Bp. Lori responds for USCCB to America Magazine’s cave in on Pres. Obama’s HHS attack

Jesuit-controlled America Magazine recently caved in to the Obama Administration in the matter of Pres. Obama’s attack on the 1st Amendment and on the Catholic Church.  In their role as a pipe for the Magisterium of Nuns, the magazine undercut the American bishops and chose to advance the Promotion of the American Patriotic Catholic Association.

My emphases:

Bishop Lori Responds to ‘America’ Editorial

Friday, March 02, 2012 12:41:48 PM
Author: Tim Reidy

Bishop William E. Lori, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committeee on Religious Liberty, has sent a response to America‘s editorial “Policy, Not Liberty.” The letter will also appear in an upcoming edition of the print edition:

The March 5th America editorial takes the United States Bishops to task for entering too deeply into the finer points of health care policy as they ponder what the slightly revised Obama Administration mandate might mean for the Catholic Church in the United States. These details, we are told, do not impinge on religious liberty. We are also told that our recent forthright language borders on incivility.

What details are we talking about? For one thing, a government mandate to insure, one way or another, for an abortifacient drug called Ella. Here the “details” would seem to be fertilized ova, small defenseless human beings, who will likely suffer abortion within the purview of a church-run health insurance program.

What other details are at issue?  Some may think that the government’s forcing the Church to provide insurance coverage for direct surgical sterilizations such as tubal ligations is a matter of policy. Such force, though, feels an awful lot like an infringement on religious liberty.

Still another detail is ordinary contraception. Never mind that the dire societal ills which Pope Paul predicted would ensue with the widespread practice of artificial contraception have more than come true. The government makes the rules and the rules are the rules. So, the bishops should regard providing (and paying for) contraception as, well, a policy detail.  After all, it’s not like the federal government is asking bishops to deny the divinity of Christ. It’s just a detail in a moral theology—life and love, or something such as that. And why worry about other ways the government may soon require the Church to violate its teachings as a matter of policy?

More details come to mind. Many if not most church entities are self-insured. Thus, Catholic social service agencies, schools, and hospitals could end up paying for abortifacients, sterilizations, and contraception. If the editorial is to be believed, bishops should regard it not as a matter of religious liberty but merely policy that, as providers they teach one thing but as employers they are made to teach something else. In other words, we are forced to be a countersign to Church teaching and to give people plenty of reason not to follow it. The detail in question here is called “scandal”.

Then there is the detail of religious insurers and companies that are not owned by the Church but which exist solely to serve the Church’s mission. The new “accommodation” leaves them out in the cold. And if I really wanted to get into the weeds I’d mention the conscience rights of individual employers.

Have I forgotten any other details we bishops shouldn’t be attending to? Well, I guess we’re policy wonks for wondering if the government has a compelling interest in forcing the Church to insure for proscribed services when contraception is covered in 90% of healthcare plans, is free in Title X programs, and is available from Walmart (generic) for about $10 a month. Pardon me also for wondering whether the most basic of freedoms, religious liberty, isn’t being compromised, not by a right to health care, but by a claim to “services” which regard pregnancy and fertility as diseases.

And didn’t President Obama promise adequate conscience protection in the reform of healthcare? But maybe it’s inappropriate for pastors of souls to ask why the entirely adequate accommodation of religious rights in healthcare matters that has existed in federal law since 1973 is now being changed.

Oh, and as Detective Colombo used to say: “Just one more thing.” It’s the comment in the editorial about when we bishops are at our best. [NB!] Evidently, it’s when we speak generalities softly and go along to get along, even though for the first time in history the federal government is forcing church entities to provide for things that contradict church teaching. Maybe Moses wasn’t at his best when he confronted Pharaoh. Maybe the Good Shepherd was a bit off his game when he confronted the rulers of his day.

But those are just details.

Most Reverend William E. Lori

Bishop of Bridgeport

Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty

WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Lori.

WDTPRS raspberries to Amerika.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Kudos, indeed! What a breath of fresh air! America can use it.

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Father Z, I think you meant “American Patriotic catholic Association.” :)

  3. ScholaLady says:

    Is it time yet for a “Protest America Magazine” donation button?

  4. Fiat Mihi says:

    Wow! There are several comments on the America website that are actually supportive of Bishop Lori. Perhaps St. Ignatius himself has taken over the moderation of the comments section of that website. Of course, there are comments saying that the bishops are in the back pocket of the Republican Party, we need “inclusive” leadership, etc.

  5. Peggy R says:

    Pow! What a hit! He could be a (STL!) Cardinal with a swing like that! God bless Bp. Lori.

  6. Capt. Morgan says:

    Kudos to Bishop Lori.
    But I think it is time for the Bishops to drop the Religious freedom argument and just stand on the Gospel.
    Yes we are Catholic! Yes we refuse to be involved in murdering innocent life!
    Yes we answer to Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior and not to some pompous, modernist, elected official and his lap dogs!
    Don’t like that? take it to Our Boss! You can find Him in any Catholic Church. Just look for the candle up front.

  7. benedetta says:

    Hurrah for Bishop Lori. To America mag: human beings do matter. Because God doesn’t make junk.

  8. introibo says:

    My bishop! Not always as outspoken as he could be, but he is great here…

  9. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Yes, THIS. YES. God bless our Bishops.

  10. Jim Ryon says:

    He did a pretty fair job too when the Connecticut legislature was trying to determine who should administer the Church.

  11. introibo says:

    True, Jim. Not much, though, when the gay marriage stuff was going on.

  12. heway says:

    I wrote ‘America’ the other day to say that now I know why I discontinued my subscription about 15 years ago….sad…as I am a product of Jesuit education and it was never like this!

  13. pm125 says:

    Reading this letter is good for frequently spiking bp.
    It’s not funny that the only bastion of right and wrong and of everything else is tied to the pillar being assaulted by words of rage, mockery, and on from those whose demand the buildings as settings for their shows of marriages and funerals.
    I don’t know how to love my country very well any more while its laws and leaders are systematically wasting it.

  14. irishgirl says:

    That’s a KER-POW from Bishop Lori! Good for you, Your Excellency!
    @ Capt. Morgan: Kudos to you, too! I like what you said, especially your last line:
    ‘Don’t like that? Take it to Our Boss’

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