Quote of the day

“The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’ There is no other way to put it.”

– Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik, on the HHS ruling.

Read it all here.


  1. naturgesetz says:

    Bishop Zubik tells it like it is.

    Long live Bishop Zubik, may his brother bishops imitate his leadership of the flock, and may the people of God put his recommendations into practice.

    And may the voters throw these creeping totalitarians out of office!

  2. friscoeddie says:

    Bishops for Newt.. ? Will the bishop ‘deliver’ the 90% of the married Catholics who use birth control? Will the Catholics vote for pro- marriage Newt?
    DNC in Chicago is laughing….

  3. Ability to terminate people due to disability: Positive for the Church.
    Everyone being able to get affordable, consistent insurance: Greatest attack against the Church.
    Duly noted.

  4. It’s about religious freedom of conscience. Much bigger issue than birth control pills.

  5. In other words, abstractions are more important than people. If our bishops were prudent, they would be sensible to more than their parochial concerns.

  6. I am surprised that anyone else is surprised…

  7. naturgesetz says:

    “Everyone being able to get affordable, consistent insurance: Greatest attack against the Church.”
    Ludicrous distortion of the issue. Untruthful.

  8. Deacon Steve says:

    It isn’t one or the other. Being force to provide access to birth control pills which are abortofactants, other forms of abortion, etc not only violate the ability of the Church to stay true to its teachings, but it also provides material assistance to gravely sinful acts. The Church is being forced to aid people in committing grave sins by being forced to provide access to these services. So much for religious freedom in this country.

  9. naturgesetz says:

    “Abstractions” like free exercise of religion, freedom of the church, and freedom of conscience protect people from petty totalitarians.

  10. This requires believing in dubious arguments of fungibility creating moral intent. Alas, that isn’t going to be settled in a combox. For reasons unknown, the bishops are asserting this today rather than all the other opportunities for which they were offered over the past dozen plus years.

  11. Well, two things.

    The president didn’t say that to me.

    And on complicated matters of public policy, there’s a lot more to the matter than a bishop’s four-word phrase designed to get cheers rather than a thoughtful response. It’s not an easy time to be Catholic, but let’s be clear: once the pom-poms are put away, Bishop Zubik has offered us nothing. We need a single-payer system divorced from one’s employment. And if the bishops were serious, they’d assemble a group of lay people to get it done. Otherwise, another yawn.

  12. Oregon Catholic says:

    The more I ponder it, the more I am forced to admit the smart craftiness of the Obama administration for the recent attacks on religious freedom.
    Re: the SCOTUS case regarding the Lutheran church’s dismissal of an employee was reprehensible on it’s surface. On moral grounds alone the church deserved to lose it for their mistreatment of the teacher. But not so on constitutional grounds. Perhaps Obama’s minions hoped the former point would blind the Court to the latter. It blinded me at first.
    Re: on contraception coverage I think HHS is counting on Catholics to be unconcerned based on the fact that contraceptives are widely used among members and so many Catholic healthcare organizations and employers are already providing contraceptive coverage.
    The whole strategy is to attack in the areas that will cause the least offense in order to slip the nose of legal precedent under the tent flap. I hope this latest effort backfires but I am very sad to say that other churches and even our GOP candidates don’t seem to be wise to what is happening.

    …Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak out because I was Protestant.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  13. Actually, I think that Lutheran case was forwarded by the Bush 43 administration. Tough when our expectations don’t match up with facts. CCC 2478, even with non-Catholics.

  14. I said from the very beginning: the purpose of “Obamacare” from the very beginning is to destroy the legal structures which allow health insurance to exist. This is simply one angle, designed to get Catholic Church employers to drop health insurance plan. There are several others, most notably the ban on “pre-existing condition exclusions” which means that nobody has to pay for insurance in order to be “covered”, and since no one pays anything there is no premium money to provide any coverage to anybody. The other important angle is the sham “fines” for eliminating insurance which are a small fraction of the cost of providing it.

    Once most insurance is destroyed, and people face the prospect of financial ruin if they get seriously ill or injured, they will do anything, give up most any liberty, to get health care. So then the government will provide single-payer tax-funded health care, and they can stop the trillions of dollars that goes into new healthcare innovation — discovering drugs, inventing devices, engineering procedures — by refusing to pay for it. Once they have no competition from private insurance companies who will provide any coverage that their customers are willing to pay for, those trillions of dollars can be funneled into government coffers to pay for what the politicians want to pay for.

    There’s that disease that you are going to get in 20 years which is incurable and will cause you a terrible, lingering death. There’s those drug company researchers who are going to spend a billion dollars of the drug company’s money to find a cure for that disease. There are all of the insurance companies who are going to use the premium-payers’ premium money to buy the drug to cure you and millions of other of their insured people who are going to get the disease. If the government can stop the research NOW, they can get the billions of dollars of premium payments, shut down the drug companies and fire the researchers. And all you millions of people who die the terrible lingering death — c’mon, it’s an incurable disease NOW, and you can’t PROVE that if we’d let the drug companies spend that money instead of building bridges to nowhere it would have done you any good.

  15. Oregon Catholic says:

    Actually, the bishop offered a form letter that can easily be sent by any Catholic to their elected congressmen. That’s more than anyone else so far and at least it’s a start.

    Deacon, perhaps you could facilitate a letter writing campaign on your blog. And perhaps another letter we could each send to our chancery and to the USCCB asking them to fight this in court.

  16. Actually, Cathy, I’m also a critic of health insurance reform as it was legislated. But mainly because it doesn’t go far enough: assuring coverage for every citizen who wants it, and developing a system divorced from employment.

    MZ is right: the bishops had many opportunities to throw their weight behind a single-payer system rather than throw up “conscience” obstacles to what is essentially a Republican plan Mrs Clinton worked against almost twenty years ago.

  17. Well, the bishop didn’t include any of my representatives. Why is health insurance tied to employment? Why aren’t the bishops going back to a Fr McGivney plan for us Catholics, employed and not? I’m tired of the b****ing. If the bishops can’t come up with a reasonable insurance plan as an alternative, they should hand it off to the laity who can and get the **** out of the way.

  18. Oregon Catholic says:

    You may be right. But I would argue that we could stop a tremendous amount of research, especially in pharmaceuticals, and focus instead on providing good basic care to all people and end up with a healthier population for much less money. Drug companies have created very few new worthwhile drugs in the last 10 years. They are mostly concerned with tweaking molecules and formulas of popular drugs so they can obtain new patents. Not to mention the money they spend on advertising these “new” drugs instead of research.

    Let me give you an example from personal experience. My mother was taking Fosamax, an expensive drug, and not too long ago the patent ran out so she was able to switch to a MUCH cheaper generic version. Not long after that her doctor switched her to a “new” brand name Fosamax with Vit D (with a whole new patent now). Suddenly my mom was paying an extra $200.00 for her fosamax and asked me to look into it. After talking to the pharmacist I asked her doctor to write her an RX for generic fosamax and I bought some Vit D3 at the store for $5 that substituted for about $600.00 out of pocket expense she would have paid if she’d stayed on the brand name combo. After I called it to her doctor’s attention she swore she would never write another RX for the drug combo again. That kind of nonsense is common and in a nutshell is why healthcare is going broke. You can see how much the pols are in the pharmaceutical lobby’s pocket by their refusal to force Medicare to adopt a formulary that would drastically limit that kind of nonsense.

  19. I’m not surprised. On the whole, my family has had good experiences with generic medication. It was often a hassle when my wife, who has a few interacting meds, had some insurance company “suggestions” surface when we moved and, naturally, adopted a difference insurance plan. Occasionally, there is a more expensive medication that is needed. But on the whole, I have a great deal of skepticism about the system as it’s rendered today.

    If I were inclined to conspiracy theories, I’d say the point was to intentionally blow up the whole system. But I can’t figure out how that keeps the gravy train on the tracks.

  20. The problem is that “assuring coverage for every citizen who wants it” means assuring coverage for every citizen who wants it whether they have paid for it or not. And since “coverage” is funded only by the premium payments of the people who pay premiums, if no one pays premiums until they are already sick there is no money beyond what the already-sick people could already pay for without the insurance company. In fact, there is significantly less money, because you have to pay for the people to process payments and claims.

    Insurance works by taking a small amount of money from a lot of people who are not yet sick, and then spending a lot of that money on the very few of them who become sick. The vast majority of people don’t get sick, so the value that they receive from the insurance is the knowledge that IF they became ill then the insurance would pay. But that only works if people who DON’T pay premiums don’t get their bills paid, and have to go bankrupt, accept charity, etc. If the difference between paying premiums and not paying premiums is potential financial ruin, then people will voluntarily pay the premiums. If there is no difference between paying premiums and not paying premiums, only the chumps will pay, and there is a vanishingly small number of people stupid enough to pay a lot of money for something that they can get for free.

    And since nothing is really free, the “coverage” that will be universally available for free will be nothing.

  21. I still think this is a political game by the Obama administration. I suspect they will work with the bishops at some point to give the liberal bishops a fig leaf like the lie they did on the exec order about abortion in Obamacare. But if not, it is a major miscalculation in my view that they can get away with throwing Catholics off the bus trusting that those who supported them the last time will not be offended. They are trusting that those who supported them last time have no real ties to the Catholic Church but are CINO. From some posts here, it would seem at least some are still on the Obama defense team already in full force blasting Catholic bishops. However, if one goes to the USCCB website on conscience http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm one can see that a growing number of names are being added and the USCCB seems to be gearing up for a battle on this move. Obama may end up actually uniting many Catholics in this battle which is a good thing.

    Even Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, far from a conservative, has put out a letter to all the priest in the diocese and to the Diocese paper on this this “severe assault on religious liberty, and how to Contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.” http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/a-letter-from-archbishop-dennis-m-schnurr-concerning-hhs-edict/5749#more-5749
    I understand they are encouraging the letter sent to the priest to be read at every Sunday mass and or to put in the Bulletin this week.

    So it would seem those Catholics here defending Obama are going to be in a very small minority. If the administration reverses, it will certainly make the base happy who were crowing that Obama was finally showing backbone to Catholic bishops. God works in mysterious ways.

  22. Good idea Oregon on Deacon Greg facilitating a letter writing campaign on his blog. I hope he keeps posting each of the diocese that come out strongly against this Obama administration move on religious liberty.

  23. Conversion frequently comes late in life. God welcomes it all the same.

  24. Cathy, your interpretation seems to make no sense. Of course someone has to pay. Everyone should pay, and we know nothing is free. But profit-taking may be one of the factors sinking health insurance in the US, and I know that no Republicans, few Democrats, and not enough bishops have weighed in on creating a fair and economical system for the good of all.

    Bishop Zubik has done nothing to help this situation. Maybe we need a writing campaign directed to him to get on board with real insurance reform so conscience matters aren’t hooked up with employers.

  25. Waiting for the USCCB to issue some document officially condemning the Administration’s action…

  26. Way to stir up hatred in the flock, Bishop Z. This is a policy dispute. Maybe it’s an important policy dispute, since free exercise of religious beliefs factors in. Fine. Make the case in court. But the president did not tell Catholics we’re bad, or that we should go to hell, or anything of the sort. Though that is indeed a convenient message for the bishop to send if he is working to drum up votes for the Republican this fall. The president hates all of you, essentially. Lovely. Inflame the flock until they despise the president just as much as you, Bishop Z. (But still, Deacon Greg, I’m glad you shared the bishop’s thoughts. It’s important for us to know how low some of the hierarchy will stoop.)

  27. Oregon Catholic says:

    Actually Cathy, everyone would pay their share under some kind of universal care program. It’s just that some premiums would be paid by the gov’t. That sounds unwelcome but it’s what is happening now anyway through Medicaid and Chips, etc.
    The problem lies in capitalistic greed and the mountain of unreimbursed care that gets spread to all of us who do pay. At least if everyone was forced to pay a premium, the bad debt problem would go away. It doesn’t even have to be run by the gov’t. The same thing can be done through insurance companies.

  28. friscoeddie says:

    I think some bishops think every dollar being paid by a so-called Catholic institution belongs the them personally. So their conscience is violated. Solution… give up control of the money to a treasurer.

  29. The problem in healthcare became a crisis with government involvment and more government involvment will continue to make it worse. It breeds total dependency on government and costs continue to escalate. Then their solution is the limit what can be provided and form death panels to say who gets treated and who does not. The rich by the way are able to pay for their healthcare privately in the country and if needed outside the country. Ron Paul in the debate this evening had this one right. If you look at cost of healthcare prior to government involvement in 1965, most people could afford healthcare. No one can today without massive subsidy of tax payer dollars and 47% of the people in the USA pay no income taxes. We of course could fund healthcare by imposing a minimum tax on everyone to pay at least $200 a year in income tax if you make over poverty income. since in many cases, these are the same folks who will be using a lot of the free healthcare, it seems fair if fairness is the goal of taxation in the government which is a new novelty.

  30. Steve, you missed the links showing far more than Bishop Z have a huge issue with this attack on religious liberty. The link above to the USCCB new Religious Liberty committee shows over 400 and growing have attacked this assult by Obama administration. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm

    Here is one Cardinal on that committee at homily in Washington for Pro Life Rally.

    “Never before in our U.S. history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase what violates our beliefs,” Cardinal DiNardo said, adding that the issue is “the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for conscience and religious liberty.”

    Cardinal DiNardo said Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue when meeting with U.S. bishops from the Mid-Atlantic.

    “Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience,” he quoted Pope Benedict as saying.

    “In light of last Friday’s announcement about health care mandates, it seems that the Holy Father has nailed the issue in advance,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “His calls for courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the church’s participation in public life and debate have targeted the issues we face in our pro-life efforts, to defend those who defend human life and to defend their religious liberty.”

    Also our Archbishop Schnuur has sent out a letter to all the priest in diocese which will be read at masses next sunday and put in bulletins on the issue and few would see him as someone who is staunch conservative.

  31. Not about money, about religious liberty. Of course those who support politicians like Obama care little about the bill of rights and things like religious liberty.

  32. People really don’t want Obamacare, it has become less popular since it was passed in the middle of the night using paralmentary tricks by Pelosi.

    Poll: Most Say High Court Should Reject Health Insurance Mandate

    “A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that more than half of Americans say the Supreme Court should rule that the health overhaul law’s requirement to have health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional.

    The poll by the nonpartisan foundation found that 54% of those surveyed said the Supreme Court should rule against the mandate while only 17% said the court should uphold it and 29% either didn’t know or didn’t answer.”

  33. Craig Callan says:

    As an American of Irish descent, all this feverish activity reminds me of the last time a government tried to educate us Catholics out of our “superstitious ignorance”.
    It lasted 300 years, and didn’t work very well.

    The population of just one village in Clare at the time of Catholic Emancipation after 300 years of continuous prosecution, counted 6 Church of Ireland members, 22 Presbyterians, and 1,835 Roman Catholics!

  34. Tricks? What about basic civics? A majority of the House voted for it. The president signed it. It’s a law. The Republicans, the USCCB, and others battled and fought. But they lost. Time to get over it. Or offer a better plan and try to pass it.

    And don’t forget that a lot of us who dislike 2009′s health insurance reform just don’t think it went far enough.

    Please, George, don’t cloud the issue. Health care is getting expensive, and beyond the means of many Americans. The whole insurance schtick seems deeply unfair: the rich pay for what they want and the poor lack coverage, various lobbies advocate for their profitability, not the common good of society, and too many Republicans just want to stick it to the president. If you have a plan that will expand services, insure the uninsured, and provide people with what they need, by all means, offer it. But if you have nothing better than undoing a rather balky first step, a lot of us don’t care to hear about it. You lost. Get over it. Find another issue.

  35. Oregon Catholic says:

    I thought Santorum did a wonderful job of talking about the foundation of this country on a belief in a Creator that endowed us with inalienable rights – rights that too many now think have been endowed by the state. The DOI is the “Why” of our existence, the Constitution is the “How”. If the state gives it, the state can take it away. Great stuff.

    Ron Paul really dropped the ball on his response I thought and I would have expected him to have given the answer Santorum gave.

  36. Bill Kurtz says:

    Another bishop joins the brigade of Limbaughs in chanceries, ready to do everything short of slapping a Romney or Gingrich bumper sticker on their cathedral pulpit.
    The real news is the over the top, apocalyptic rhetoric. These people have been hanging around with fundamentalists too long, and it’s starting to rub off.

  37. Interesting how health care costs so much less in European countries where government has much more control of it.

  38. Will, if you want to compare quality of healthcare between those socialist countries and the USA, have at it. One thing they do right in many other countries is focus on preventative care. In the USA, the entry of government into healtcare created a environment that paid for fixing after the fact than in preventative care. The result is that they locked very low payments to primary care physicians while creating new “usual and customary” rates for every new procedure or test often paying in the thousands of dollars. This lead to what a recent survey shows to be a shortage of primary care in the USA of about 60-70,000 primary care physicians. However, we have specialist in every area that is massively better than any of the socialist countries and we have more facilities which mean if you need something like an MRI, you can get one down the street the same day. In the socialist health systems, you can see your primary doc, but might have a long wait and long travel for critical tests. That is why many with money leave those socialist systems and fly to the USA when they are really sick. It is also why we are a first rate research and development country.

    US healthcare needs some fixing, but ObamaCare does none of that and as we have clearly seen, it dramatically increases the cost of healthcare and related healthcare insurance. ObamaCare needs to be repealed and a true look at what will improve healthcare and lower costs needs to happen. I am not a great fan of the Republican HSA accounts either when they are done in a vacuum of other changes. I do not believe we will get real solutions from government for I have seen nothing that gets through Washington that makes anything better.

  39. Oregon, you are simply wrong on “But I would argue that we could stop a tremendous amount of research, especially in pharmaceuticals, and focus instead on providing good basic care to all people and end up with a healthier population for much less money. Drug companies have created very few new worthwhile drugs in the last 10 years.”

    Effective drug treatment has had a postive impact on peoples lives and in many ways are far less expensive than if they did not exist. We are on the cusp of understanding much more about human genes and how different people react to different drugs. Note that when you now get a prescription, it has a massively long list of possible side effects which might occur. It is based on FDA and trials and is updated as we go along. What is going on now in research is going to allow the industry to have a much better shot at tailoring a drug for your own gene pool with fewer problems and much better results.

    One major problem in drug research is the ongoing and ever increasing government and legal restrictions that have in multiples increased the time and cost of a pill going from concept to delivery. At the same time, most in the industry will tell you that it has had little impact on safety and certainly nothing like what a targeted drug could do with genome matching.

    The other issue is that for every drug that hits, there are many more that fall away after millions of dollars and these have to be paid for by the ones that do prove successful. The government allowed the drug companies to educate the public on these pills because they believed if people were aware, especially some who seldom went to a doctor and often hid symptoms could understand that something was available, they could seek it out with their physicians. So this called advertising, while it could be reduced somewhat, has had a positive impact on matching a drug to a problem and getting them to their physician to check it out and see if there is other issues involved.
    Now one could argue that Viagra and others like it should not be put in this catagory, but if you have that problem, you might disagree. I think there should be some changes on what can be put on the air and how it is presented, but removing advertising will have a negative long term impact on millons of lives, often the poorest of our citizens.

    As to your situation with your mom, it has more to do with the time a primary care physician can spend with one person on their problems when staying in business demands that they see 30 or more patients in a day and also how much time they can spend on research into all the constantly changing things going on in not only drugs, but other areas of healthcare. If we now add preventative medicine and electronic health records and reporting all added to Obamacare without changes in reimbursement, expect the problem to get much worse. In 1964, before massive government involvement, a primary care doctor average 1.3 employees per doctor. today, to meet all the requirements placed on them and the massive issue with billing, the doc now has to support 4.2 employees. His income as a small independent businessman has actually in real dollars gone down. He makes about half of the average for specialist and works far longer hours. It is no wonder that with this choice, few medical students and residents are choosing primary care.

  40. you are correct Oregon. Santorum did a much better job on this issue and Paul was close to a zero. It surprised me he was that bad.

  41. Solution is not more government. And it is far from over. Few people knew what was in ObamaCare and have seen their personal costs increase very much this year, even some who work with unions in city jobs. The more we learn, the more we hate it. Prohibition was also passed with enough votes to make it through an amendment process and become constitutional and was repealed as well needing again a huge majority. Now it can be undone by the courts, which I hope happens to protect our freedom from federal government telling us what we need to purchase next, and also by congress and even the executive branch. Right now, you would find it hard to find Democrats to stand by it if it came to a vote to repeal. They saw that many who supported it the first time are no longer around.

    Repealing it has to be followed up with real solutions and those will never be solutions driven by the federal government except to have them largely get out of the way. But work needs to be done and can be if the people clearly send a message to fix it and not with bigger government solutions.

  42. Wow, how wrong can one be on this one. Anyone who really knows the Catholic Church and the USCCB in particular knows when you do something to unite the USCCB this strongly, you have stepped in something very important to faith, to the country and religious freedom, and to the people in the pews.

    I cheer on the Bishops and believe that Obama may have done something that both the liberal and conservative Catholics have not been able to do for generations and that is unite them in a cause against what they are now beginning to see as an evil administration.

    My wife Greta said it was all the rage of discussion at the march for life with the layity, priests, and bishops at many of the meetings.

  43. friscoe eddie and others basing bishops for stance, Anchoress has great post leading to this site and interesting comparisons.


    this site also has a long long list of bishops uniting to fight this evil move by the Obama team. So he has to back off to the bishops or face some serious problems with the Catholic vote. If he backs off now, after the abortion partners have cheered this move and how he is finally standing up for them, he will have some major base issues.

    This was a major blunder of monumental proportions. You can bet he is seeking to find a way to split the baby, but anything less than total reversal will be hard for the now very vocal bishops to accept.


  1. [...] Deacon Greg suggested this as a quote of the day: The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it. [...]

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