“Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed?”

That’s one of the compelling questions posed by Sister Mary Ann Walsh at the USCCB’s media blog:

On January 20, HHS announced its decision to keep in place the frightening mandate in the health care law, with barely the slightest nod to religious concerns. HHS holds to the absurd rule it announced last August, that church ministries get a religious exemption only if they employ and serve primarily co-religionists.

Must Catholic hospitals, to be true to their identity, now turn away people of other faiths from their emergency rooms and fire non-Catholic employees? Currently, Catholic hospitals serve one out of six people who seek hospital care in our country. Must Catholic Charities hire and serve only Catholics in its food pantries and other social service agencies? Until today, you didn’t need a baptismal certificate for soup.

This egregious violation of religious freedom marks the first time in our history that the federal government is forcing religious people and groups to ante up for services that violate their consciences. Some claim this is all about access to contraceptives—but everyone knows how and where to get them, and get them cheaply. And the mandate also forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-causing drugs. This is about forcing the church to pay for all these things through insurance coverage, to sponsor these “benefits” that it considers immoral. This is, in other words, about freedom of religion, which is a foundation stone of U.S. democracy.

The government allows other religions to live out their beliefs. The Amish and Christian Scientists have a conscientious objection to health insurance, and so the law exempts them from buying it. The government acknowledges the right of these religious groups to live out their religious convictions in U.S. society. Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed?

Read it all.


  1. Chris Sullivan says:

    The US Bishops position on this appears very overstated.

    I’m worried that the Bishops are painting themselves into a corner where they will likely loose the sympathy of both the public and of Catholics and will probably wind up having to climb down and admit that they can actually live with such insurance after all. Remember the Connecticut Bishops on PlanB ?

    At worst, providing such insurance would appear to be rather remote cooperation with evil which Catholic moral theology holds is justified for proportionate reasons, which adequate health care provision surely is.

    Some forms of emergency contraception may be abortifacient (medical experts argue) but if the intent is to contracept and not to abort then their use would be morally acceptable.

    The Catholic Church does not oppose all forms of contraception. They are licit outside the conjugal act ie genuine acts of love in marriage. For example: rape, coerced sex in marriage, sex outside marriage, condoms to limit HIV transmission.

    Conscience is an important thing but the conscience of the bishops (which is not shared by 95% of the faithful on contraception) needs to be balanced against the conscience of employees of religious organisations to chose the health care their conscience supports and the conscience of the state authorities to provide the health care required by the Common Good as they see it.

    The Bishops position rather seems like special pleading for the power to impose their own moral positions on their employees. In a democracy we sometimes just have to accept that the majority rules.

    The principle that religious organisations are entitled to conscience exceptions as an absolute right is very flawed. What if the 7th Day Adventists wanted an exemption to remove coverage for blood transfusions from every employee of any organisation their Church ran ? Surely the state would have the right and the duty to override such a conscience objection ?

    One’s right to impose one’s conscience ends at the point where it infringes on the conscience of others.

    God Bless

  2. Katie Angel says:

    THE HHS is jsut plain wrong with this ruling. I got several appeals from organizations asking me to write and tell the HHS that they should retain this rule and every time, I wrote in support of a religious exemption. I understand the arguement that women should have equal access to healthcare but I believe that if you agree to work for a religious organization one of the things you are agreeing to is to abide by their religious beliefs. So, if you go to work for a Catholic organization, you should agree to the stipulation that birth control (and other procedures that are not allowed by our faith) are not covered. If someone doesn’t want to agree to that, they can find another job.

  3. “The Catholic Church does not oppose all forms of contraception. They are licit outside the conjugal act ie genuine acts of love in marriage. For example: rape, coerced sex in marriage, sex outside marriage, condoms to limit HIV transmission.”

    Since when does the Church not oppose contraception for sex outside marriage and condoms to limit HIV?

  4. Oregon Catholic says:

    I would love to see the USCCB put together a list of all of the types of Catholic institutions and agencies that would have to cease to employ or serve anyone but Catholics under this law and the numbers involved. I think we would get more public support if people knew just how much is done under the Catholic name.

    For instance in our parish we have a large ministry that serves the poor without any respect to religious affiliation and it partners with the government. There is a paid employee in charge. If our parish had to eliminate the program so as not to provide the insurance it would impact thousands of poor each year and there may not be another agency willing to step in and take over.

  5. “The Bishops position rather seems like special pleading for the power to impose their own moral positions on their employees. In a democracy we sometimes just have to accept that the majority rules.”

    Exactly. If your conscience leads you to do something opposed by the Church then you don’t take a job working for the Church. The Church is not a democracy and the majority doesn’t rule it.

  6. A rule of thumb is to, occasionally, have to prohibit a religious group from doing what it believes in (sacrificing babies, running schools,) but to avoid forcing it to do what it’s beliefs prohibit (throwing incense on Moloch’s altar, or paying for contraceptives). Obama seem oblivious to the distinction.

  7. This administration wants to force religious bodies out of healthcare and any other social service work. What has and can be done by private charity needs to become a function of the state, in their view. Catholic healthcare, Catholic social services, Catholic education… all of it. Separation of Church and state? No. What we’re seeing is a replacement of Church BY state, by people who’s real religion is political ideology.

  8. Chris Sullivan says:

    That’s a useful rule of thumb, Ed, but papal teaching simply doesn’t prohibit paying for contraceptives. It prohibits USING contraceptives in, to quote the papal encyclicals, “conjugal acts” ie acts of genuine love in marriage.

    The Vatican approved nuns in the Congo using the pill in the 1960′s due to the danger of rape and the Bishops mandates to Catholic Hospitals require them to provide contraception after rape. All of those contraceptives are purchased by the Church.

    My own Catholic Bishops explicitly teach that Catholic teaching on contraception does NOT APPLY apply outside marriage. So, for example, the unmarried or prostitutes or AIDS infected using contaception is not against Catholic teaching (and may well be considered a prudent safeguard for an immoral act).

    God Bless

  9. And what Catholic bishops are those? Sexual activity outside of marriage is contrary to Catholic teaching. It’s called fornication.
    There’s a fine book out there called…oh, what’s the title… right. The Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s online. You could even look it up. Here’s a relevant section
    .351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.
    137 “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”138
    2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

    If your bishop doesn’t know that, better check his credentials. Or, give me his name, so I can get the nuncio on the horn.

  10. The solution to this, it seems to me, is to have these Church affiliated organizations give employees a flex account of some sort in an amount that would be reasonably sufficient to provide these sorts of reproductive services they don’t want to fund directly. How they would be used would then be up to the employees and their own religion and consciences.

  11. Sorry if I come across as lacking in charity, but seriously…. the idea that the Church teaches that contraception is hunky-dory outside of marriage is nonsense on stilts.

  12. I don’t think that caricature quite captures the reality as the pro-choice crowd would view it. CCC 2478 would indicate one strive to think one’s political opponents (however immoral one perceives them) to be operating in the best interests of those they (claim to) serve.

    What’s so bad about not taking government money and running things ourselves? What if the bishops banded together and offered a health insurance plan to all Catholics. Just have people not employed by the Church to tell their employers to turn over the insurance premiums and let’s let the 50 million or so set up a health insurance system.

    On the other hand, I’m sure that some bishop, somewhere, is paying someone for some service. And part of that money is going to fund contraceptives or even an abortion somewhere. What they don’t know …

  13. Oregon Catholic says:

    That still won’t keep a Catholic hospital from having to perform sterilizations.

  14. Sometimes, to remain faithful, one may have to withdraw. So, if this new ruling means that only Catholics who agree to live by Church teaching can be employed by Catholic institutions or treated in those institutions, so be it. Some folks I know believe that is already the case (though they are, of course, wrong). It will mean shrinkage, for sure, but that may not be the worst thing to happen. It is only for this time, this here and now. Being faithful is for eternity. I suspect that is what the Amish and Christian Scientists do, which keeps them exempt. It would also mean that those 1 out of 6 now being served by Catholic institutions will be thrown on the tender mercies of the government, which is a fearful thing. But that might force a reconsideration by the HHS as the state’s already overstrained system has to cope with additional usage.

  15. Chris Sullivan says:

    Chris B,

    I suggest you go read the papal encyclicals and try to find where in them the Popes teach what you suppose: that contraception is wrong outside marriage. It simply ain’t taught.

    The absolute stand being made on this issue by the US Bishops is simply beyond what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

    God Bless

  16. Deacon Steve says:

    I don’t think that limiting care for patients at a Catholic hospital to Catholic patients is a morally acceptable answer, especially in areas where the Catholic Hospital is the only one for a long distance as happens in non-urban areas. The fact that they would have to turn a patient away that was in serious need of medical aid that wasn’t an issue would be unacceptable. The reality is that the hospitals may have to choose to sever their ties with the Church to conform unless this ruling can be challenged and overturned. I hope that some Healthcare group will sue over this as it affects not just Catholic Hospitals but others as well, including my local hospital which is Presbyterian and also refuses to provide abortions.

  17. “the conscience of the state authorities to provide the health care required by the Common Good as they see it.” That’s actually quite funny for what will you do when the “conscience of the state” decides it can’t afford to offer health care to anyone over the age of, say 50, because there are too few younger people in the system to pay the taxes to support it? Suppose the “conscience of the state” decides that the kindest thing is to put people with certain illnesses down, like you would a dog? It’s happened before. It was called Nazi Germany.

  18. Chris Sullivan says:

    The HHS mandate in question here isn’t about forcing Catholic hospitals to provide any particular services, and certainly not abortion.

    It’s about a particular form of state subsidized insurance being required to cover contraception and sterilization.

    God Bless

  19. Oregon Catholic says:

    Unfortunately, Catholic hospitals have become too dependent on gov’t money and could not keep their doors open without it. We could not get a Catholic insurance option up and running in time to meet the deadline, nor could we force employers to offer one to any Catholic that wanted it. Perhaps we could transition to one, but even then we will have lost in our ability to reach out to all God’s children.

    In reality, unless the law is overturned, what we will see is hospitals going secular and giving up any pretense at Catholic values. Most will not take the financial hit it will require to remain Catholic.

  20. Oregon Catholic says:

    If Catholic Healthcare, Inc. sells insurance that covers sterilization, under most circumstances they will not be able to refuse to provide that service to their insureds, especially if they are selling any kind of HMO/PPO plan.

  21. The issue is not about how many Catholics use birth control or what Catholic moral teachings on this issue are. The issue is the state forcing religious organizations to violate their conscience and basically them tell how to run their religion.

    What if Muslims run groups were bring forced to serve pork or alcohol and told they would be fined they refused to do so?

    It’s also a pity that so many Catholics lack the commitment or the spine to say that we won’t comply with a forced law that directly targets all Catholic run institutions.

  22. Contraception that includes abortion drugs and that too cover it for free.

    Why are other treatments not given a free break?

  23. Oregon Catholic says:

    I’ve seen this discussion on other boards and it never gets resolved.
    1. The fact that the Church hasn’t specifically written on the topic of contraception outside of marriage isn’t to be interpreted as tacit permission.
    2. When one is already committing a sin by fornicating or comitting adultery does it much matter if you’re adding the sin of contraception on top of it?

  24. There are two parts to this issue – medical insurance and running medical facilities. With the HHS ruling, we are being told to do things which go against our beliefs.

    therefore, I say that it may be time for the Church to get out of the health care business.

    Then I think we will see a more accurate cost of healthcare, as subsidizing from our own funds will be eliminated.

    Just a thought.

  25. Contraceptives outside of marriage is more complex than can be handled here, I think, but our focus is narrower. Make it easier: suppose the rule being imposed called for reimbursing employees for prostitution fees. Would anyone in their right mind think the Church should go along with that? If not, why should the Church have to pay for contraceptives?

  26. Well put, Chris B.

  27. Oregon Catholic says:

    Because HHS has seen to it that contraceptive treatment got added to a list of recommended preventive services that typically become services required to be paid in full by insurance.


  28. That was my understanding, too, that the prohibition on contraception refers to marriage. Because the Church’s teaching is that contraception violates one of the ends of marriage; to be open to life. The sections of the Catechism quoted above refer to the immorality of sex outside of marriage. Which is sinful; no one here is claiming otherwise. What is in question is whether (nonabortifacient) contraception makes it any more sinful; since there is no marriage covenant.

  29. Oregon Catholic says:

    I believe the Pope said using a condom in the case of male homosexual prostitution could be considered but that is because there is no possibility of transmission of life in that situation anyway. I don’t think it applied to all prostitution.

  30. The short answer to the question is that Liberals (and let’s face it, that’s who’s pushing this agenda) don’t give a rat’s behind on what religion wants. In their heart of hearts religion is siperstition and their view of the world is absolute reality.

  31. Absoulutely. In New York City there are pratically no more Catholic hospitals. In the last few years they have all closed. The Church could stick to hospice care and nursing homes and get out of the general hospital business. Most of those hospitals were started by religious orders that long since have given them up.

  32. Chris Sullivan says:

    Ed Peters asks:

    why should the Church have to pay for contraceptives?

    A good question.

    Humanae Vitae teaches that parents have the right and obligation to plan their family sizes in accord with Natural Law. Therefore, the Obama Administration seems to be on solid Catholic grounds in mandating that state subsidized insurance schemes provide the means to do that.

    If the means insured was Natural Family Planning, no Catholic ought to have any problem with that.

    But, in a democratic state, the means the state approves of to plan family sizes will be the means approved by the majority of the people. Which currently happens to include contraception.

    The argument that the Church is against contraception doesn’t hold much water in the public domain where everyone knows that over 95% of Catholics contracept. If the bishops haven’t even been able to convince the faithful not to contracept, then why should the state allow the bishops to impose their minority Catholic views on employees who may well not even be Catholic ?

    And as the Church does not teach that contraception is always immoral (she only teaches it is immoral in loving acts within marriage), the Church doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on in imposing insurance coverage which excludes contraception.

    I really hate to say this but it’s actually the Obama administration that seems to have a better handle on Catholic teaching here than the Bishops.

    But history shows that sometimes the democratic state has been ahead of the Church and the Church eventually catches up.

    God Bless

  33. Could you cite the Catechism or Vatican Document that states that contraception is OK outside of marriage? I can’t find it.

  34. Oregon Catholic says:

    So much knowledge and so little understanding. Pity.

  35. Deacon Steve says:

    Chris how exactly are artificial means of contraception following natural law? It is one thing when a man or woman must have reproductive organs removed to treat a medical disorder, but it is very different when it is done solely to prevent the possibility of pregnancy which is part of the natural order of sexual intercourse. I don’t think that Obama Administration forcing religious organizations to provide access to something which violates their teachings is having a better handle on Church teaching. And your arguement that the Church doesn’t prohibit use of contraception is without merit since the Church doesn’t say that it is morally acceptable outside of marriage. Rather it simply adds to the sinful nature of sexual intercourse outside of marriage. It isn’t brought up as an issue much because it isn’t the major problem in that situation. Look at what Pope Benedict XVI said about the use of condoms in Africa to prevent the spread of HIV, it wasn’t tacit approval of their use, just that when used outside of marriage it was certainly the lesser evil and might be ok since it was to attempt to minimize the spread of HIV. It was not tacit approval to use condoms as the US media tried to claim.

  36. Chris,

    If the church was imposing this on a secular organization it would be a different issue.

    This attack on religious freedom is extreme even for the average liberal and it’s Un-American, and goes against the 1st Amendment.

    “the Church does not teach that contraception is always immoral (she only teaches it is immoral in loving acts within marriage),”

    I would like to see some evidence for this?

    As for approval by the majority, even the Chinese government permits the use of NFP for Catholics.

  37. Chris Sullivan says:

    The use of condoms to limit HIV infection is perfectly licit in Catholic teaching. My Bishops here in New Zealand explicitly teach that. There is not one word in any Papal encyclical or Council document against it. Not one.

    Anyone buying such condoms under an insurance policy is certainly not violating Catholic teaching. Neither are those using prescription contraceptives to treat hormonal imbalances, heavy periods etc.

    The idea that every contraceptive purchased violates Catholic teaching is simply wrong.

    IMHO, the US Bishops would do much better to spend their time, money, and energy trying to convince married Catholics to give up contraceptives and use NFP instead. And extend to their employees the same right of conscience to choose contraception which they insist for themselves.

    God Bless

  38. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Have you even read HV?

    Take a few minutes and look it over. Please. You’ve made some sweeping statements that are flat-out wrong. Much of what you state in your comment shows a serious misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching on contraception and artificial contraception — there is a difference — Natural Family Planning, and Natural Law.


    Dcn. G.

  39. Chris Sullivan says:

    Yes, I’ve read HV many times.

    Exactly what did I write which you think contradicts it ?

    God Bless

  40. What about abortion drugs that cause abortion and sterilization too?

  41. “First, the Magisterium, in speaking about the use of contraception, is obliged to keep in mind the whole moral law. And so the Church cannot ignore the fact that sexual acts outside of marriage are intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Since the faithful should not be committing any of these grave sexual sins, they should not have any occasion to consider whether or not they should use contraception outside of marriage. For the use of contraception outside of marriage necessarily implies the commission of another grave sexual sins, such as adultery or fornication. The Magisterium teaches the faithful, first and foremost, that the use of contraception is not moral within marriage because marital relations is the only type of sexual intercourse in which the faithful should ever engage

  42. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    You wrote:

    The Church does not teach that contraception is always immoral (she only teaches it is immoral in loving acts within marriage).

    Here’s the pertinent passage from HV:

    The Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile, thus controlling birth in a way which does not in the least offend the moral principles which We have just explained. (20)

    Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious.

    Further, you seem to be inferring that the Church has no problem with unmarried people using artificial contraception. You can’t be serious.

    You also stated:

    The argument that the Church is against contraception doesn’t hold much water in the public domain where everyone knows that over 95% of Catholics contracept. If the bishops haven’t even been able to convince the faithful not to contracept, then why should the state allow the bishops to impose their minority Catholic views on employees who may well not even be Catholic ?

    The Church condemns as sinful a lot of things that people do anyway. That doesn’t make the Church wrong because it seems a “minority view.”

    Finally, if a non-Catholic wants to work for a Catholic organization, adhering to Catholic moral principles, he or she will just have to buy their own Morning After pill and shouldn’t expect the Church to pick up the tab.

    Dcn. G.

  43. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    I’m almost 70 years old and do not ever remember an administration, Republican or Democratic, so regularly anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. It has gotten so bad that even Obama Admin appointees on the Supreme Court joined in the unanimous decision shooting down government interference ( interference that the Obama Admin supported) in who a religion should hire to teach its faith.
    There seems to be a concerted effort on the part of this Admin to gut the First Amendment. And, sadly, there will be no shortage of Catholic quislings ready to help out.

  44. deacon marv robertson says:

    The Obama administration has recently promised to delay enforcement of the provisions at issue (contaceptives, sterilization, abortion) until sometime in 2013. Am I cynically suspecting that political operatives in Chicago urged this delay until after the 2012 election?

  45. We are in the world but not of the world. That is why our beliefs are dismissed.

    As long as we know and follow Christ, it is His Truth that sets us free. The world hates this. So, beware the leaven of the world. Rather, we are to be Christ’s leaven for His change in the world.

    “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12.

  46. Chris Sullivan says:

    Dcn Greg,

    Your HV quote clearly specifies “married people”. That’s the whole context of the encyclical, which argues from the nature of marriage. Not the nature of fornication, or rape, or coerced sex, or prostitution, or homosexual acts etc.

    If the phrase “condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception” applied to EVERY sexual act, then that would contradict the mandates issued by the US Catholic Bishops to Catholic Hospitals, which explicitly allow the use of means which directly prevent conception after rape.

    The NZ Catholic Bishops teach this :

    Marital intercourse has an intrinsic orientation towards fatherhood and motherhood that is part of its meaning. That is the part of its meaning that contraceptive practice takes away. In this sense it is wrong. The couple’s sexual intimacy is “body language” for expressing the complete gift of each to the other. If they remove from intercourse its potential to procreate new life, what they then give to each other is something less than what intercourse is naturally intended to express. Their body language has been partly falsified. (It is a different matter when it is intercourse between people who do not owe each other the complete gift of themselves because they are not married. It is also a different matter when the purpose of using a protective device is to prevent the transmission of disease, not to prevent conception, which is then a side-effect.)

    My bishops clearly teach that the teaching against contraception only applies to marriage.

    I agree that the truth of the Church’s position does not depend on majority views. But in a secular democracy, governments are obliged to consider majority views, not the truth or otherwise of Catholic doctrine. Especially in cases like Humanae Viate which was so controversial among Catholics and was never accepted by most Catholics or even most priests.

    God Bless

  47. Chris Sullivan says:
  48. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    So, Chris, it’s okay for people who are unmarried to use artificial contraception? That’s good to know.

    Dcn. G.

  49. Chris Sullivan says:

    “So, Chris, the prohibition against artificial contraception doesn’t apply to people who are unmarried?”

    Yes, that is my understanding. They shouldn’t be having sex anyway. But if they do, contraception can at least limit to some extent the damage caused.

    Think about it.

    The reason why contraception is wrong is that it goes against the self gift to each other of the married partners. If they ain’t married, there isn’t much of a self gift to start with.

    God Bless

  50. I said more than that, CS: I said “suppose the rule being imposed called for reimbursing employees for prostitution fees. Would anyone in their right mind think the Church should go along with that? If not, why should the Church have to pay for contraceptives?”

    Can someone reply to that?

  51. I don’t see where that’s the issue in all this. It’s about the services which must be provided in health insurance, not who performs them.

  52. ron chandonia says:

    This thread was not exactly hijacked but certainly diverted by Chris Sullivan’s argument about the use of contraception in what he himself admits are sinful acts of sexual intercourse. His argument is this: They shouldn’t be having sex anyway. But if they do, contraception can at least limit to some extent the damage caused. I often hear similar arguments from Catholics, even those who would not defend either extramarital sex or contraception. The statement Chris cites from the bishops of New Zealand does not appear to me to speak directly to his argument. Surely moral theologians–if not bishops–have addressed this issue. Since it drew such interest here, it would be helpful to explore it further.

  53. Chris Sullivan,

    Catholic answers says something different altogether on this issue. Would not a person who engages in pre-marital sex be compounding one sin with another, by preventing conception?

    Also this would be seen as promoting illicit sex for Catholic organizations to start handing out contraceptives.

  54. Chris Sullivan says:

    If anyone is interested, there is more detail here from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops. This was published as a special editorial in the New Zealand Catholic newspaper. It is an excellent presentation of the Catholic teaching on contraception.


    God Bless

  55. I would think it might be closer to “contraception is irrelevant outside of marriage.” That all non-marital sex is sinful so whether you use contraception or not makes little difference.

    The Pope did seem to imply that, as sodomy is wrong anyway, using condoms during sodomy might show some minimal moral concern for others health. If that’s what he meant I have to admit I agree as I don’t see how a condom makes sodomy, even of the heterosexual kind, particularly different. Although it seems like that was widely misunderstood.

    So far as I know though contraception is only acceptable when it’s purpose is not contraceptive. Like my Mom knew an unmarried girl who was given special permission to use “The Pill” for her menstrual issues.

  56. Chris Sullivan says:


    Prostitution is not health care.

    Contraception is (at least in some cases).

    God Bless

  57. Probably they got it from the misrepresentation of the Pope’s book “Light of the World”

  58. Deacon Bresnahan: The Bush 43 administration was pretty anti-Catholic in its dismissal of John Paul’s plea to not attack Iraq back in 2003. In fact, that administration was pretty darn anti-life when it applied its policy of “shock and awe” (bombs, bombs, and more bombs) to the Iraqi people who were killed in their homes and in the streets.

    Having said that, I’ll add that I think the Obama administration is wrong to apply the religious exception so narrowly. This is, ultimately, a first amendment issue, even though I (as a Catholic) happen to disagree with the church when it comes to the ban on artificial contraception.

    Even so, that does not mean the administration is anti-Christian. It’s being pretty ham-handed in how it applies policy, yes. Ham-handed in how it addresses some long-needed reforms: that is, improved access to health care for the American people (not government healthcare, but private, responsible, individual-mandated health insurance coverage so that sick people can see a doctor without going broke — and can avoid becoming seriously in the first place, in many cases, due to better health care access). Contrary to what some have suggested here, the Obama administration has not hatched a terrible plot to bring down organized religion. It’s seeking to help about 50 million people who currently fall through the cracks. But yes, some of this gets messy, and the religious exemption issue should be pursued in the courts.

  59. Nice to see that some folks believe soon to be Cardinal Dolan is an absolute idiot on this matter. What you will see are those who dissent on other Catholic Magesterial teaching such as life and protection of marriage between one man and one woman will also sell their souls on this matter. No concern about the bill or rights and how it has been distorted to lead to this type of administration abuse. Lets find a way to bend the rules of the Church and the Constitution to conform to their god Obama frontal assult on religious belief. It is no surprise to those who heard his disdain for those who cling to their religious belief or second amendment rights. When you have a person who fights for the legal right to kill a baby that survives the first murder attempt in the womb and now lives outside the womb, there is no moral center. So come on kool aid drinking apologist for this administration. It will come as no surprise.

  60. There is no lie that will not be used to protect this person in the presidency. None were spared in getting him elected.

  61. The pope does not have to write on what can or cannot be used because the practice is grave sin no matter what you use. You might protect something, but you lose your soul in the process.

    Though shall not kill does not go into what you use in the process. Your argument could be that because the Pope has not written on the use of scissors to the head of a baby to kill them that somehow it is ok to provide scissors for that purpose is idiotic at best.

    Are you actually a Catholic or simply someone working for the democratic party trying to give katholic obama lemmings some more excuses? This should be a wake up call to those Catholics who have lost their way. At least one democrat Catholic Obama voter has finally had enough and using the Emile Zola I accuse format. http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/jaccuse

  62. It will not end here with this administration. They are doing this in an election year. If reelected, and if ObamaCare stands, they have a full range of things they can force on providers including coverage for killing at end of life or refusing to pay for coverage when they do not think it makes sense. They want religious conscience out of the way now and are using contraception as their precedent. Liberals always build their evil a block at a time so the frog does not jump out of the pan. Don’t be fooled by those dancing around trying to defend this open attack on the constitution. they started a long time ago with the lie on separation leading up to this.

  63. When you yield to evil, they will come for you next time. This is aimed at shutting up people with religious beliefs. Once you have religious beliefs out of the way, you can continue your goal of building the socialist government that is the long term goal.

  64. Chris, you continue to say the same lies over and over about Church teaching. Are you on the payroll of the democratic party?

  65. It is not cynical, but logical. Note they have already dispatched operatives to Catholic blogs to defend this action with outright lies and distortions of Catholic teaching. They knew full well that they were doing this to appease the left and get them fired up to vote. This is but one of many things we will see in the next year and if we see Obama reelected, you will see a full frontal assult on religious beliefs and everything American has stood for since its founding.

  66. Showing again his lack of knowledge of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Church teaching comes from the Pope and Magesterium. If one chooses to listen to even a bishop in open dissent of Church teaching, it is still wrong.

  67. Steve,

    You call the most extreme pro-abortion President in American history not Anti-Christian?

    A lot of wars do not even compare to millions being killed every year through abortion.

    As for your other point, I agree that not all Jews observe Kosher, but this does not give the government the right to dictate if they should.

  68. “even though I (as a Catholic) happen to disagree with the church when it comes to the ban on artificial contraception.”

    So why should we listen to anything you have to say about thngs Catholic?

  69. Seems so and he’s not even from America!

  70. The question is there an official stance on church teaching on contraception outside of marriage?

  71. That’s not an answer, but….

  72. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    It is not just the Catholics I know who are getting disgusted with the callous attitude of this administration toward believing Catholics and The First Amendment. A columnist for the Wall Street Journal just listed a number of prominent Catholics who had been supportive of the Obama Admin. and are now getting pretty upset at the direction this Admin is taking in its seeming contempt for Catholics and other Christians and their consciences and convictions.

  73. Oregon Catholic says:

    There is a large Catholic healthcare system in my area. They have hospitals, clinics, and a popular insurance plan, part of which is an HMO that requires you to receive services at their facilities. If they have to provide sterilization insurance they will also have to provide the surgery under the HMO rules.

  74. Savvy, presidents and members of congress can take action that help make something (e.g., abortion) legal or illegal. (Actually, in the case of abortion, it’s the SCOTUS that does that; the president and the Senate obviously play a role in choosing/confirming the folks who end up on that court and other federal courts.) However, this president has not forced any person to have an abortion. He has not (to the best of my knowledge) encouraged any person to have an abortion. I don’t buy your premise that Obama is “pro-abortion.” I DO disagree with his championing of Roe v. Wade, but that doesn’t mean he hopes women will have abortions. That’s an ugly slander and a gross oversimplification of this issue.

    Presidents do, however, choose to take the country to war. Some presidents do choose to start elective wars — which is exactly what Bush 43 did. That was within his power. His actions contributed, in a very direct way, to the death toll among Iraqis as well as American servicepeople.

    And yes — before anyone says that the Iraq war is an entirely separate issue — wars of choice are most definitely a “life” issue. Tossing aside John Paul’s call not to attack Iraq is certainly relevant to a discussion of which presidents are “pro-Christian” and which are not. Christ lauded the peacemakers, not those who start wars that benefit their war profiteer buddies.

  75. Chris,

    It sounds like you, or someone you know, is looking for an excuse to engage in (or to cover previous) consensual sexual relations outside of marriage. This is not unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees trying to pick Jesus’ arguments apart. The answer is no. Don’t do it! Not everything that is done is detailed in every law or every church law for that matter. But, thank you for pointing this out (I’m sure we’ll all be doing more research on this). If there is a law for something, it’s because that situation has come up before. If there isn’t a specific law for this, there is sure to be one in the future just to address the issue of those who insist that the Church has nothing to say about contraception outside of marriage.

    It’s kind of like saying–anything goes outside of marriage. Just because it is not addressed specifically doesn’t mean it is OK. It’s like the child whose father or mother says, “don’t cross the street.” But, that child thinks to themself that the parent didn’t say, “don’t cross the street one block from here.” So, the child “reasons” that, while it is not OK to cross the street right where they are, it is OK to walk down the block and cross the street over there…and so, the child walks down the block and crosses the street over there. It’s disobedience and immature reasoning, no matter who is saying it–whether it be your mate or your bishop or yourself. Seriously, Catholics can do better than this.

  76. RomCath, you are free to write off the opinions of a large percentage of believing, in-the-pews Catholics if you wish. But that does not mean we will just disappear or shut our mouths.

  77. I am not a Bush fan. However, what Bush did or did not do, does not justify Obama’s actions.

    It’s naive to argue he’s not pro-abortion, when he said, “He would not want his daughter punished with a baby, if she made a mistake”

    Or when he wants to keep expanding tax-payer funding for abortion and even at a free price.

  78. Irish Spectre says:


    With all due respect, I think that you’re a little confused. On the one hand, you’re expressing your disagreement with ancient Church teaching on artificial contraception; this is unbelief. On the other, you’re identifying with “believing, in-the-pews Catholics.” Which is it, Steve?

  79. Deacon Steve says:

    Steve the major difference is that with the Just War teaching of the Church each individual is allowed to make up their own mind following the guidelines. The Pope or another Bishop’s opinion on the matter needs to be considered as part of the decision process, but it is not the only thing to consider. And JPII’s major objection to attacking Iraq was he felt that not enough had been done to avert the war. He did not argue that the reasons used to go to war were wrong, only that not enough had been done to find another means of resolution.

  80. There is one area though, which I maybe did mention I forget, where I think the article could be misleading.

    Amish services pretty much are dealing only with other Amish. I have read that on occasion Amish will take in non-Amish foster kids, but I don’t even think on that they have an organization for it. The Christian Scientists aren’t as separatist, but I think some of their services are CS-specific.

    So possibly he’s going with something like an American version of “laicite” where Catholics who stay in their own little communal area could be okay in the way of the Amish. Which seems either unrealistic or bizarre, but still I don’t think it precisely means he’s treating Amish or CS “different.”

  81. If the “in the pew” Catholics don’t believe an unambiguous teaching of the Catholic faith I don’t expect them to shut their mouths. Obviously they haven’t but it also doesn’t mean that they are to be taken seriously in discussions such as this. Just another example of pick and choose Catholicism.

  82. What you describe is forbidden by Obamacare. The whole uproar is because employers are barred from allowing employees to ‘opt out’ of coverage for abortion and contraception.

  83. Deacon Steve, as it turns out, we now know that the reasons that Bush 43 used to justify the war were manufactured — lies that were told by that administration about weapons of mass destruction (weapons the admin falsely said they KNEW Iraq had; Rumsfeld went as far as saying, in a Pentagon press conference in early 2003, that the U.S. military knew exactly where those weapons could be found in Iraq). U.N. weapons inspectors were on the ground in Iraq, you will recall, in the weeks before Bush attacked, and they were not able to find the supposed WMD — the WMD was not there. John Paul, for his part, was certainly correct: Bush did NOT do enough to avert war. In fact, a few nights before he attacked Iraq, Bush went on television to warn the weapons inspectors that they needed to stop their work and get out of Iraq — because America would begin bombing Iraq within days. He was true to his word in that regard. Yes, Bush was a PRO-war president; he willfully and stubbornly did things that directly led to the start of an unnecessary war. Obama, for all the flaws in his thinking about abortion rights, has not done something analogous to cause any abortion to happen.

  84. Deacon Steve says:

    Except that he did overturn the ban on Federal funding for the creation of embrionic stem cell lines which does cause the willful destruction of viable human embryos. I haven’t yet seen the statistics for the numbers of embryos created since this ban was lifted, but there have been embryos created and destroyed which is equivalent to an abortion.
    My point still stands on the Just War teaching, we do not have to follow the Pope’s or another Bishop’s lead, but must consider their opinions when forming our opinion on whether a war is just or not. The same cannot be said for the Church’s teaching on Abortion.

  85. There is a historical precedent for this, since the early church fathers saw married couples who used contraception as destroying the marital embrace that reflected the union of Christ and the church and that implied that the body and soul were two different things.

    They often referenced to people doing this as treating their wives as prostitutes, because only the people who engaged in pre-marital or extra-marital sex used contraception, but not Christians.

    So, yes while contraception is grave in a marriage. It does not mean that it’s OK. outside of it.

  86. “Since when does the Church not oppose contraception for sex outside marriage and condoms to limit HIV?”

    The Church’s only opinion about sex outside of marriage is that it is intrinsically evil. The Church is not in the business of giving out “helpful advice” to people as to how to “better” commit mortal sins.

    If a rape victim were to beg her attacker to use a condom, and use the argument that he wouldn’t leave dna evidence behind that way, and the rapist agreed, you REALLY think the Church would oppose this? I would expect the Church would stay out of the discussion entirely (it’s a little too subtle for a soundbite) although individual Church members would probably express admiration at the victim’s cunning.

  87. No, people, but CAN vote with their feet and, unfortunately many are.

  88. According to Politico, this was all about the base. MOST of the posters on this blog weren’t going to vote for President Obama, anyway so he shores up a part of his base with this. All the huffing and puffing here won’t change a thing. Year’s delay may also give them a way to finesse this. Given the craziness in Florida these days, THAT is the outcome looking more and more likely.

  89. Yeah, I work with a woman who ISN’T CATHOLIC, but the only health care network in her area is Catholic and she is angry that she cannot get her dr in this sytem, who isn’t Catholic, either, cannot even write her a perscription for contraceptives. Plus, she has a rare condition that requires a specific kind of contraceptive, so she has been getting it from POLAND through the internet! THIS IS THE PROBLEM! With the contraction of the number hospitals and their networks, there will be more andn more of these problems. When a Catholic hospital buys a secular one and is the only game in town afterwards, WHY should Protestants be required to adher to OUR rules. PROTESTANTS AND NON-BELIEVERS HAVE RIGHTS AS WELL.

  90. Oregon Catholic says:

    and if the Catholic network went out of business or decided to only serve Catholics will she be better off? There is probably a public health clinic or a Planned Parenthood clinic where she can get a prescription BTW.

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