Quote of the day

“Yes, I want a solution to this mess. But, I also want a victory by which I mean I want a really robust conscience exemption. I want any change by the White House not only to work in terms of resolving this issue but to send a clear and unambiguous statement that in this great diverse, pluralistic country of ours, there is room for us Catholics to be Catholic, with all of our quirks, and that the government recognizes that they have no business telling religious organizations what their mission is or how to manage it. I do not want the White House to cry “uncle” for the sake of crying uncle. But, when somebody punches me in the nose, and when someone punches my friends Sr. Carol Keehan and Father John Jenkins and countless others in the nose, I am not going to rush to make nice with them either. There needs to be an apology.”

– Michael Sean Winters, in NCR.

Read the rest.


  1. Chris Sullivan says:

    the government recognizes that they have no business telling religious organizations what their mission is or how to manage it.

    That seems far too sweeping a statement. Surely the state has the right to say No to religions which, for example, want to allow polygamy, or prevent blood transfusions or prevent mental health services or allow abortions ?

    when somebody punches me in the nose, and when someone punches my friends Sr. Carol Keehan and Father John Jenkins and countless others in the nose, I am not going to rush to make nice with them either.

    Oh dear. What about forgiving those who trespass against us ?

    The Whitehouse would seem to have a reasonable claim that trying to find a workable compromise may be rather difficult, especially given the various legal constraints tying the administrations hands. From the accounts at hand they do seem to have spent some time agonizing about it with a divergence of views being expressed within the administration. Wouldn’t the charitable thing to do be to cut the administration a bit of slack in that regard rather then dismiss the talk of trying to find a compromise as mere politcal gamesmanship ?

    Surely it’s prudent for both sides to tone down the rhetoric and accusations and find a way to sit down and find a compromise both can live with ?

    God Bless

  2. “Wouldn’t the charitable thing to do be to cut the administration a bit of slack in that regard rather then dismiss the talk of trying to find a compromise as mere politcal gamesmanship ?”

    No slack should be cut to this administration. None. They drew the line in the sand.

  3. Mark LaVergne says:

    Good point by Winters of America magazine. However, those who were “punched in the nose” (to use his phrase) include the 8-10 Democrats in Congress who were led by Michigan’s Bart Stupak and who gave their votes for Obamacare in February 2010 in exchange for assurances by Obama that nothing like this would occur. Those votes provided the deciding margin.

    Obama and his people have clearly shown their hand on this, and any promises from the White House now are worthless. That includes any executive orders or “understandings” or compromises. They would be mere paper. We have received those assurances in the past — ask Bart Stupak — from this President, and we have learned that Obama can’t be trusted.

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    We need congressional legislation (along the lines of a Hyde Amendment) and a President who won’t be tempted to override this legislation with a veto. That means replacing Obama-Biden in November, because we can’t trust them.

  4. Mark LaVergne says:

    Question: In the previous post, I identified Winters as being with “America” magazine. Does he still write for them? In any event, in my haste I didn’t realize that he was quoted for NCR :-) Oops!

  5. “With all of our quirks”? Speak for yourself Michael. What a strange thing to say at a time like this.

    Guess that contraception teaching is really “quirky” in his book.

  6. This only confirms why my Catholic newspaper of choice is The Wanderer. Michael Winters is sentimental and foolish and I am turned off to the NCR for even publishing such drivel. I couldn’t get past the first couple of paragraphs; I hate weakness and his sentiments are weak. There’s no negotiating here. Have at me, offended ones. His article turned my stomach.

  7. They weren’t fooled once. There was no abortion coverage in Obamacare, just as they said. I’m not sure the right even recognizes anymore when they have moved the goalposts.

  8. Sr. Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Assn, is why we are in this mess. A traitor to the Catholic faith.

    She knew there were concerns about abortion, birth control, and conscience clause issues with Obamacare and she still went forward with support for the plan. Obama even gave her his pen from the Obamacare bill signing.

    Sr. Keehan receives presidential pen for supporting health care despite bishops’ objections


  9. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The big reason Obama felt he could trash the First Amendment and push around the Church is because of the weak, weak leadership provided by Father Jenkins of Notre Dame and Sister Keehan–even though there was an outcry from many Catholics and bishops about their groveling– virtually worshipful attitude– toward the Obama Admin.
    But now the truth of this Admins’. contempt for religious rights and the U.S. Constitution is naked for all to see. No matter any compromise now–if Obama is re-elected any “deals” will be so much garbage and rubbish as were the promises made to get Obamacare passed.
    And Catholic Speaker Pelosi is a total disgrace. She was right on one thing though–it was smart to hide many of the provisions of Obamacare and when challenged said we would all find out what was in the bill after it passed. To any thinking person that should have been a neon sign advertising that the Obamacare bill was a disaster in the making and included stuff that, if known, would have instantly killed the bill.

  10. Joe Cleary says:

    Winters wrote for America for several years and moved to NCR a few years ago.

  11. ron chandonia says:

    One of the regular commentators on the NCR website posted this response to Michael Sean Winters:

    “People will soon begin to notice that while you and EJ are standing up for the bishops, many of those commenting on your site are disagreeing with you.”

    He was right; the preponderance of the comments on this issue at NCR, as well as Commonweal and America, take the side of the Obama administration against our bishops. Since it appears that more political than medical strategizing went into this decision, I can’t help but think that the aim of the HHS mandate may have been to drive a final wedge between Catholic voters and our increasingly conservative set of bishops. “No-cost” contraception probably seemed like a flag most Catholic voters would salute, and despite the defections of Matthews and Winters and Dionne, I suspect that may well be how this ends up.

  12. Ron, keep in mind that the same 8 or 9 people comment at American magazine and no more. So you can’t put much stock in the comments there. I personally have never visited the National “Catholic” Reporter’s website or Commonweal’s either.

    If a wedge is driven between those publications and their readership, and the rest of the Catholic world, so much the better.

  13. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    By a wide margin (50-39) a poll shown on Tv tonight had the American people backing the First Amendment and opposing government dictating to religious institutions. They didn’t break it down by religion.
    But another poll issued yesterday had far more Protestants–especially Evangelicals– than Catholics against government intrusion and coercion of religious institutions. Maybe that is the megachurch influence where much of their activities are NOT worship (supposedly exempt from the Obama diktat), but educational or social work(not exempt from government intrusion.
    Whatever the reason–what an indictment of Catholics, and their embrace of the culture of death (abortion causing drugs are part of the Obama mandate) and their willingness to shred the First Amendment of the Constitution.

  14. I really don’t get “Catholics” who take communion and think there’s any other position than total rejection of the Obama HHS travesty. I really am so happy to have the consolation of the Blessed Mother and my rosary beads. I can’t wait to be able to take communion, it’s been a long road for me. These morons who have no clue what they’re missing. There is nothing new under the sun.

  15. My last post sounds disjointed, but I really am at a loss for words but my fingers won’t stop typing.

  16. Nothing short of Kathleen Sebelius’s resignature will do to begin to take a first step to satisfying Catholic concerns. They called Bishop Dolan to the White House and lied to his face. Frankly I don’t think that a relationship with this administration is possible. The harm has been done and trust will take more than to Nov to be restored. Hopefully after Nov we won’t have to worry about Obama any more.

  17. I was a little aghast too but in my life I know many Catholics don’t think, or care, so much about the Church’s beliefs as they do about the social role of being Catholic. Of holidays, old churches, grandness, and seeing it as “Home/Mother.” (And if the government told High-School kids their Mothers would now have to help pay for their beers many would likely ignore any legal or maternal complaints about it, to stretch an analogy) This isn’t even that new of a thing. When the English Reformation started many villages were outraged by the change, but then Queen Elizabeth I started allowing some of the old holidays again. After that several of those villages essentially “stopped worrying and learned to love the Church of England.”

    It sounds like you’re a convert and that experience can be quite different. You’ve likely thought a great deal about Catholic teaching. I often get the sense Catholics feel that’s not necessary and some have basically even told me it’s a bad idea.

  18. Yes, driving a wedge is what this is all about. It’s working beautifully for Obama. Most Catholics in America are only nominally so, and will readily abandon their bishops in exchange for “free” contraceptives. The American church is close to schism, and Obama would gladly push it over the edge.

  19. I’m sorry, (LOL) but does anyone actually take Michael Sean Winters seriously?


  1. [...] Some passionate, articulate (and funny) people have argued that the new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring religiously-affiliated universities, hospitals, and organizations to provide health insurance plans that include contraception without co-pays (which costs women up to $600 a year) is an attack on religious liberty. Not individual religious liberty–since there is nothing in the decision requiring any person to use any form of birth control, just to chip-in to support others if they choose to use it–but group religious liberty. [...]

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