you and all our Bishops tonight in my Adoration hour.

  3. If all the affected Catholic institutions in the United State simply stopped hiring non-Catholics, they would then qualify for the limited exemption allowed under the Administration’s new rule, no? That is my understanding of the new policy. Seems like that is the best way out of this debacle for the US Church at this point, barring of course the possibility that Obama is defeated in November and this rule cannot be implemented.

  4. benedetta says:

    That is a very powerful statement. I think we are going to need some organizing for purposes of writing and speaking out on this, for making ourselves heard. We should also look into what taxpayer legal challenges might be possible.

  5. riopeljm says:

    i have little sympathy for our bishops. where were they before this crap passed…knowing full well the direction that it would go? (if they didn’t than they weren’t paying attention) they handed the keys to this administration and now are complaining about where they are driving. too late! buckle up or jump out! i say jump out and save your souls…
    for those wondering what to do, we are cancelling our insurance through my husbands job and are having his employer place the amount he had applied to premiums to a health savings account and we are buying major medical. this keeps premiums from being applied to contraception. we have 6 kids and are always at the dr. but we will not pay for this.

  6. K_Suzanne says:

    So proud of my Bishop right now. :-) Thanks for posting this, Fr. Z!

  7. Andy Lucy says:

    In the immortal words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!”

  8. Random Friar says:

    @riopeljm: To be fair, Archbishop Dolan did speak with the POTUS and seemed to come out thinking that the religious exemption would be intact. What he said was that the POTUS pretty much told a bold-faced lie.

    @Andy Lucy: Yes, but didn’t he surrender the ship right after that? ;)

    As for the bishops: oo-rah!

  9. pm125 says:

    I agree with Benedetta. Monumental. The USCCB pro-life postcard batches to parishes of a few years ago was good, but implemented too late by the Diocese. This time the parish need only post addresses near the cards, say what they are in the announcements and in bulletins, and begin the unity mission of the Church. It wouldn’t be such a hot potato with hard copy to hold, consider, stamp, and address.

  10. Captain Peabody says:

    His Excellency is quite right; the Obama administration has crossed the line here, broken the bounds of mainstream American politics and constitutional law, and the Catholic Church and the American citizenry cannot simply let him get away with this. I have written to Secretary Sebelius, my representative, and my senators, and I suggest everyone concerned do the same.

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

  11. APX says:

    @Christopher M. P. Tomaszewski

    If all the affected Catholic institutions in the United State simply stopped hiring non-Catholics, […] Seems like that is the best way out of this debacle for the US Church

    Can you do that in the US? You can’t do it in Canada. I could see people, ironically enough, lodging lawsuits for religious discrimination.

  12. HyacinthClare says:

    Michael Voris has a stunner today on Real {Catholic} TV. A Vanity Fair poll reported that (at least among Catholic readers of Vanity Fair!) 5 out of 6 believe that religious “diversity” is preferable to universal belief in Christianity. Are we sure we have any troops for our battle?

  13. Tradster says:

    Great speech! Now if only he had included the directive for Catholics to vote the Demon-crats out of office in November, it would have been perfect.

  14. riopeljm says:

    @Random Friar~ this admin stated before the bill ever passed that they wanted contraception to be considered preventative care so what i am saying is that they made their motives known beforehand and for our bishops to be surprised is strange to me. even if the conscientious exemption would have stayed in tact, the bill was clearly going to cover abortifacients (abortion!) and somebody was going to have to pay for it (i.e.~you and me) unless of course you are getting your insurance through a church and then you are fine…does it matter that i would be violating my conscience and don’t have insurance through a church? it should and that was the fight before the bill passed and our bishops walked away from that one. they had to know then that they were leaving the faithful to continue to pool their insurance money and have it go to pay for abortions against their conscience. now that catholic hospitals and universities face the same fate, they are all upset.

  15. RitaElizabeth says:

    Obama needs to be kicked off his throne!

  16. ozeem says:

    Thankful for Bishop Zubik! I pray for him regularly and am glad to be part of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I am glad to see our church leaders coming forward to denounce this horrid decision.

  17. tcreek says:

    How man bishops do we have, around 300?
    98% remain silent.
    Why cannot they speak with one voice … like the Good Shepherd would do?

  18. Brian K says:

    The USCCB as a body needs to apply Canon 915 to Sebelius and every other culture of death politician. No exceptions. No more nonsense of this being a “private matter.” This is grave manifest sin; the Obama administration has declared war on the Church. The Church must respond with her spiritual weapons to defend her rights and clarify the consciences of those Catholics promoting this attack.

  19. albinus1 says:

    @Andy Lucy: Yes, but didn’t he surrender the ship right after that? ;)

    Random Friar: If we’re talking about Star Trek: First Contact, IIRC, no, Picard didn’t surrender the ship right after that — he blew the ship up!

  20. Joseph-Mary says:

    Some might even be tempted to say, “I told you so.” Many saw this coming. Lies, lies, lies from the beginning and proud dissenters going along with them (evil government agenda) and being played for fools. And little true and good guidance from shelpherds…..but we hope better late than never. Let us hope that what dignity and authority the bishops can garner will cause Catholics to finally stand together to say THIS is the line in the sand and this time we do mean it. And mean it.

  21. MarkJ says:

    I hope we have more Bishops with spines than when King Henry VIII attacked the Church.
    St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, pray for us!

  22. Mom2301 says:

    So glad to see some Bishops make themselves heard and with such vigor. Now, where is my bishop in all this??

  23. EucharistLove says:

    Isn’t it sad that we get so pumped up when a few bishops speak up; like it’s a pleasant surprise or something? What have we come to? The surprise should be when a few bishops DON’T speak up. Times like these bring about saints. Love to all my Church Militant.

  24. rcg says:

    This is great. Good for this brave Bishop. One thing The Bishop might consider; this is not disregarding Democracy but is exactly what happens in a Democracy: the popular stance wins. By contrast, in a Republic all the views of the people are considered along with the vision of the leadership. That way it is possible to protect true and permanent minorities, like Jews, even when they could never win a popular vote.

  25. kelleyb says:

    God bless him. I wish my Bishop was this brave.

  26. kelleyb says:

    Correction, I will not “wish” my Bishop was as brave as Bishop Zubik. I will pray that he becomes a brave witness for our Lord.

  27. capchoirgirl says:

    Standing and applauding wildly!
    Pittsburgh is my parents’ home diocese, and most of my extended family still lives there, so we’re frequent guests. All the more reason to love him!

  28. Johnno says:

    If the Bishops cannot excommunicate these loud and proud apostates due to the technicalities of canon law, then why not simply make loud and public denouncements of their positions, their words and everything they have publicly said and call them out as being in error??? Take sheets of paper with this information and nail it to their doors. Martin Luther did, and boy did he get results! Certainly that’s completely in their ability to do! Heck any one of us can do it, but it must come from their authority as bishops to be meaningful!

  29. Random Friar says:

    @albinus1: Oh, yes, thanks! I forgot about the “We have to destroy the ship to save it” defense.

    @riopeljm: I have no idea what the bishops thought was going to happen in particular, but I’m praying this is a wake-up call.

  30. chcrix says:

    “As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs.”

    The government we have – calling itself a democracy – believes that there is literally nothing which it is not entitled to mandate either legislatively or by executive fiat.

    When Franklin was asked what sort of government had come from the constitutional convention he replied “A Republic – if you can keep it.”

    Democracy had nothing to do with it. The essence of a republic as conceived by the founders is in accord with the principle of subsidiarity.

    It is past time that the citizens of the US stop worshiping at the altar of “Democracy” and reserve their – presumably intelligent – consent for the principles of the constitution.

    This means not seeking federal action in areas that the government has no actual authority. Like health care and provision of insurance for starters.

  31. Jael says:

    Let us pray, pray, pray for a godly president.

  32. Dave N. says:

    If you accept government money, you subject yourself to government rules.

  33. Centristian says:

    Every single bishop needs to, like this one, throw down the gauntlet and I have no doubt that, as a body, the American bishops will do just that. I believe they are getting ready for what will surely prove to be a huge battle in the months to come. Father Mitch Pacwa said in a sermon delivered today that it is more important to pray for our bishops than to complain about them, and he’s right. It’s also important that the Catholic laity stand behind them on this issue.

    My concern is about us, actually, not about the bishops. The bishops will take a stand and I believe they will present a united front. Where will the average Catholic be, though, I wonder? It’s a damn shame that the bishops lost so much credibility in the wake of the abuse scandal, and now we will soon see, I think, very clearly, how the sins of a few can really mortally wound the whole Church. When will the next cover-up of a priest who couldn’t control himself emerge?

    I expect that this is going to turn very, very ugly. Someone posting aboveinvoked the assistance of St. Michael the Archangel. I think that’s a very good idea.

  34. EXCHIEF says:

    Dave N
    ‘NO!!! Absolutely not—not when those “rules” violate the Constitution upon which this nation (until the present administration) was based.

  35. Andy Lucy says:

    “@Andy Lucy: Yes, but didn’t he surrender the ship right after that? ;)”

    @Random Friar: Picard set the ship’s self destruct sequence, evacuated his crew, and then went down to Engineering to try to save Data. While there, he and Data were able to breach the warp core coolant line and destroy the Borg… thus saving the ship. The Enterprise-E is how they got back to the 24th century.

    But also keep in mind… had Picard destroyed the Enterprise-E, it would have been completely justified, as his mission was to stop the Borg from assimilating Earth in the past. Destroying his ship would have accomplished that mission… to have failed to stop the Borg would have been disastrous.

    Our bishops have a dilemna similar to Picard’s. They must devise a way to stop the violation of the First Amendment before it takes place. After it takes place there are any number of legal remedies… but once you get a law like this on the books, it is incredibly difficult to get it removed. Better to stop it before it happens… kind of like the Borg. I will be praying for all of our bishops… on a very regular basis.

    See, Random friar? See? This is what happens when Trekkies are let out of the closet and fed after midnight. rotfl

  36. Papabile says:

    I fear that Obama wants this fight, precisely to show the strength of the Bishops and to create a political wedge between them and their flock.

    In the President’s mind it’s really quite the same thing as those recent “recess appointments”. If the Republicans fight them as blatently unconstitutional, he gets to wedge a great majority of people from them.

    It’s the same here.

    Divide et impera.

  37. Imrahil says:

    Sounds to good to be true.

    Thanks to the Lord, who me, by grace,
    called my to in His Church a place,
    never will I seceed from Her!

    (I respectfully propose that @jarhead or somebody add a battle-cry to which I’m not entitled.)

  38. trespinos says:

    I applaud Bp. Zubik’s statement and those of the other bishops who are speaking out. I make one suggestion, though. Please focus. Appeals for letters to the President and the Secretary of HHS are not helpful. Letters to them are demonstrably futile.

    Congress has the power to override the Secretary’s rules. The votes to do so probably already exist in the House of Representatives. Therefore, the true heat needs to be focussed on our wonderful Senators. A majority of them, which, this year at least, means including a small number of Democrats, needs to be convinced that the country’s interest (read: their personal interest, too) depends on making the HHS rule fall. That will require an enormous full-on campaign in an election year. So let it begin.

  39. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, Father. God bless and protect this bishop. We have so many good men.

    I am afraid that there are not enough Catholics in the pew who will take this seriously. Either they are little sheep, asleep, or in agreement with their naive view of a secular society. Many years ago, when I was teaching religion, during the section on the Modernist heresy, I would ask my classes whether anyone “here” would be willing to be a martyr, as I said it would come in the lifetimes of these students. About one-third said they would be willing to either die or experience suffering for their Faith. Only one-third…The young students are now parents with children, being lawyers, doctors, salesmen, sportsmen, mothers, teachers, and so on. They are passing down their mediocre faith to their children.

    No, there is a small remnant and there always will be. We, the remnant, need to prepare for real suffering, such as loss of jobs, loss of status, loss of the Mass.

  40. Charles E Flynn says:

    The Obama administration is asking us to choose between being cafeteria Catholics and cafeteria Americans.

  41. Supertradmum says:

    Michael Voris’ stunning review of a poll in Vanity Fair in his video today shows that the crisis of the people in the pew is even worse than I have thought. But, his data proves my point above that there simply may not be enough Real Catholics, (pun intended) to stop the tide of religious persecution, which is happening in the name of “tolerance”.

  42. Supertradmum says:

    Charles E. Flynn,

    There has always been and should be a tension in being both a Catholic and an American, otherwise one falls into the heresy of Americanism, which partly states that Rome does not understand and should not legislate over the “American Catholic Church”. Sadly, many of our bishops now and in the past have been Americanists. Obviously, as we see on this blog, there are three hero bishops from New York, Marquette and Pittsburgh. We need more voices in this battle or we shall lose it.

  43. Deacon Jeff says:

    I have never been more proud of my Bishop. Way to go! If only more of our leaders would find the courage of the Spirit to take this strong a stand.

  44. “Someone posting aboveinvoked the assistance of St. Michael the Archangel. I think that’s a very good idea.”

    Would that the U.S. bishops directed that the Prayer to St. Michael be said for this cause at the end of every Mass.

  45. LisaP. says:

    He had me until “so, let’s all write letters.”

  46. Supertradmum says:


    I have friends in politics and they claim that phone calls are equally effective. I have phoned and talked to aides in the past. I recommend this if you are not a letter writer.

  47. wmeyer says:

    I can attest to the effectiveness of calling. Whether you call or write, you need to remember that you place yourself in an almost vanishingly small group: those who care enough to say something. Politicians take these contacts very seriously, because they have learned that each letter or call represents a much larger number who did not make the effort, but will still cast their votes at the next election. I do not know the multiplier involved, but consider what happens if it is 100 — the office receives, let’s say, 2,000 letters on a topic, and that translates to 200,000 voters. I suspect that 100 is a low multiplier, by the way.

  48. Every time I read about this issue, I think, those in the US don’t realise how blessed they are, that this hasn’t already been forced upon them by a socialistic state as it has in the UK, that they still have an opportunity to keep an opt-out that we never had in the first place.


    More power to your elbow, my US brethren, and think of us too, over here in the world centre for the culture of death, where the religion of state secularism is far more advanced. Take our experience as a warning for where you could be heading.

  49. irishgirl says:

    Wow-what a statement by Bishop Zubik! Would that all our Bishops were that bold!

  50. Random Friar says:

    @Andy Lucy: I bow before the superior Trekkie memory! :)

  51. Johnno says:

    The Pope and the world’s bishops should make a public act of faith, recognizing publicly the dangers that America poses and its government’s ideological errors, and together on a single day consecrate the United States of America to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

    And while they’re at it, they should set aside a day to consecrate every single country alone and by name to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The United Kingdom, China, Russia, Egypt, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, India etc. Recognize each one individually, recognize their unique problems individually, and consecrate each one individually, just as you would if they were persons close to you and you’d give care and devotion to each of them, all on separate occasions as a recognition of them.

    Pope Benedict XVI should use his papal authority to order the world’s bishops to cooperate in these acts in such a way that those who are able to cooperate but yet disobedient will be automatically excommunicated for it. This will serve a twofold purpose. One being of course requesting Heaven’s Divine Aid and Blessings on what is going to be undertaken. And Two… to separate the sheep from the goats, we’ll have a clear idea which bishops follow and recognize the Holy Father and the Catholic Church’s authority. After words we can single them out and set about bringing them to reconciliation.

    The Church is at war GLOBALLY! In the US they’re being persecuted in one way, in the Middle East, another, in Asia another, in Africa another… It’s time to recognize these problems and place them before God. Call the world’s bishops to unity, and as a united Church consecrate them all individually to the Mother of God who is the ideal representation of the faith, the defender of orthodoxy, who hates heresy, who hates abortion, who symbolizes and defends sexual chastity, who is the ultimate aspiration of all women today who need a role model, and who will protect her children like a mother should! She is the one who will take our requests and turn to her Son and deliver them to Him, and He will always fulfill anything she asks of Him!!! Just as Solomon honored his mother, the Queen of Israel!!! That is the authority and previledge of Mary!!! That’s why He gave her to us!!! That’s why He wants us to recognize her!!! That is why He wants His Church to establish her at the forefront of the crusade they increasingly have no choice but to embark upon!!!

    Perform these consecrations! Perform them in union with all the world’s bishops! Strengthen the small group of faithful you still have remaining, show them the Catholic Church worldwide is not a house divided! Show them through these acts that our leaders and Christs’s Vicar are in the face of this fallen world, directly communicating and calling out to Heaven to come to our aid, and that our efforts will not be futile and will be backed by God and His Holy Mother whom His Church is publicly acknowledging in the face of each individual country that openly rejects Him!

  52. JKnott says:

    It’s good to hear about these brave bishops. Sadly the website for my diocese has nothing on this issue. The first page is about donations and a Feb. agenda with lots of peace and justice events happening. The bishops couldn’t have been that naive about the support they gave to Obamadeathcare.
    This isn’t the first time that Obama and his administration has acted in violation of the Constitution and the system of checks and balances of our democracy. As a matter of fact, it has been so common that is become the norm. If Catholics hadn’t helped significantly by giving us a Democratic majority in the House and Senate to collaborate with this tyrant, he would have been impeached by now. This is just the frosting on his Saul Alinsky type tactics to bring the Church and America down. He must be sitting back laughing at his unimpeded success. The Occupy nonsense is his climatic trademark . An Alinsky type revolution which he has nurtured faithfully since seizing office against the American way of life and which he despises.
    Hopefully with prayer, fasting and much sacrifice on the part of the 15% of Catholics who believe the world needs Christianity and the 49% of the Evangelicals who agree, the Lord will deign to remove this man from office along with the Democratic majority from doing more harm to faith and morals. We need God’s mercy.

  53. ChronicSinner says:

    I appreciate the Bishop’s strong words, but it’s too little too late. In a day and age where 90-98% of self professed Catholics contracept, do the Bishops really think they are going to get any traction or support from the pews on this issue?

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  55. LarryPGH says:

    Christopher M. P. Tomaszewski asked:

    If all the affected Catholic institutions in the United State simply stopped hiring non-Catholics, they would then qualify for the limited exemption allowed under the Administration’s new rule, no?

    No. Two other requirements exist: first, in addition to hiring primarily only Catholics, they would have to have primarily only Catholics as clients. Second, their mission would have to be the “inculcation of religious values”; that’s a hard one to assert of a Catholic hospital, for instance.

  56. Dr. Eric says:

    Why should the Sixty Million Catholics who use contraception in America write letters to their Congressmen and Senators to stop this law? I can name more than a few couples who quit going to church back in the 80s when our priest (R.I.P) told them to stop contracepting in the confessional. These people just quit. Why should the 60,000,000 Catholics in America who use contraception oppose this law?

    This is the fruit of the dissent against Humanae Vitae in ’68.

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