US Bishops call Pres. Obama’s attack “literally unconscionable”

USCCB reaction to Obama Administrations war on freedom of religion.

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 19:57:45 +0000

DATE: January 20, 2012
FROM: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh
O: 202-541-3200
M: 301-325-7935



Unconscionable to force citizens to buy contraceptives against their will

No change in limited exemption, only delay in enforcement

Matter of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion

WASHINGTON—The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today’s announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”

The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – be included among “preventive services” coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans. “The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs,” added Cardinal-designate Dolan.

At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans.

“This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights,” said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board at Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals. “I have hundreds of employees who will be upset and confused by this edict. I cannot understand it at all.”

Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, voiced disappointment with the decision. Catholic hospitals serve one out of six people who seek hospital care annually. [“disappointment”? I bet she wrote that word with the pen Pres. Obama gave her after she gve cover to catholic dems in Congress when they voted for Obamacare.  “Qui cum canibus“.]

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

Cardinal-designate Dolan urged that the HHS mandate be overturned.

The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue to study all the implications of this troubling decision.”

We must now, more than ever, promote prayer, fasting and almsgiving in this upcoming battle.

And I will repeat my call to bishops and priests to work, more than ever, to restore the Sacrament of Penance to prominence in our lives.  We will have to play our part in this upcoming battle with a clear conscience and clean heart, with the strengthening of the sacraments.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Maltese says:

    I would also urge a return to the Traditional Latin Mass; Novus Ordoites contracept (95% of fertile “catholics” do) and abort at nearly the same national average rate (Traditional Catholics at an exponentially lower rate.)

    I’m sure most catholics are nonplussed by this decision of HHS, and probably even welcome it.

  2. pfreddys says:

    I hope this makes it clear that if the designation Catholic means anything to you whatsoever, you cannot possibly vote for Obama this November.

  3. Brad says:

    54% of Catholics voted for Obama last time, with his record of partial-birth abortion/don’t-save-a-survivor-baby. I envision this will cost him literally only a handful of percentage points. Will he still stay above 50%? I say that, or try to, simply realistically and not cynically.

    How do we compare to the (lack of) Mormon support for him? It’s sad to ponder.

  4. weneleh says:

    Maltese — I would love to see some sources for your numbers.

    And I agree with pfreddys – we cannot possibly vote for Obama this November.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    I have just spoken with someone in Illinois who said the Latino community is going to back Obama in the election again. If the priests do not take this into the churches and speak on this, we shall lose this battle and all the others that will follow. Not enough Catholics are righteously angry about this.
    And to use a word like “disappointed” makes me ill. Horrified would have been a more appropriate word. Every Catholic on this blog who lives in the States needs to get moving at the grass roots level to stop this administration’s second term. And, Bishops need to make strong local statements. We shall lose many more religious freedoms if this is not stopped. Catholics have been lying to themselves about the Dems too long. The party is not going to change its commitment to “women’s reproductive health”. The party is blatantly anti-Catholic.

  6. Pingback: Obama breathing threats, declares there is no longer freedom of religion in America. American bishops vow to fight him. | Holy Souls Hermitage

  7. anilwang says:

    Maltese, type of mass has nothing to do with it. If you ask the bulk of Catholics if contraception and sterilization are okay, they would likely say that they don’t see why not and that they prevent abortion. Why? Because most Catholics are not taught the unpolitically correct parts of the faith, either in homilies or catechism classes and schools and the secular world often teach things that are contrary to the faith. It might be the case that modern priests offering TLM might regularly preach on contraception, demons, hell, and the necessity to evangelize because if one doesn’t the souls of those outside the Church are at risk. But if it is the case, it is only because priest offering TLM tend to more more conservative. But it was not always the case. You only have to look at the Dutch Catechism and the Winnepeg Statement to see that at minimum, discussion on contraception was being downplayed while TLM was still around.

    This is not a Rite versus Rite issue. It’s not even a Catholic issue (although it’s the predominant voice). There are more than a few Protestants and Mormons and Orthodox Jews who will right this mandate to the death, so must put aside all pettiness to defend ourselves against this common satanic force.

  8. HyacinthClare says:

    What do Moslems think of contraception? This will not bother Moslem organizations, will it? They only serve their own people? Not that there are very many Moslem hospitals, foster care facilities, food banks, adoption agencies, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, homeless shelters. Oh yeah… that guy on YouTube who said he loved Jesus but hated religion because all we did was build churches and didn’t help anybody.

  9. Supertradmum says:


    Moslems will get a pass as they can claim in some states already that they are under shariah law. This is war on the Catholic Church, specifically.

  10. Simon_GNR says:

    “Bravo!” to Archbishop Dolan. Oh that any English bishops would be so forthright in opposing immoral government policies and actions! They mostly seem to be concerned with being perceived as politically correct by the bien pensant secularist/atheist liberal metropolitan elite!!

  11. Fiat Mihi says:

    At least in my little corner of Omaha, Father English at Mary Our Queen has preached on, and has put in the prayers of the faithful a plea for the end of the TWIN EVILS (Those are his words. I remember because I wanted to jump up and shout for joy when I heard him use those words.) of abortion AND contraception. Yes, he linked the two, and even used the word “evil.”

  12. Supertradmum says:


    Bishop Kieran Conry came out twice against gay civil unions. He has made a strong statement for the Friday fast, as well. There are some other good ones as.

  13. Fr. Thomas says:

    If we must be in open defiance of the regulation, then that is what we must do. We cannot knowingly support an intrinsically evil act.

  14. tcreek says:

    Too late, bishops. What did you expect?
    Forty years of non-shepherding has led to 90% of “Catholic” parents preemptively denying life to 50% or more of their children. Western Christianity/Civilization is on the edge of a demographic nightmare.

  15. APX says:

    Moslems will get a pass as they can claim in some states already that they are under shariah law. This is war on the Catholic Church, specifically.

    Can’t we claim we’re under Canon Law? I do recall reading something about this is some gigantic book on justice systems when I was writing a gigantic paper on something similar.

    Like I said, I’m not American, but I do have a SIL with duel citizenship living in the US. She’s not Catholic. I might be able to persuade her.

  16. kelleyb says:

    I hope the Bishops are serious about “going to the mattress”. Our Bishops must resist this evil. American Catholics must resist this evil as well.

  17. ckdexterhaven says:

    Over at a certain progressive Catholic outlet, they’re complaining about being used. Poor,poor Sister Keehan and Father Jenkins took shots for Obama and now they’re being punched in the nose. I hope Sister Keehan enjoys her poison pen.

    I would like to give a shout-out to a newly ordained priest (this June) in the Raleigh area who gave a great homily this weekend on how contraception distorts our relationship with God. I know it took a lot of guts for him to give that homily, and if I’m not mistaken, every homily he’s given since his ordination, he emphasizes the Sacrament of Confession. Thx, Father B. That kind of courage is what it’s going to take to turn this around.

  18. Supertradmum says:


    We do not need Canon Law in our real civil law, as our real civil law is based on the Decalogue and Christian teaching. However, all this has been watered down by secularism. Sharia law does pretend just to be religious law, but it is civil law as well, which is why it is incompatible with the type of law we have in the Western world. Santorum commented on this here.”Sharia law is incompatible with American jurisprudence and our Constitution.” He added correctly, and in sharp contrast to the prevailing view, that “Sharia law is not just a religious code. It is also a governmental code. It happens to be both religious in nature and origin, but it is a civil code. And it is incompatible with the civil code of the United States.” He said that last year. He is the only candidate who has said clearly that sharia and American law are at odds. As to Obama, he is above the law in his own mind and can decide what he wants from his own viewpoint only. We are up against a cunning person (oops sounds like Black Adder) who has only one thing in mind-his own power structure. And, remember, he is steeped in Black Liberation Theology, which states that, yes, look it up, the Blacks are the chosen people of God and not the Jews, therefore making any type of African law superior to the Decalogue. So, this is one reason why we are the enemy of the State. The Judeo-Christian tradition in law is not Obama’s tradition. He is the supreme relativist.

  19. Playing ball with the government = definite loss.

  20. NoTambourines says:

    APX and Supertradmum–

    The Catholic Vote link Fr. Z included in the last posting [] notes that, per ThinkProgress, “Religiously-affiliated employers who do not qualify for the exemption and are not currently offering contraceptive coverage may apply for transitional relief for a one-year period…”

    That’s another twist. You have to get an exemption. Who gets and who does not get an exemption will be interesting to follow, as will be who decides on the exemption, what appeal/grievance process exists for denials, and how transparent the government is about the process.

    Catholic organizations will automatically be disproportionately affected due to their sheer number, but people will (and should) be watching for any hint of discriminatory patterns, if this directive holds up long enough for it to come to that.

    I hope, however, that this can be stopped in the courts, and that SCOTUS’ recent ruling on religious freedom would bode well for this case.

  21. Former Altar Boy says:

    The bishops have lost so much moral authority after the majority hid and/or failed to respond to the homosexual assaults on minors, even if they do come out against this (which most won’t), Obama has no fear of losing the so-called “catholic” vote.
    Mark my words, if he wins another term, the attack on all Christian religions will get much worse.

  22. James Joseph says:

    Dear Lord,

    I know pigs don’t fly but I do know that pianos are heavy and sometimes they fall from rooftops.


  23. Sword40 says:

    So what does it take for our Bishops to finally realize that the President advocates killing babies and population/people control?
    I may not be the brightest light bulb in the pack but even I can figure out this one. Its tough to have respect for a group that has no back bone.

  24. mamajen says:

    As a “Novus Ordoite” who will never contracept, and who grew up in a very reverent NO parish, I think your suggestion, Maltese, is a bit misguided. I’m not a fan of name-calling, either. Very traditional Catholics are the ones who seek out the Latin mass, and the priests who offer that mass are themselves more traditional and more likely to communicate the correct values to their flocks. But there are some very good NO priests who aren’t afraid to ruffle feathers in order to teach morality. The problem in my area is that the bishops give them a hard time for being too strict and too vocal. I don’t believe that forcing a different mass in a different language is the solution at all. Instead, bishops and priests need to stop tiptoeing around the issues.

  25. Supertradmum says:


    I know the quotation but it may not make a difference in the interpretation of this law today, as the issue is Obamacare as coming into law, and the stuff about exemptions is eyewash. And, this is not about the ministerial exception clause upheld by SCOTUS, which is another issue. Until Obamacare is thrown out by SCOTUS, laws like the ones today will continue to interfere with personal consciences. Such things are already happening at the state levels, as in Illinois, where Catholics in good conscience cannot be pharmacists, and where the state universities make general med students do abortions in class. Some of us prophesied this development as long as four years ago, when this POTUS was elected. If you have hope for change and exemptions, you are naive. This is out and out war on the Catholic Church, period.

  26. EucharistLove says:

    Easy does it, Maltese. I attend the OF and my wife and I have been continent for over 5 years. Don’t paint with a broad brush.

  27. This is not an EF/OF either/or issue. This is a both/and issue. While I promote more celebrations of Holy Mass with the Extraordinary Form, this present situation requires all hands on deck, period.

    Do not make this an EF OR, under this entry, or I promise you won’t be posting comments here.

  28. EucharistLove says:

    We need to raise our voices, (and, as Fr. said, pray, fast and give alms) but let us not forget that our Lord advised that the gate is indeed narrow.

  29. frjim4321 says:

    Rank and file Roman Catholics in the U.S. have just been put through months of education and preparation for the imposition a new text for the mass and we have yet to see any empirical data regarding their reaction. Surely we all have our own individual takes on this on the basis of the small sample groups of our own parishes or groups of friends. Lacking data, I can only fantasize that the ‘best average’ commendation of the VC2010 by the PIPs is that, “since the words are different, it will cause us to pay attention to them in a way that we did not before since we had gotten used to the old word,” followed by “we got used to the old one, we can get used to the new one.” It’s not unlikely that at least a significant percentage of the R&F Catholics have mildly to strongly negative reactions to the next text. Thus for many – not necessary a majority, but many – rank and file Catholics, the hierarchy is suffering from gravely diminshished political capital. So it’s really hard to imagine the archbishop’s words putting more than a pinky finger in the dike as the floodwaters of resentment, suspicion, anger, disregard, and disappointment on the part of the R&F Catholics toward hierarchs surge not only due to the VC2010 issue but other sad issues that need not be repeated here.

    I’ve been careful to say “rank and file Catholics” here because many will argue whether the demographic to which I am referring are “Faithful” Catholics or not; but that aside, their numbers are to say the least significant.

    Much has been said about the “Faithful Citizenship” document and it’s “new and improved” introduction, but seriously, has anyone ever attempted an empirical study of how many Catholics who vote even know what this document is, let alone who have read it? Is it at all likely that any more will have heard the word of the archbishop regarding the issue at hand?

    And regarding the issue at hand, how is this not a straw horse? For decades the dioceses of this county have provided health care programs for their employees through Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Medical Mutual, Kaizer, and other providers who do not selectively refuse certain services to their Catholic group members. They’ve never micromanaged the plans or denied certain services before. All of a sudden we have a President of a different political party than most of our monied and generous contributors and this becomes a cause celebre. Something in the state of Denmark has a rank odor.

    PS, anilwang is correct, morality and immorality are equal opportunity lifestyles for both those of the trad and prog persausion; niether proclivity has the corner on goodness and truth.

  30. HyacinthClare says:

    frjim4321 is back. I’m not smart enough to take him on, but I wish some of you all would.

  31. Maltese says:

    I pray daily to the Lord for deep humility, so I am sorry for any scandal that I may have caused here

  32. frjim4321 says:

    Dear HyacinthClare, I have a couple degrees but believe me I don’t think letters after my name make me any smarter than anyone else. If my spelling is good, I credit Google Chrome. (When my spelling is bad I blame Explorer.) There are far more articulate posters here than I. I really am not comfortable with anyone here not thinking they are “smart” enough to speak his or her piece.

    I am aware that my views may at times be contrarian however they are posted here in good faith and I hope usually politely. If one is to play handball it helps to have a wall to smash the balls into, and in that vein I think my views often articulate commonly held views that are circulating around the Catholic community and thus serve the purpose of providing a backdrop against which other views can mindfully be contrasted.

  33. moon1234 says:

    I hate to say it, but I think this effort will be lost. Why? Catholic institutions (like hospitals, etc.) are very rarely is ever run by Church officials. They are almost all run by Lay people and many of them are NOT Catholic.

    This is partly a result of subsidiarty and the trouble it breeds. There is NO leadership, no one steering the rudder, just a group vote and possibly some advice from Church officials.

    When the USCCB tells people to vote their conscience and does not provide them a clear list of things that should help in informing that conscience, then we get humanistic anothropocentric garbage.

    Until Bishops truely put their lives on the line for Christ, just like he did for us on the Cross, then the USA is lost. Why would Obama, or any other administration, do any different? He has already proven he can go into Catholic intitutions and they will willingly cover Christian symbols and provide him with honors. In his mind he has won.

    Santorum voted several times for Omnibus spending bills with monies for Title X planned parenthood funding. Romney does the same with “health care” bills in his state. Most people won’t vote for Paul, though he is the only one who has never voted for monies for PP.

    I think the next 10 to 20 years will see all Catholic moors violated in the USA at the point of a gun. Catholics today, with a few exceptions, are too worried about offending someone else to take a stand or they just don’t know any better.

  34. HHAmbrose says:

    I applaud Cardinal-Designate Dolan for his stance and the USCCB’s willingness to stand against Obama’s onslaught. We are witnessing the dawning of a rights war. These conflicts are characterized by two or more parties bringing to the table their own values, their own points of references, and therefore their own set of rights. Since modernity has divorced rights from any external standard, a “right” is little more than a “desire.” Its a clash of varient systems of belief that share little to no common ground and victors are chosen not by truth – but by attrition and public opinion.

    The (American) Church is using religious liberty, conscience, and values to shield herself from the Obama Administration forcing her to act against her will. However, on the other hand, the Church is asking the the government to deny the values, consciences, and even religious liberties of homosexual groups that want marital equality. When expressed in this manner, it appears – as it appears to many Catholics and non-Catholics – that the Church is contradicting herself and is hypocritical for using her own shield of “religious rights” to bash down and deny the “religious rights,” conscience, and values of others.

    However, for this hypocrisy to be true, the Church’s political philosophy would really have to pivot on religious liberty; but, the Church’s view of human law is founded upon Natural Law, the external standard that grants all natural rights a reference. Our observance of Natural Law imports a harmony to the Church’s political stance – both contraception and homosexual marriage are unnatural. My problem with the USCCB’s call for action is that they have devolved into the “rights war” scheme, and present themselves as hypocritical and logically flawed. For example, consider this: the new 30-page “Faithful Citizenship” document that is supposed to guide Catholics into well-formed political citizens does not mention Natural Law once – not once does it mention the entire standard of Catholic political thought. It does not even mention the virtue of Justice, the virtue of the state, as a natural standard. It touts relative “rights war” jargon that any other party can claim: values, conscience, and (religious) liberty.

    I agree we need to prepare for the worst, but we must also educate. We need to talk – and talk fast – of Catholic political thought and Natural Law.


  35. Michaelus says:

    Frjim4321 seems to be saying that the Bishops are somehow embroiled in controversy over the corrections in the English mass. This is of course not true. The Bishops problem is they have one vote each. They have no armies, control to flow of revenue to Government etc. They have no secular power. Laymen and women living in the world have the power to change the Government. If St. John Chrysostom returned and took over the Oprah show it would not solve this problem. He would use eventually be shut down and we would all bite our fingernails and wonder what to do.

    I sometimes feel like we are a disorganized army in the process of being overrun while we all wait for some Bishop to do something. The fighting is in our midst. If Katherine Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi are excommunicated tomorrow it will make no difference in this fight.

    So do not write your congressman, do not call the USCCB, do not mutter and fret. The next time your Congresspersonage has a “town meeting” do not ask why Catholics have to pay for birth control – go ask “hey – why do I have to pay for powerful steroids that are used to turn women into sexual playthings?”. Ask Sebelius why after 40+ years of birth control most of the people in homeless shelters are mothers with children who have been abandoned by men. Heck ask any of them why the number of rapes went up exponentially after birth control became legal etc. etc. If you need some pointers refer to Humanae Vitae. Its all in there.

  36. prisoner says:

    Here we go.
    Viva Cristo Rey!

  37. Elizabeth D says:

    Sometimes I think frjim4321 is Fr Z’s sock puppet to stimulate dialogue by inserting an affable, mulishly contrary modernist perspective. He is an absolutely devoted reader, for someone who pretty much never, ever agrees with anything he reads here. I have long suspected if he is not Fr Z he is someone who knows Fr Z.

  38. Elizabeth D says:

    Also in favor of that interpretation of frjim4321, his posts and the interactions with him often become way, way funnier if you look at it that way.

  39. nykash says:

    Prepare for the battle, indeed. I’ve been reading Dietrich von Hildebrand’s biography the past few weeks and can’t help but see the ‘idolatry of the secular’ in today’s society, particularly among the liberal establishment. The Church seemingly stands alone opposing the litany of evil (gay ‘marriage,’ abortion, contraception, et al) being supported by the Obama administration. We – as Christians – have a moral duty to oppose it in the same way von Hildebrand and others spoke out against fascists in the 1930’s.

    Pray for our Bishops.

  40. Johnno says:

    I will pray for what takes place in the U.S.A. and what will inevitably follow for the world as a result of what takes place in the U.S.A.

    But we should not only pray that the bishops stand up to Obama, but that the real poison that still courses through the veins of many of our Church leaders is the thought that we are going to accomplish this through reason and human means and dialogue…

    We WILL NOT! We are dealing with people who’s rationale is clouded in darkness. Talking is only a delay tactic. They do not intend to reason or listen to reason. They do not intend to play fair. They are going to set up rules to force you to play their game and they are going to break all their own rules to score against you. They openly contradict themselves as if it is nothing. They will kill children and claim they have always been for life. They cripple your religious rights and say that in doing so they are best serving your religious liberty! How do you reason and dialogue with that????

    Purely human efforts will accomplish nothing. Asking God to aid our mere human efforts alone will also not accomplish much. The world is not going to see anything through a display of rational human action. It is far beyond it. What they need is a display of power, through a display of something inconceivable and beyond their limits of meager understanding that they still possess. What they need is supernatural evidence that God exists, and that Catholicism is the true religion, and they are doomed to hell if they ignore it. They need to fear and tremble at the thought of eternal damnation! It’s for their own good!

    Pray for the Bishops and Pope. Pray that they stand up to evil in our times without ambiguity. Pray that all our human efforts will be aided by God. And also… pray that we ourselves and the bishops and Pope will once again believe in a God who CAN PERFORM SUPERNATURAL MIRACLES! Like He did during the Creation! Like He did in Egypt! Like He did in the Desert Wanderings! Like He did when He was incarnated on Earth and lived amongst us! Like He did at Fatima through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven!

    It seems like we have forgotten that God can do all of this and do so publicly! Well He can and He definitely would! We just need to believe and have faith in Him and ask Him and follow His requests! If we don’t we suffer the consequences and choose the hard path!

  41. pm125 says:

    ‘ “The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs,” added Cardinal-designate Dolan.

    At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans. ‘

    On track.
    And during this week of prayer for Christian Unity (18 – 25). Let’s remember them during the General Intercessions (and privately) for their perseverence and strength.

  42. Jim Ryon says:


  43. bookworm says:

    “Such things are already happening at the state levels, as in Illinois, where Catholics in good conscience cannot be pharmacists, and where the state universities make general med students do abortions in class.”

    I know about the pharmacist rule but I didn’t know about general med students (not just ob/gyn students) HAVING to actually perform abortions. Do you have a source for that information? Also, is this unique to Illinois or is it done elsewhere? If the former (only Illinois does this) that may just be the last straw that makes me seriously consider moving. I’ve lived here all my life but at the rate things are going, being a faithful pro-life Catholic in Illinois is, or soon will be, equivalent to being an abolitionist in the antebellum South.

  44. Supertradmum says:


    Two of my friend’s adult children had to change or drop out of programs because of this requirement. One was not allowed just to skip the class. She was in the ob-gyn program. I only know about Illinois, but I would not be surprised if these types of classes were not required elsewhere. You can look up courses online, but these are not going to be called “abortion” classes, but women’s reproductive heath procedures or something equally deceitful. Example of ethos is here.

    Also, here is one section of the course descriptions from Chicago: “The obstetrics junior in the labor and delivery rotation limits his or her activities to those patients in the labor unit. At the conclusion of this rotation, the resident will have become familiar with the conduct of normal labor and delivery, be able to perform low forceps delivery and episiotomy with confidence, and be able to identify complications of labor, delivery, and puerperium, and summon expert help as needed. He or she will have assisted in cesarean sections, performed tubal ligations, and assisted the senior resident or faculty in the care of breech delivery, vacuum extraction, and other high-risk or otherwise complicated obstetrics. The resident acquires responsibility gradually, but at the conclusion of the rotation most residents will have performed several cesarean sections.”

    Read and be disgusted. But, this is Obama territory, of course. and the rot has set in.

  45. Kerry says:

    While many and each of us here seems to have an idea what the Bishops must do, or how this will all play out, and if this happens then that must, and so forth. But as none of us are Bishops, (no Bishops commenting here, yes?), the question it seems all must ask and answer for themselves, what will I do? As in, this day whom will you serve?

    Also, one wonders what the enforcement mechanisms will be? Any attorneys commenting here…? What happens if the hospitals and employers endlessly reply to The Mighty Kenyan and the Sidekick Katha-leeeen, “Non servium!”?

  46. chcrix says:

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for the US bishops in this.

    They have been lobbying for so-called “national” health care for years or even decades. They cheered Obamacare on, and got double crossed.

    Now they are getting the dirty end of the stick again.

    As I said in the post on Coulter, they (most of them) are really political liberals who happen to oppose abortion.

    Now (once again) they have been shown exactly how much their opinion counts.

    One can not be a servitor of the modern state that acknowledges no limits to its power and retain any principles.

    Your excellencies, Benito Mussolini said it best “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

    Maybe it is time to read some history.

  47. Boanerges says:

    What’s that court language? “deeply-held religious beliefs”? The fruit of unfaithful bishops and priests, rejecting Humanae Vitae and the courts witnessed it. I pray the damage isn’t permanent.

  48. poohbear says:

    I work for a Catholic hospital, and currently our health care benefits do not cover contraception, abortion, IVF, etc, and it is clearly stated in hospital policy that health care coverage follows Catholic teaching. Those services are not provided to patients either, even at the women’s clinic, which provides prenatal care to low income women.
    This hospital is part of a large Catholic health care group with hospitals all over the US (NOT the one Sr Keehan represents), and hospitals in the group all follow the same policies, so I have to assume all hospitals in the network are following Catholic teaching as regards health care coverage.
    I will be following this closely, and hopefully the hospital association will join the Bishops in this fight.

  49. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Michaelus,

    but the Catholic bishops *have* the power! The foundations of the State are shaken (I mean that without the least gran of irony) when a Catholic with justification, preferredly also with jurisdiction, says about a law: “Non obligat in conscientia.”

    It’s a helpful and good thing to change a government if it needs change. It’s a necessary thing to know what to do about a government that isn’t changed even though it would need change.

  50. tcreek says:

    Obama’s response to the bishops:
    “Bishops, why now, all of a sudden pick on me. For years, 90% of your sheep have followed the contraceptive route with hardly a word of condemnation from you or your priests. Many of your sheep are now my sheep.

  51. frjim4321 says:

    ED, I take that as a high compliment, but no, I am incardinated elsewhere.

    poohbear, I did not know that and I appreciate the info. I am pretty sure that the Rx plan through the diocese covers family planning medication but I will have to find a dimplomatic way of looking into that.

  52. Bryan Boyle says:

    Is anyone REALLY surprised? That fine stench you smell emmanating from 1600 PA Ave. is nothing compared to what’s in store. Remember…the entire breadth of this horror has not yet been fully implemented. These are just the foundations being laid and built. You think changing the party in DC next year will head off this disaster? It’s had two years to embed itself like the virus it is, in the bureaucracy. The goings-on over budget, homosexual marriage, and so forth is a side show to deflect attention away from just what is swinging away in the on-deck circle.

    The bishops? Yeah, riiiiight….To The One, they served their purpose. As some have said, they squandered their authority long ago. They are irrelevant to this stop is eminent domain over the hospitals that hold out…after they force the states to cut off funding and decertify their licenses to operate. So…they bleated a little. Was not, I’m sure, even mentioned in the daily briefing book.

  53. robtbrown says:

    I have to wonder whether FrJim4321 is projecting–he is probably more shaken by the liturgical changes than 90% of the people in his parish.

  54. Alan Aversa says:

    The U.S. bishops’ bus is late again… Oremus for their increased, punctual vigilance.

  55. frjim4321 says:

    robtbrown – as I indicated all such impressions are by definition subjective. We don’t, in fact, have any empirical data on this and therefore it’s anyone’s guess which is why I used the word “fantasy.” Maybe CARA or some other entity will study this a couple years out and we’ll see if the rate of loss increases/decreases with respect to church participation. – jb

  56. Warren says:

    Well now… are you American Catholics or Catholic Americans? If the former, you’re likely to vote for Obama again. In which case, you deserve exactly what you vote for. If the latter, keep the Faith! Fight the good fight and never back down!

    Remember, you can’t serve two masters.

  57. Kerry says:

    Cf. John Locke and the 2nd Treatise on Government. Should the government have unlimited power to override the individual conscience of the citizens?

  58. Bob says:

    It is time for Civil Disobedience on a grand scale. The Church must absolutely and without reservation tell the demonic Obama administration there is no way the Church will comply, period, end of discussion.

  59. Geoffrey says:

    Has anyone seen this? His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahoney has said this:

    Deo gratias. Deo gratias.

  60. Margaret says:

    Surely there are grounds here to excommunicate Ms. Sebelius? I know that won’t fix the regulation issue, but it would be a little line in the stand, just for starters…

  61. MisterH says:

    Belmont Abbey College has taken the lead in the legal fight against this mandate:

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

  62. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Margaret,

    it would be interesting indeed what a real tribunal, summoned to a real trial, would make out of can. 1375, 1399.
    That being said, the Secretary has violated neither can 1364 heresy, nor in a legal sense can 1398 abortion, nor any other latae sententiae norms to my knowledge. Penal law is to be interpreted strictly.

  63. PostCatholic says:

    While I understand the disappointment and even righteous anger at this outcome, I really wonder at the spiritual health of some of the commentators here. Consider whether you harbor desires for revenge or have hatred of your political opposition.

  64. JP Borberg says:

    I just saw a poster from the hacker group Anonymous calling for a boycott of all copyrighted material during March to protest SOPA and PIPA.
    Why don’t the bishops organise something similar for this healthcare thing. If the government doesn’t want employers being faithful Catholics, the bishops should organise faithful Catholics to stop being employers for a few days.

    If at least half the Catholics who are going to be affected by this join in, I imagine the economic impact will be noticed by the powers that be.

    Hell, announce now they’ll do it a month before the elections. People will take notice then.

  65. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:
    robtbrown – as I indicated all such impressions are by definition subjective. We don’t, in fact, have any empirical data on this and therefore it’s anyone’s guess which is why I used the word “fantasy.” Maybe CARA or some other entity will study this a couple years out and we’ll see if the rate of loss increases/decreases with respect to church participation. – jb

    Two points:

    1. You make the same mistake with liturgy/participation that you made here some months ago. In so far as liturgy is the source of Catholic life, true participation includes not only what goes on at mass but also what happens afterward. If your parish has 100% of the people making responses but half of them are contracepting, voting for pro abortion candidates, considering homosexuality OK, and not frequenting Confession, then any “empirical data” is little else than a joke.

    2. For 40 years the Church has employed a liberal MO, and the consequence has been that people left as if bouncers have been stationed outside every parish with baseball bats to keep people from entering. Considering those facts, for you to wonder whether some minor conservative move would have a negative effect is a bit silly..

  66. pjthom81 says:

    PostCatholic…it is not an outcome yet. It is our duty to ensure it does not become an outcome.

    Some questions:

    (1) The Obama position is identical to that shot down at the Supreme Court. Is this regulation part of the healthcare over-hall? If…later this year Obamacare is declared unconstitutional will this regulation lose any binding force?

    (2) What are the chances of getting an emergency injunction against this law until such time as the Supreme Court reviews it? Particularly since the most recent precedent is favorable?

    (3) The morning after pill seems to be the weak point of the law as there is less popular support for it than contraception. If Sibilius has compelled all Catholic organizations to fund abortion would that be a penal offense under canon law?

    (4) Wither the Hispanic vote? How about the Union vote in the midwest? The Democratic party cannot survive without it. Is it time to explore (as was done in Australia) the creation of a separate left-leaning party for those who want government intervention on behalf of the disadvantaged but who don’t want radicalism forced upon them? A Christian Democratic party? Such a party could, in time and with proper funding and time, replace the current Democratic party as the main left-wing organization. Basically, such a party would bring back the party of Truman and FDR, and dispose of this McGovernite imitator. Cardinal Mahoney may be influential in this endeavor.

    (5) Failing that….how about a primary challenge to Obama? Of course we would need to find a pro-life Democrat who means it.

    (6) Anyone up for a massive protest at this issue….say, at the Democratic convention when all the cameras are on?

    (7) Anyone have other ideas on raising awareness on this issue so that after November no one ever thinks of ever doing anything like this ever again?

  67. Supertradmum says:


    The Latinos voted overwhelmingly for Obama and will again. The unions in the Midwest voted overwhelmingly for Obama and will again. In recent studies, Hispanic women using contraceptives polled at between 71 -89%. In 2005, Latinas were 15% of the population but accounted for 20% of the countries abortions. The massive support Obama received from Latinos and Latinas in 2008 will be tested in Florida. I do not know why you think this bloc votes Republican, and I do not know why you think Midwest unions are conservative. I appreciate that you are far away, but there is a ton of info on the Net. Ohio and Pennsylvania, which I call the East or the Old West, are more conservative than Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota. Illinois is in the pocket of the Dems. Wisconsin unions are Dem.

  68. Supertradmum says:


    PS, (I got happily interrupted by three phone calls) FDR is one of the worst presidents, if not the worst, we have ever had. He completed the destruction of the Federal Reserve Banks started under Woodrow Wilson, he created the social welfare system which is socialism against the teaching of the Catholic Church with his insidious New Deal, and he played footsie with the Soviets when the American Army wanted to finish the job in the Soviet Union in 1945 when Russia was weak and he said “No”. I blame him for backhandedly making our country more Marxist, more socialist and less democratic. And, there is more…he was a Freemason of the 33rd Degree, not urban legend but seen in many sources and proved. Remember, the Masons are the Arch-enemies of the Catholic Church. Do not extol him if you are a Catholic. He is more myth than man.

  69. PostCatholic says:

    I stand by what I said: disagreement is one thing, hatred and the desire for retribution are another thing. If one, in any way, is blurring the distinction, one’s spiritual health needs a check-up.

  70. pjthom81 says:

    I haven’t seen anything evident on the blog except for a healthy desire not to be a victim of tyranny.

    To set the record straight….since the comments I had made before were directed toward deliberately splitting the Democratic vote, it is unclear as to where the inference was taken that Hispanics vote Republican. Likewise, there is nothing in my comments that would suggest, even for a moment, that I believed unions to be conservative (during the long time I lived in unionized New Jersey I was hard pressed to find any union member extolling the glory days of William McKinley or Robert Taft.) Likewise, my comments towards Truman and FDR have been limited to the observation that they, unlike later Democratic politicians, did not make their world revolve around abortion, gay marriage, or contraception. As such there seem to have been no grounds to suspect that merely voting for these politicians was in and of itself, a sin.

    What I AM suggesting is that large numbers of people identify both as pro-life and as Democrats. I think it is foolish to suppose that each member of the Democratic party is a would be Voltaire. So, why do those who are not radicals simply draw a line in the sand and refuse to cooperate? I’m a conservative myself and so ill equipped to lead a walk out, but aren’t there some pro-life Democrats out there actually willing to fight for religious liberty and basic human decency? If so….shut this down from within or walk out. Create another vehicle to permit yourself to vote your economic convictions without a violation of conscience.

  71. Alan Aversa says:

    You should’ve heard my priest’s “crusader homily” today regarding Sibelius’s January 20th pronouncement to force Catholic hospitals to violate their consciences by providing “access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception” (such as “the Pill,” the combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptive, a, as of 17 June 2011, WHO-classified Group 1 carcinogen like nicotine, asbestos, and benzene), abortifacients, and sterilizations beginning August 1, 2013, at the latest. Archbishop Dolan said of it: “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

    He first read Pope Benedict XVI’s speech to the Bishops of the United States of America on their ad Limina visit (January 19, 2012). He next defined “conscience” from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

    1778 Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the divine law.

    He then mentioned

    1789 Some rules [that] apply in every case [of choosing in accordance with one’s conscience]:

    – One may never do evil so that good may result from it;

    – the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”56

    – charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.”57 Therefore “it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”58

    Lastly, he cited the consequences that arise from erroneous judgments in moral conduct and that result in the tyrannical abuse of power by those who govern us:

    1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

    ¡Viva Cristo Rey! St. Michael, defend us in battle!

  72. frjim4321 says:

    robtbrown replies:

    1. You make the same mistake with liturgy/participation that you made here some months ago. In so far as liturgy is the source of Catholic life, true participation includes not only what goes on at mass but also what happens afterward. If your parish has 100% of the people making responses but half of them are contracepting, voting for pro abortion candidates, considering homosexuality OK, and not frequenting Confession, then any “empirical data” is little else than a joke.

    2. For 40 years the Church has employed a liberal MO, and the consequence has been that people left as if bouncers have been stationed outside every parish with baseball bats to keep people from entering. Considering those facts, for you to wonder whether some minor conservative move would have a negative effect is a bit silly.

    1. Not really, the empirical data relates to the effectiveness of episcopal leadership with respect to guiding those entrusted to their care which is pertinent to the subject of this post, and

    2. The 40-year exodus was recorded at relatively stable rates of loss through the first 20 t0 30 year period and has accelerated dramatically beginning around the time of the evisceration of the genuine ICEL and other elements of the millennial pogrom.

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