Obama Administrations attack on Catholics in healthcare

In these digital pages we have seen on other occasions His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Vasa, now Bishop of Santa Rosa.  He spoke recently at a meeting of the Catholic Medical Association in my native place, St. Paul. He raised an alarm.

From the National Catholic Register:

Catholic Doctors Tackle How to Survive in an ‘Increasingly Toxic Culture’

At the annual Catholic Medical Association conference, Bishop Robert Vasa says the current health-care crisis is ‘a clarion call’ for Catholic doctors in the U.S.


Papal biographer George Weigel spoke on the crisis of modernity, author Brian Gail spoke on the life sciences’ challenges, First Things editor Russell Reno spoke about bringing faith into the public square, and Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer, president of the Napa Institute, presented ways to use the new media for evangelization.

“The Catholic Church stands in the way of the sexual revolution — efforts to redefine marriage, access to abortion and reproductive technology and mercy killings,” said Reno. “Our increasingly aggressive adversaries will continue to use their political muscle to push us out of the way.”

These are critical times,” said Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, Calif. “Whether or not a physician is practicing in line with the teachings of the Church, they’re going to be forced to do something they may not want to do.

This is a clarion call for America,” added Bishop Vasa. “American Catholics, and in particular American Catholic physicians, have to wake up to the fact that they can no longer presume that their individual choices about how they practice medicine in this country will be respected.”  [Pres. Obama is waging war on the 1st Amendment.]

“We are in a very dangerous crisis,” agreed John Brehany, executive director of the CMA. “We see a deeply hostile government entering into the health-care sphere. We see an increasingly toxic culture. We know we’re heading into a time of great challenges. The Western world is facing economic challenges built up by social programs combined with the aging baby-boom generation. That is daunting.”

Physicians, nurses and medical students at the conference expressed similar concerns and anxiety about their ability to carry out their work.

Dr. James Brooke from Dickinson, N.D., spoke about a doctor’s ability to provide authentic health care for women.

“I’m not interested in providing birth-control pills for everyone,” said Brooke. “It’s not quality care to provide birth-control pills for women. That’s a lie.”

“Yet if you stand up and talk about these things, you’re painted as a bigot.”

Dr. Jeff Blickenstaff, a rural family physician from Perham, Minn., admitted that he is very concerned about the HHS contraception mandate and how it will impact his practice. Blickenstaff said he hasn’t prescribed contraception since his conversion to Catholicism in 1999.

“Catholic doctors, nurses and hospital administrators are being attacked because others cannot hear the tiny cries of the defenseless,” said Teresa Collett, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. “The youngest of all is not a creature of value or concern, except for its utility for scientific experiments.”

Collett provided an overview of the conscience-protection rule put into place by the federal government in 2008, which was later rescinded by the Obama administration.

“The 2008 regulation offered a remarkably broad understanding of protection for all health-care personnel and volunteers,” described Collett. “One of the first acts of the new administration was to withdraw those protections. The new rule gutted the 2008 rule.


Read the rest, and there is quite a bit, over there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


    “emergency room use has gone up, not down — undermining the law’s effort to get that problem under control by expanding coverage.”

    “Detractors in the Bay State also say the law has done little to dent the surging demand seen by the state’s largest safety-net hospitals.”

    “It’s getting harder for Massachusetts residents to see a doctor, too.”

    “Health care costs per capita were 27 percent higher in Massachusetts than in the rest of the country in 2004, two years before the state plan was signed, Holtz-Eakin says. By 2009, it was 30 percent higher than the national average.”

    So we are being asked to silence ourselves as Catholic and submit, and all for what? The folly is obvious. It doesn’t work.

  2. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Russell Reno’s words can, in a certain sense, be legitimately boiled down to ““The Catholic Church stands in the way of […] efforts to redefine” – all sorts of things: life, nature, rights, justice, reality. The lamentable Abortion Act (etc.) in Britain at least included some scope for conscience – but I heard a Labour Party member campaigning for Parliament in the 1980s with the assertion that the rights of conscience of medical personnel should be the right to carry out the wishes of someone seeking an abortion, and the law must be changed to reflect that. In Canada in the 1980s abortion activists carried signs reading ‘Abort God’ – He was in the way of the triumph of their will. Now, some 25 years later, the Prime Minister of Great Britain is asserting that that kind of ‘redefining’ is what it really means to be Conservative.

    Time to reread The Ballad of the White Horse…

  3. Johnno says:

    “The Western world is facing economic challenges built up by social programs combined with the aging baby-boom generation. ”

    The Western economies are also facing ‘challenges’, nay, total collapse, because incompetent and evil men have been sabotaging them by over printing monopoly money for the sake of ‘quantatively easing’ problems they created in teh first place through out and out dishonesty!

    The fool campaigning for abortion and redefining the human being are playing into the hands of those who would become our masters and seek to use it against them. To redefine a person to be meaningless and to subsequently lay the groundwork to kill them means a wide open door on philosophical grounds to begin population control on a grand scale in the service of mathematical statistics. People become cogs in the machine. Adults and children will work to serve the state. If a woman’s pregnancy gets in the way, kill the child. If the state determines more workers are needed by 20XX, then more women must get pregnant, whether they want to or not. Mariage isn’t necessary for sex anymore, so there’s no concern about who or how many men can take turns doing it to make that happen, and the age is also more open so long as it can be met to meet that 9 month deadline. Resist and you’ll have your ‘state given priviledges’ cut so be a good citizen.

    If there’s too many adult people, then either those adult workers meet their quota to produce the grain needed to feed the State, or there will be measures taken to reduce the living adults to meet sustainable levels. People are a number on a pie chart compared to otheer pie charts whose quotas must match. Your State priveledges will be met according to your aptitude. Your level of education determined by your genetics. You risk being born lame? You die. You risk being born with potential genetic deficiencies? You die. Don’t need that many girls? You die. Don’t need that many men? You die, though men are more useful laborers so their ratio will be naturally be higher than that of women. Your IQ is high? Math and Sciences for you. Nothing else. Your IQ is median? Laborer, education needs only to suit that position. You IQ is low? Menial jobs. No education. Prostitute, to meet people’s ‘health’ needs. Your IQ is too low? You die. Or genetic research. Are you genetically inclined towards violence? Police and state security force. Many priviledges that will be kept should you show your dedication to the job. So the more brutally inclined will move to the top, they will show they are willing to do what’s necessary to preserve their purpose for being born in this great state.

    That’s where we’re headed. A caste system determined by birth, not on heritage, but on your genetic potential.

    Am I paranoid? Ask those who lived under Lenin. That wasn’t too long ago. But the public school history books don’t cover it that much. After all Hitler was such a baaaad man! There’s a reason Our Lady of Fatima was so overtly concerned with Communism that she mentioned next to nothing about the Nazis. The Nazis were selective about who suffered and sought to elevate man in its own twisted way. Lenin hated all of mankind equally. There was no discrimination from him! He died with a twisted frozen smile on his horrifically charcoal blackened face looking like the devil incarnate.

  4. Bryan Boyle says:

    Actually, the Catholic Church, in union with the Holy Father, Vicar of Christ, etc. stands in opposition to the false premise of utilitarianism of the human being solely measured by their worth to the state, with unquenchable disordered desires to be manipulated by some amorphous ruling class (whether elected or hereditary) solely for the benefit of ‘society’. Society is NOT transcendent, society judges on usefulness, society supports only that which will dull the senses of its members to accept submission to individual animal desires.

    The Church stands in opposition to the debasement of mankind. We’re called to something higher than the shiny baubles of ‘choice’, false ‘freedom’, or ‘inclusiveness’. Nowhere was that more apparent than Jesus’ admonition to his disciples in the Gospel last Sunday: “For whoever is not against us is for us.” By the blatant actions of those in power…we know where they stand.

  5. downyduck says:

    Bryan Boyle, I didn’t want your comment to end… so well said and so true.

  6. JacobWall says:

    Fr. Z, your link to the National Catholic Register is broken and goes to a “Forbidden” page on your site. Fortunately, in the error message, the link is given, which needs to be copied and pasted.

  7. WBBritton says:

    I am a physician. I am not worried about the Obama administration’s nonsense. If God be for us, who can be against us.

  8. jflare says:

    God may be for us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t suffer horribly.
    I fear for this country if the President succeeds in being re-elected.

  9. Jeanette says:

    Bishop Vasa says: “These are critical times. Whether or not a physician is practicing in line with the teachings of the Church, they’re going to be forced to do something they may not want to do.”

    Seriously? How exactly is that going to happen? Is an administrative “assistant” going to be assigned to every physician to take his hand physically and make his hand prescribe abortifacients? or to every surgeon to take his hand physically and make his hand perform sterilizations? Somehow, I think not…and if not, then no one is being forced to do what he does not want when prescribing abortifacients or performing sterilizations. These physicians and surgeons may be coerced, but if they choose to act to provide abortifacients to women with the purpose of birth control or sterilizations, then they are complying and contracting whatever moral consequence therein. It’s only force if one cannot exercise his own will, it’s coercion when another makes your life unpleasant to the point that you choose to make your will conform to his. Big difference.

    I hope physicians and surgeons won’t try to take the cop out that they’re being forced by the Obama Administration to do anything, since they will be able to choose whether or not to comply.

  10. wmeyer says:

    God may be for us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t suffer horribly.
    I fear for this country if the President succeeds in being re-elected.

    We were promised that the Church will prevail, even against the gates of Hell. There was no promise given regarding a country, nor what may be suffered by God’s people when a government runs amok.

  11. jflare says:

    I really AM shocked and horrified that you’d say this.
    I get the impression that you truly don’t understand how the distinction you draw between “coercion” and “force” will make no real difference in real life. As you say, we most likely will not have a functionary holding a physician’s hand and physically requiring him to sign a prescription; they won’t be that frank and honest. No, there’ll be laws that’ll require that he would do so or else go out of business as a physician.

    Don’t forget, we already have numerous laws that place particular requirements on what businesses of various sorts MUST do if they wish government to leave them be. Businesses already must discern some means of complying with those requirements, lest they be either physically shut down, or fined into bankruptcy.

    In this sense, “coercion”, as you refer to it, IS “force”.

    ..And if we allow the Obama Administration to continue in this direction..wow! Shame on us!

  12. Johnno says:


    Force and coercion are the same thing in this regard. If you mean physically being forced, then technically no. However, loss of a job and being barred from working in your field is a big thing. In fact it’s more damning because the coercion seeks to make one sin of their own accord by cooperating with evil through force of threat of financial instability which we fear can lead to death. One would rather be physically forced. But ideally both are intent to make the victim feel hopeless and in the end whether you are physically forced to hand over contraceptives or physically forced from your office from not handing out contraceptives, inevitably, physical force will be utilized against you.

    The other problem is that when moral men are forced to leave the professional field because of this, who knows what evil atrocities those who control it will utilize.

  13. Jeanette says:

    Are you gentlemen, jflare and Johnno, attempting to convince me that there would be no moral (i.e., eternal) consequence for a physician who prescribes abortifacients (for birth control purposes) or a surgeon who performs sterilizations (for birth control purposes) merely because he is coerced? That’s really nonsense if that is what you’re getting at. If coercion excused a person from sin, then the supernatural virtue of fortitude is unnecessary. Anyone could make up any excuse, when the situation gets overly uncomfortable, to sin.

    The discussion of the effect on commerce is something different altogether, and from what I’ve read, irrelevant to the moral issue at hand. So subsidiarity is being trampled on by the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Well, perhaps if these physicians, surgeons and hospital administrators/boards of directors did not get into bed with the Federal Government for money, but instead ran a true business, these HHS mandates would not be an issue; as Fr. Z often repeats, “if one lies down with dogs, one rises up with fleas.”

  14. Johnno says:


    In light of circumstances, the moral responsibility may be negated when one is forced against one’s will. In order to perfectly sin, one’s will must be for it without external coercion. Of course there are different degrees of coercion one must be able to tolerate and not give in to. But while the action always remains an unjust action, the moral culpabality of the individual may vary. Of course the individual still bears responsibility, but if done under force, the individual we’d expect must naturally be penitent for his action and therefore forgiven mroe easily and bears less responsibility than if it were one who freely colluded with sin, or bent to it at only a slight provocation that yhe could have remained strong against. So it all depends on circumstances and the level of force.

    To perfectly sin requires:
    1) The action be sinful
    2) The person be aware that the action is sinful
    3) The person gives in to sin of his own free will

    A woman who gets an aboriton of her own accord sins.

    A woman dragged against her will and abused and beaten and had an abortion performed on her to make the pain and danger stop, is not responsible for the abortion forced upon her.

    Likewise too, similar situations may be forced upon doctors and physicans. Today it might be diciplinary actions, pay cuts, fines and loss of job; tomorrow it might be their lives, or the life of a another one held hostage if they refuse to perform their ‘duty.’ Indeed such examples have occurred in the past. In which case ‘handing out a contraceptive’ may be an act to negate a greater evil, just like war is an evil action, but under circumstances recourse to it may be the only just solution.

    This is the same argument democrats and pro-abortion/contraceptive groups are using as a means of a way to combat what they consider a greater evil :’poverty.’ Except they are wrong. Poverty has plenty of moral alternative solutions to combat it, but they are unwilling to go that route. Furthermore poverty is not a greater evil than contracepting and aborting. Poverty is not a sinful action at all! It’s an unfortunate state of being. What they are actually doing is no different than ethnic cleansing, except it is based on some vague values of poverty and quality of life, and is more clinical and subversive than the use of bullets and blades.

  15. Jeanette says:

    All it takes for commission of a mortal sin is:
    1) commission of an object of grave matter
    2) with full knowledge (I know the object is gravely wrong; I know I am committing that gravely wrong object)
    3) and consent of the will

    The woman who is beaten and abused in your example, if she fits those three above, she’s guilty of mortal sin. However, being coerced by grave fear to consent to the murder of her child, she may not be subject to strict canonical penalty (can.s 1398, 1323 n.4, 1324 n.5). The Catechism of the Catholic Church (nn. 1753, 1754) shows that intention and circumstance never make an intrinsically evil object either good or neutral, but rather that intention cannot excuse the commission of intrinsically evil acts and that circumstance can only diminish or increase either moral goodness/evilness or the diminish or increase agent’s responsibility. Diminish or increase is not the same as making an intrisically evil act good (i.e., it doesn’t remove responsibility). If an individual commits a mortal sin, though coerced by grave fear, he’s still guilty of the mortal sin, but not necessarily of any additional canonical penalty due to the circumstances which diminish responsibility.

    Were this not true, then the sacrifice of life chosen by the martyrs is a vanity, since they could have, without sin, burned incense on the altar of the Emperor or worshiped and made sacrifice to the pagan gods. However, that’s not the story which the death of the martyrs tells.

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    A lot of Catholics don’t seem to be taking this seriously in a concrete fashion. I’m seeing a mixture of shrugs on the one hand, and quote hurling on the other, with a certain number who just seem uninformed about this whole health care entirely. Maybe they think they can’t do anything about it or think such things can’t happen here. I don’t know.

    And a lot of people simply think this is just one more American election, albeit a nasty one. Interesting….and odd.

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