“We were getting killed”: the inside story of Obama’s “accommodation”

From the New York Times:

For the White House, the decision announced Friday to soften a rule requiring religious-affiliated organizations to pay for insurance plans that offer free birth control was never really driven by a desire to mollify Roman Catholic bishops, who were strongly opposed to the plan.

Rather, the fight was for Sister Carol Keehan — head of an influential Catholic hospital group, who had supported President Obama’s health care law — and Catholic allies of the White House seen as the religious left. Sister Keehan had told the White House that the new rule, part of the health care law, went too far.

Mr. Obama announced that rather than requiring religiously affiliated charities and universities to pay for contraceptives for their employees, the cost would be shifted to health insurance companies. The initial rule caused a political uproar among some Catholics and others who portrayed it as an attack on religious freedom.

Meeting with his top advisers in the Oval Office last week amid rising anger from Catholic Democrats, liberal columnists and left-leaning religious leaders — a fed-up Mr. Obama issued an order meant for Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services. Ms. Sebelius and agency lawyers had initially told the president they needed a year to work out a compromise that had seemed obvious to some in the administration from the start: make the new rule more like that offered by the State of Hawaii, where employees of religiously affiliated institutions got contraceptives through a side benefit offered by insurance companies.

But in difficult internal negotiations, a group of advisers had bested Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others and sold the president on a stricter rule. Now the political furor surrounding it was threatening to consume signs of economic improvement giving a boost to the White House and put the Obama re-election campaign on the defensive.

Time was up, Mr. Obama told his advisers, according to officials in the meeting. Ms. Sebelius, a Catholic who, along with the president’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes, had pushed hard for the new rule, was not there, but the message came through: Figure out a way to make something like the Hawaii model work.

In announcing the shift on Friday, Mr. Obama sought to quell the brewing rebellion. Sure, the Republican presidential candidates and the Republican leadership in Congress roundly criticized the administration anyway — and even criticized the compromise, with Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman on Friday promising that House Republicans “will continue to work toward a legislative solution.”

Such attacks were not unexpected. What had not been anticipated enough, despite warnings from Mr. Biden; the former chief of staff William Daley; Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, Bruce Reed; and the deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, administration officials said, was that allies would be furious, too.

Tim Kaine, a Virginia Senate candidate and former head of the Democratic National Committee, echoed the concern of Sister Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, that it went too far. So did some liberal-leaning Catholics in the news media — including Chris Matthews, who called the rule “frightening” on his MSNBC program “Hardball,” and E. J. Dionne, the Washington Post columnist, who wrote that Mr. Obama had “utterly botched” the issue.

Meanwhile, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a group founded by nuns decades ago to lobby on social justice issues, warned White House officials that nearly 500 Catholic activists would be in Washington this weekend for a conference, and that if no compromise had been reached by then, all of them would return to their parishes fired up about the contraception mandate.

“We were getting killed,” one administration official said Friday. The White House picked the deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle to talk to Sister Keehan about ways the rule could be made palatable. Meanwhile, administration officials were hearing from women’s rights organizations, particularly Planned Parenthood, who warned that they would oppose any compromise that made employees at religious-affiliated institutions pick up the tab for contraceptives.

Read more.


  1. Fascinating. Thanks for this.

  2. Sister Carole Keehan has to go. NOW

  3. Oregon Catholic says:

    I believe there is a VP opening at Komen.

  4. Oregon Catholic says:

    The media smells blood in the water. I’m kind of starting to enjoy this.

  5. Wonderful news that the USCCB did not buy this idiotic lie. Now that they are awake, then might begin to notice that the party of death has been using them for years and Obama just did it with a heavy Chicago style way. Now they can begin to unite to push back on a lot of other freedoms that have been under constant attack and to begin to unite the Catholic Church through strong education and if necessary, a few excommunications. Sibelius and Sister Keehan would be a good start so that neither can claim to be Catholic. This nun is way out of line in trying to work behind the scenes to support the party of death administration. We know Obama thinks he is god, so I suppose she thinks she is now the Pope.

  6. “We were getting killed”
    May it continue to be so. Time to redouble the effort.

  7. friscoeddie says:

    Catholic Universities and Catholic hospitals have been covering BC in their health plans for years. When the NYT prints the list and the coverage dates, read and weep and then post it’s NYT lies. Obama gets 60% of the Catholic vote in Nov.
    Bishops should watch the movie “A Bridge Too Far’ …it about Gen Montgomery’s over-reach… that caused my brother-inlaws death in Holland 1944

  8. Agreed.

  9. Nothing short of Sebelius’s resignation will do to begin to make things right. A good Catholic like Daley had to resign. She now needs to go. She’s the immoral force behind this all.

  10. Paul Stokell says:

    Seconded. One can only wonder how the Vox Nova/Catholic Kos Kids will take it.

  11. Mark LaVergne says:

    It is weirdly fascinating — in the sense that it causes disgust — to read this article if only to learn of the various elements of the Catholic church who appear more interested in finding “common ground” with Obama than they do with their own pastoral leaders, namely the Bishops. They are more interested in politics than fidelity.

    It is equally clear that Obama and his people are more interested in what E.J. Dionne or Sister Carol Keehan think than in engaging in sincere dialogue with trusting bishops like Cardinal-elect Dolan and Cardinal Wuerl. Dolan and Wuerl and their brethren strike me as good and sincere people who have been shamelessly bamboozled by the sharpies in the White House and by the political wolfs among their flock.

    Cardinal-elect Dolan, as head of the USCCB, went out of his way to dialogue directly with the President before the January 20 announcement. He is a good man, but he was clearly “taken to the cleaners” by the President and his people. Shame, shame, shame on them! This Catholic is truly offended for many reasons, not least of which is the way I have seen our shepherds’ trust abused by those in power and by others within the Church.

  12. Mark LaVergne says:

    wolves NOT “wolfs” :-)

  13. HE was “getting killed” so he decides to act with half-a$$ decency??? Everything is always about him. WTF about the babies getting killed Mr. Prez…If he gets elected again I would seriously think of drowning myself, except that would just be one less old person for his Healthcare plan to cover. I think I will stick it out just for spite.

  14. Dennis Dreyer says:

    Nothing short of Obama’s 2012 defeat as President and the Democrat’s loss of the House and Senate will do.

  15. Henry Karlson says:

    Why does she have to go? Because she got something out of Obama you can’t — a change in the HHS directive?

  16. Henry Karlson says:

    Mark, do you have insurance? Does your policy include contraceptives? Does the company you have insurance from have policies which include them? If so… I suggest you get out of it if… then I will consider your voice on the matter.

  17. Henry Karlson says:

    While I (as with many others) would prefer there are no contraceptives in ANY health care policy (at least, ones given out for contraceptive purposes and not medical ones like regulating menstrual cycles), I can’t understand the extremist position being given when this extremism was not followed for years (only when Obama does it). Again, for many, it looks like “if others do it we might not like it, but we will follow it; if Obama does it, we will make a big stink.” I remember when people complained about things in his health care bill which turned out to be BETTER than what the current law is like. All because it is associated with Obama.

  18. Henry Karlson says:

    No, they are looking for common ground with Catholic moral theology (instead of apparently shifting demands). The initial outrage is answered by Obama’s compromise. The reality is, of course, for many on the net — anything Obama does is bad. That’s the real issue. They just enjoy using the bishops as tools in their political demonization of Obama, while they historically do NOT have interest in religious liberty concerns.

  19. I was raised as a Catholic. But i strongly disagree with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement denouncing President Barack Obama’s attempts at compromise as “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions” . On the contrary, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comments are themselves a needless intrusion upon the proper functions of government. Someone should explain to them the concept of separation of Church And State. Perhaps if they moved to a county governed by Sharia law for awhile, they would be more enlightened? Just because a religious group in America claims to believe something, we cannot exclude or excuse them from obeying the law. They can legally attempt to change the law… not to deny it.

  20. Well Stan, maybe someone should tell the President about the so-called separation of Church and State. The first amendment was written so the government wouldn’t meddle in religion, not the other way around. A country that is governed by Sharia law is a government that doesn’t believe in freedom of religion.

    If this mandate stands, don’t be surprised if in a couple of years the government mandates that you have a vasectomy after your two child quota is fulfilled. I’m surprised Sebelius isn’t already asking, why should women bare the burden of preventing conception?

  21. Henry Karlson says:

    It’s not so simple, Betsy. Ask the Native Americans.

  22. Mark LaVergne says:

    Based on the article, the activities of Keehan, Dionne, et. al. and their allies in the White House had absolutely nothing to do with an interest in “Catholic moral theology” but everything to do with politics.

  23. “On the contrary, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comments are themselves a needless intrusion upon the proper functions of government. ”

    I think they are doing their job thank God.

  24. Mark LaVergne says:

    If we follow your logic (better to change the law than deny it), are you suggesting that Catholics work to elect individuals to Congress and the White House in 2012 who are committed to changing or rolling back Obamacare? Sounds like you are suggesting a vote for Republican candidates for Federal office, including for the Presidency. Please clarify.

  25. Yup, just about everything Obama does is bad. The only good thing about this it has unified good people of faith, many faiths to gather around an important ruling and stop it. If Obama didn’t do anything wrong, why did he make an “accomodation”? Why didn’t he listen Daley and Biden instead of pandering to the left and feminists?

  26. Isn’t it possible that an event so singularly frightening might “open our eyes” so to speak, concerning the state of affairs in this nation? Sure there’s no track record because until recently we’ve been living cushy lives, going about our business without paying a whole lot of attention to what is ACTUALLY contained in these laws that are being passed. It is the way of all politicians to rely on the minimal education level of its populace, and even more, to exploit that to the benefit of the few. Democrats do it. They just happen to be rabidly feminist and atheist. Republicans do it while going to church, amassing their millions and generally paying little attention to matters of social justice. On this matter however, Obama made a sweeping change at the national level to something that was being handled on a state level. That raises the stakes a bit. In his effort to ensure that these laws are “one size fits all” which could not possible end well since humanity is widely varying in its creeds and philosophies – especially concerning abortion and contraception. In the name of tolerance liberals would have gay marriage and teach children to be open to any sexuality. With the same hand that they pat themselves on the back for such tolerance towards LGBTs, they’ll punch religious folk in the mouth and demand their conformity. A good sign of bad ideologies is when a segment of society pushes for more and more limitations on the free practice of whatever it is that seems to run counter to their choices and/or lifestyles. In this case, a clear assault is being made on the practice of religion…to the advantage of a state. This mandate, in case you haven’t actually read anything from an Orthodox Catholic perspective, will effectively bankrupt most Catholic based-institutions with ruinous fines for nonconformity. That or all of them will be forced to close their doors, as has happened already in many states like Illinois and Massachusetts. What else is that other than a chess game to silence the voices of those with whom they (radical feminist/atheist liberals) disagree? Tolerance of evil invariably leads to intolerance of good.

    Ask yourself this – what is the end-game? What is the vision of the Barack Obama administration – one which you clearly favor. What do YOU want America to look like? Do you really believe that when you are satisfied, there won’t be someone with a far, far more radical sense of what America should be coming along after you? Read some history bro. I recommend a refresher on Henry the VIII and on the French Revolutions. The dragon always eats its tail. Meaning once Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and Jews are out of the picture for your perfectly secular America, someone will come for you too. There are good historical precedents for radical, dictatorial style governments. This experiment in “how far can I go, How much can I take” by Barack Obama’s Administration will end the same way, and always in the name of “tolerance” and all that is “good” And who defines good? You? Your neighbor? What if someone else’s good is bad for you?

    We are not opposed to Obama in principle as you suggest. We are opposed to those principles he espouses because they clearly and unmistakably depart from the vision of our Founding Fathers (and because they are morally wrong, but we won’t impose that on you, and never have by the way). His pattern of saying one thing to assuage the concerned public and doing another makes it hard to believe him ever again. He never says what he does, and he relies on a timid and poorly educated populace to drink that yummy cool-aid he is offering. Heck I’ll even admit that I think he’s a fantastic speaker. But his words are empty. He’s cried wolf too many times, and it looks like he’s just done it again in an effort to pull the wool over our eyes. We’re not fooled.

  27. Your separation of Church and State seems to be just….State. I don’t think you understand that we’re not pulling this out of our hats. It was clearly and unmistakably the intention of our founding fathers that no government should ever impose it’s dictates upon someone in a manner that violates or impedes his or her free practice of religion. Meaning, in essence, that government has no primacy over the function of any religion. And that ideal is the source of all of the freedoms we enjoy today.

    And thus, your idea of “proper function of the government,” is in direct opposition to history and frankly, to everything that you consider good about your life and the way you are able to live it. You would have none of these freedoms without the Judeo-Christian principles that were the basis for our nation’s foundational documents and laws. Read up on some history bro.

    If you are so eager to see religion removed from the state, check “20th century: Stalin, Lenin, Mao Zedong.” Every major attempt to operate a government that is strictly atheistic has resulted in outrageous crimes against humanity (and unprecedented scale as well). This is exactly because religions are the basis for morals and good in a culture. They are not motivated by money, and so one of their primary function is to protect and serve the dignity of human beings by proposing a set of values by which life can be ordered and happily lived.

  28. I think it is because many people have decided God is a Republican and it is ok to use Religion as political talking points to put their party in office in November. I think their rhetoric does nothing to spread the Gospel.

  29. It takes prayer and fasting to remove these type of demons

  30. Indeed. Let’s finish the job.

  31. Well Barbara, neither does your lapdog following of this most pro abortion, anti religion, especially anti Catholic president. There is no anti Catholic position that this man can take for you not to vote for him.

    Sorry, but your political crack was uncalled for.

  32. This is no compromise. I don’t buy it. I hope the bishops don’t buy it. This is nothing but bait and switch.

  33. Luke Russert ( Tim’s son) I think pretty much nailed this yesterday in a tweet during the President’s press conference

    “#obama saying others made contraceptive issue into a “political football.” Pretty sure they were the kicking team on this one.”

  34. Henry, I own a company. If Barack Obama decrees that I have to give my product away, “free of charge”, then I wouldn’t be in business anymore. It’s not in Obama’s job description to violate the First Amendment, then announce he’s only going to violate it a little bit.

  35. Henry, the issue is two fold. First and foremost for me is still we have a government that is intruding into the commercial activities of its citizens in a proactive manner. It is compelling citizens by the force of law to not only buy something (health insurance), but now also intruding into their lives by telling them what must be covered in those plans. This in and of itself is outrageous interference in the freedoms we have to conduct commerce as we see fit. In general, laws in this country are proscriptive in that they generally tell you what you cannot do. This law not only tells you how you must conduct your personal affairs in terms of how to spend your money, but now even tells you what you will spend it on. The FF would be outraged over this gross intrusion in an individual’s freedoms. Where is the line drawn on this? What prevents the government from mandating more and more specific coverages? I read comments of supporters of this mandate saying better to prevent a birth-it’s cheaper-than to pay for the care of a baby! Whoa is that frightening! What’s next-who is to stop the government from telling insurance companies to stop paying for care for people of a certain age or with certain illnesses? After all , that is cheaper. Hey, let the government take away all our rights and let hem control you from cradle to grave. That is what is at stake here. This is not a woman’s issue nor even a Catholic issue. This is a fundamental issue on our rights as human beings to live in freedom. This man is very very scary.

  36. Stan, Why don’t you try reading what it says about separation of church and state and post it for all of us to read, since you are sooo much smarter than us ignorant Obama haters!
    Henry, we own a business and our insurance doesn’t offer contraception! If you want prevent life in your bedroom why don’t you BUY IT YOURSELF!!!!! Why should the Catholics have to pay for something we are against.. Do you want us to pay for drugs for drug addicts?

    [Comment edited to remove offensive content. -- Ed.]

  37. Because she is a Judas.

  38. Ronald King says:

    I agree with you Henry. She knows how to relate to those in disagreement with her. St. Paul was all things to all people for the purpose of spreading the Gospe.

  39. Where is the compromise here? It only shifts repsonsibility from the employer to insurer and that is only on paper. It is extremely naive to think insurance companies will not cost shift this back to employers via higher premiums. So in the end, the employer will still be paying for these services. It is nothing but a shell game.

  40. Stan, get a grip! Sharia law! Please stop regurgitating the lib talking points on separation of Church and state. The Constitution says nothing to that effect. It does state in its essence that there will be no state religion. In other words, we will not have one denomination as the Church of the US. It does NOT say we remove religion completely. Second, the Church is not imposing it’s beliefs on anyone. They are simply stating that now that the government has created a law (which will be reviewed for its legality later this year) which forces employers and citizens to but a product (health insurance) which they may not even want to purchase, you then can’t force them to buy specific coverage within that insurance if it violates their moral and ethical principals. Simple really. The Church is saying we are fundamentally against birth control and abortion and if you make us pay for these services within institutions owned and operated by the Church, this violates our 1st Amendment rights. This so called compromise only makes this a slightly lingers arms length transaction but make no mistake, it still forces Catholic institutions to pay for services that violate its conscience. The Church is not saying that every other employer must abide by by this so where you get off saying the Church is imposing its values is inexplicable.

  41. Henry it is very simple. You just don’t want to see it.

  42. What is the change? That an insurance company on paper provides for coverage. The cost is till being borne by employer.

  43. Ronald King says:

    It is moments like this, as I think you state, that we are required to awaken from our trance of daily life in order to see the reality which we ignore most of our lives until we are shocked out of our “comfortably numb” state of mind. We have always been accomplices with evil actions through our desire to protect what we have from others who may need some of what we have accumulated for their health and welfare. Now we know a little about how others feel who have no sense of power to break from the chains that bind them to their suffering. Our wake-up call is to awaken to how we as Christians have caused suffering and death to those we have never seen in other parts of this country and world through our own selfish desire to satisfy our hungry ghosts of endless consumption.

  44. If any Catholic organizations have been covering contraceptives in their insurance plans in the past it’s been of their own volition (and they’re not living up to their Catholic identity by doing so). Yes, we all know that a good number of states have had laws requiring contraceptives be covered, but until now Catholic and other faith based groups in those states who did not want to do so have had other avenues to turn to. The HHS mandate takes away that recourse.

    The bottom line is that groups like Belmont Abbey College and EWTN, organizations that are recognizably and faithfully Catholic, are being forced against their conscience to participate in something their faith teaches is materially evil.

  45. Wow your comparing her to St Paul????? St Paul died for the faith she denied the faith!

  46. No Henry, it would be because she sold out her Catholic Faith to get Obamacare passed, perhaps “unenlightened enough” to forsee the consequences many of us could see.

    But hey, she got one of those “signing pens.”

  47. That seems like an easy way out of it, Mr. Karlson. To say “so many Catholics can’t see this as a compromise because of some kind of political bias” is unfair. I, for one, am a political moderate with just as little patience for Republicans as for the current administration. You know what? Politically moderate Catholics who are orthodox Catholics think this compromise stinks. I’m sure there are democrats who still think it stinks (though they are probably afraid to show their hand). Take your sisters and brothers at their word and imagine there might be something wrong with this deal you are not seeing, rather than crying out political bias.

  48. Deacon Steve says:

    Interesting, it seems that the POTUS and those around him, including some Catholics, are scheming to see just how much evil they can get away with. Its evil folks, pure and simple. As a nation we have forgotten how to examine our conscience. Thank God that the response by our bishops has been clear and unyielding (See: http://usccb.org/news/2012/12-026.cfm).

  49. Henry Karlson says:

    I’m not Democrat. I never voted for Obama, and I never will. The idea that I am not an orthodox Catholic if I see how this deal can actually be, in some ways, better than the status quo for Catholics (I mean, does it open up the possibility where Catholics had been told by states to buy such policies now can say we don’t have to? Isn’t that better?)?

    The problem is that many people do _not_ understand moral theology, they have not engaged the question of cooperation with evil. They are acting like this decision came out of nowhere with no precedent. Sorry, there were precedents all over the US, and Catholics cooperated with the precedents. That means that, in the scheme of things, remote material cooperation by buying insurance policies which provides for contraceptives is a possibility as proven by orthodox bishops in the US. So making too strong a case actually demonstrates a lack of understanding what is already there and makes for a self-contradiction. And it ignores the even greater issue of how one deals with pluralistic societies with rival moral positions. Yes, I wish all Catholic moral principles would be established in the US so that everything from abortion to nuclear bombs would be gone. Now let’s get back to the real world. The real world means we must look for what is allowed and work for something better than merely allowed; however if our rhetoric contradicts what we already set as acceptable and goes extreme something is wrong.

  50. Henry Karlson says:


    Not true at all. From the beginning onward, there has always been the recognition that various religious practices can be and are often stopped by governmental authorities. Just look to the Mormons or Native Americans if you need to see examples. Sorry, the ignorance of people in speaking on the question of religious liberty is making this worse.

  51. Henry Karlson says:


    For those who have different religious beliefs, Catholics are indeed trying to impose beliefs upon the nation. This is ok since everyone really does so, but let’s be honest.

    There are Protestants who religiously believe that there should be free health care who also see contraceptives as good health care. They therefore see their religious beliefs in direct contradiction with Catholic religious beliefs. This is why the question is not so simple. The fact that we think our side is right (I do) in the moral question of contraceptives is just one aspect of the question. Another question, which is not being asked and NEEDS to be asked, is the question of material cooperation with evil and what are or are not proportionate reasons to do so; without that question even being addressed all you have is ideology distanced from the real world

  52. Ronald King says:

    Henry, Mass hysteria is a trance of massive proportions that spreads like a wildfire and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Faith based on fear instead of peace becomes an aversion to those whose faith is based on the peace of God’s Love and it is also an aversion to those who do not have faith. Christ promised us a peace that the world cannot give us and yet many still seek the peace that the world cannot give–the peace of political power. Grace is the only way to break that trance.

  53. Henry Karlson says:


    No. It is not. There are all kinds of religious traditions in the US many which have had all kinds of impositions upon them. It’s been there from the beginning. It continues to be there (ask the Mormons). It’s not so simple when many of these religious traditions can’t both have their principles affirmed in society; when that happens, one side is going to find their position rejected and there liberty diminished. Fact.

  54. Henry Karlson says:

    Does the company you get the insurance from have other policies which do? Do you know if they offer such policies to others? If they do, and you think the Obama attempt at compromise is wrong, get rid of the insurance to show yourself credible and not making demands of others which you don’t follow of yourself. And even if you do, what about most Catholics who can’t do that? Are you going to tell the poor Catholics who have only one kind of company offered to them that they should just get off insurance now?

  55. Henry Karlson says:

    Deacon Steve

    Nuclear weapons are evil. Unjust wars are evil. The splitting up of families is evil. There are all kinds of evils. Catholic moral law is not absolutist, and understands that living in the world we will have material cooperation with evil. The question is what kinds are permissible, and that goes with proportionate reasons and examination of the gravity of the evil.

  56. Most of the responders on this blog are focusing on the moral stance that the bishops have taken (or not taken) about the use/abuse of “the pill.” Let me add five observations to further show just how complex this really is:

    –VP Biden and various members of the administration who spoke against this new rule in the White House staff meetings were very clear about their reasoning. It is a direct violation of both the private conscience of individuals of all creeds (and maybe even some that do not profess any creed at all) and it grossly violates the Constitution in that it directly affects the right to religious freedom (of whatever variety or non-variety the American citizen holds).

    –Framing the argument that way broadens the influence base a great deal. And that has proven to be true. All sort of religious bodies (including those who leave birth control totally up to married couples) have come out in support of the bishops position because they see that this as a “slippery slope” that can directly affect even their own denominational positions on any number of vital issues.

    –For example, in several places in the Midwest there are large pockets of “plain-people,” those who are part of the colorful rainbow of the Mennonites. They generally do not vote at all but they do rise up and register and vote if the issue is important enough to their own beliefs. For instance, in 2004, Ohio had a big political fight about a “Gay Marriage” amendment. That so upset the “plain-people” that they registered and voted in huge numbers — defeating that amendment soundly.

    –Readers of political tea-leaves within the Obama administration seem to be depending upon a disconnect on sexual moral issues between a lot of self-identified Roman Catholics and their bishops. That is true: a lot of self-identified Catholics have become convinced — because of events in the past ten years — that Catholic bishops have absolutely no standard of integrity at all when it comes to sexual morality. In order to, then, convince their own rather rebellious constituencies, the bishops have generally de-emphasized the birth control issue and keep the constitutional one up front.

    –Readers of political tea-leaves also know that the birth control issue is far more important to young adults — the core constituency of the Obama campaign and administration — than to older ones. Thus appealing to birth control as the pivotal issue could be critical in the thinking of these political planners. That, however, DEPENDS if younger adults even decided to turn out to vote. Historically they have not. Across the country, adults over 40 far out-number voters under 40 on election day.

    Bottom line — while some bloggers may try to keep the morality of birth control up front in this controversy; many political observers — including many in the hollowed halls of the USCCB — know you cannot win with that argument.

  57. Henry, you need an editor. Badly.

  58. Did anyone happen to see the full page op-ed in the Washington Post the other day by Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice?

    “Catholic support for family planning and abortion is grounded in the core principles of Catholicism, which respect the moral agency of all people and their right to follow their consciences on all matters.”

    How many souls is this phony Catholic leading to hell? I pray the Bishops respond with a full page op-ed reminding the faithful that they’ll have to answer to God someday for aborting their children. Isn’t excommunication not only a punishment but a means of bringing the faithful back to the path of righteousness? And don’t the Bishops have a duty to save the souls of these so called pro choice Catholics?


  59. Henry Karlson says:

    Sure do. I’m a moron and a bad writer. I agree.

  60. So, Sister Keehan is the new Pope? Father Z alluded to there being two magisteriums now. I think he may be right about that. The Pope needs to intervene here. Especially in regards to Sister Keehan. As one of the other posters here said, she must go! I’ve had enough with these liberal clergy members getting away with this nonsense!

  61. Henry Karlson says:

    How is she a new pope, where is there a discussion of her being one? That’s just absurd. That fails to appreciate the way Catholic thought works and makes it appear it is everything Protestant caricature of Catholic thought suggests. Thankfully, Catholicism is not that caricature.

  62. Deacon Steve says:

    There are indeed absolutes, directly taking the life of an innocent unborn is intrinsically evil- it absolutely, everywhere and always evil. Cooperation with this is a sin. The present conversation has nothing to do with the other things you are talking about; the moral issues they are attached to do not make dependent the moral issues the present in the concern about forcing religious institutions and individuals of faith to pay for (material cooperation in an evil act) abortion inducing drugs, or agents and methods to provide contraception outside of the natural law.
    A nuclear bomb is not intrinsically evil, I could explode one on the moon and cause harm to no one, it is the use as an extreme article of war which makes it evil. A just war may be just in some eyes, but not other. catholic theology does not teach that war in and of it self is always an intrinsic evil.
    Splitting of families can be evil, but not intrinsically so. What about the removal of children from an abusive household, is this evil?

  63. What I mean by that is that this administration is deferring to her! Why? She knew about this new “accommodation” before Obama even announced it! So what she says goes? She represents all of us Catholics? If she is okay with it than all is well right? That is what I am referring to. She is a liberal nun and quite frankly, the Church is better off without her!

    I’m tired of these liberal clergy men and women that have all of this pull and power that they do not deserve! All of us Catholics are paying the price for that! Do you get it now Henry?

  64. No my comment was justified. I have seen a myriad of comments that declare the main goal is to defeat Obama in November. You make broad statements and refuse to even accept that the President might actually be acting out of his sincerely held position based on medical experts that this is a womans health issue and an avenue to help women who have financial challenges. You won’t even accept that perhaps it is his sincerely held belief that birth control may reduce the number of abortions. You won’t even accept his change of position on this as at least showing a respect for the Church position. You disagree and the Bishops disagree with even this revised rule but I think you are wrong ato accuse him of acting out of anti Catholic animus and I see a political motive in many of the comments here.

  65. Yes, Sister Carole must go. She noted that BHO made a good “accomodation” even before the Bishops reacted to it. The fact that Obama considers her a sort of confidante is unreal. Yeah, she grabbed the headlines–she and Planned Parenthood are the only ones applauding it. The Daughters of Charity should rein her in.
    No one has answered the question–why didn’t Obama listen to the advice of Biden and Daley?

  66. Wall Street Journal editorial today on the ” accommodation”entitled
    “Immaculate Contraception” An ‘accommodation’ that makes the birth-control mandate worse.

    “Here’s a conundrum: The White House wants to impose its birth-control ideology on all Americans, including those for whom sponsoring or subsidizing such services violates their moral conscience. The White House also wants to avoid a political backlash from this blow to religious freedom. These goals are irreconcilable.

    So you almost have to admire the absurdity of the new plan President Obama floated yesterday: The government will now write a rule that says the best things in life are “free,” including contraception. Thus a political mandate will be compounded by an uneconomic one—in other words, behold the soul of ObamaCare.” ,,,,,,


  67. Religion “not motivated by money”? THAT, sir, is the funniest damn thing I’ve heard all week. Thank you, I needed some of that!

  68. This blog is pretty interesting as well. It questions the good Sister’s intentions in regard to her going over the Bishop’s heads publicly and releasing her statement backing the new “accommodation” before they even released their own statement!
    Here is the link to the blog:

  69. Steve P in Detroit, Mich. says:

    Sister Carol needs a firm reminder about who she’s working for.

  70. Henry Karlson says:

    Well, there are many reasons. One, her area of expertise is with health care. Second, the Church recognizes and expects non-clergy to engage and deal with political situations as well. I would highly suggest you study the documents of VII in relation to the rights of the Christian to engage society.

    You are “tired of liberals” but I think what that means is, as is typical, people confuse political parties for Catholic positions while ignoring Catholic ways of engagement. Pointing to the subtle distinctions of moral theology IS Catholic.

  71. Henry, I don’t see how the Church’s position here is anywhere remotely pushing their religion on others. The position is quite clear. It is saying, we disagree with this mandate in general principals and furthermore we do not feel it is Constitutional to force the Church to follow the mandate. It does not say, we feel that all employers should not be forced to adhere to the mandate-so where exactly is the imposition of Catholic religion here on others? In fact, the compromise actually allows even less freedom of conscience since it now requires insurance companies to have this coverage. How does a Catholic now find a plan that excludes coverage for these services. Bottom line for me is Obamacare is an intrusion on my rights to purchase and buy products that I want to and is even now more restrictive in that now you force me to buy that is against my conscience. Scary stuff.

  72. Henry Karlson says:

    Deacon Steve

    Read Catholic magisterial documents on nuclear weapons. The rejection was for the production of them not just their use. The arms race was declared evil. And just because war can be just this doesn’t mean an unjust war is not greater evil than some intrinsic evil (such as lying). Equivocation is going on here. Whether or not something is intrinsically evil is not the same question of the gravity of the evil. And many things are being supported which are not “intrinsic evils” but graver evils by our system as it stands.

    So many people are acting as if the HHS position is “Catholics must buy and use contraceptives.” That is not what has been said. It is far more remote than that, indeed, it never says one must even buy them. This becomes much more remote and that is not being taken into consideration by the rhetoric.

    I highly suggest a reading of the Compendium of Social Doctrine because of how quickly you dismiss what the Church considers grave concerns.

  73. Henry, this country has a tradition of very liberal accommodation to religious beliefs in all settings including healthcare. Yes, there are some exceptions where the government has interceded in the face of overwhelming clinical evidence for a certain type of care, but it is an exception rather than the rule. Even in the area of preventative care where proponents of BC argue for here, the governments makes exceptions. You can reject vaccines for your children based upon religious grounds and the government does not force you to vaccine. So, why in this case? Answer: pure and simple politics with Obama pandering to his left leaning base.

  74. Henry Karlson says:


    It is pushing its religious views on others. Again, there are people whose religious views would be that health care should be for all and that contraceptives are necessary for proper family planning (and they think family planning is a moral concern). Now you have the Church saying its moral position should be supported and not the rival religious moral position. It is indeed imposing its beliefs on a rival religious position. Both can’t stand — but whichever comes out on top, the other will say its religious desires are violated. This, however, happens all the time in the history of the US.

  75. If they had the secular power to do so, the bishops would ban contraceptives for everyone under penalty of felony law, and they would enact all doctrine into civil law. They would do this by sundown today if they had the power to do so. They have a perfect 1,500 year record of doing so in every instance where political and military circumstances enabled them to do so. The gay marriage issue proves that instinct is alive and well. In this contraception mandate, they can make the case that they are simply defending their own “turf” – to avoid the state intruding upon their practice of religion.

    No such case can be made for the Church’s intrusion into gay marriage. They have spent tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying not only to thwart gay marriage, but any form of civil protection for gay couples whatsoever. They do this even though no church has ever been asked to participate in, or underwrite same sex unions in any way. It is purely an attempt to extend their religious law over the rest of society. If allowed to do so, they will push until civil law is subordinate in every way to Church law.

    This has proven true in every European and Latin American state at one time or another over the centuries, down into present times. In countries like Ireland and Malta, that near-total control exists even today. You couldn’t even get divorced in these countries until a few years ago. The late 90s in Ireland. LAST year in Malta. In Ireland, you still can’t get an education in many parts of the country unless you’re Catholic, or pretend to be.

    I would be more sympathetic to the contraception mandate issue if I felt that the Church really just wanted to safeguard its own patch in this live-and-let live crazy quilt of plural democracy. I have no confidence that that is the case. I don’t think the bishops just want protection from Leviathan’s grasp. They want his office. Rolling back the contraception mandate is not the end game in their eyes. It is an opening bid.

  76. Agreed!

  77. You’re right. Only enlightened thinkers should be allowed to speak and make decisions.

  78. I own a business.
    I am a small private company that sells to the general public, nothing religious.
    I cannot ask for religious affiliation on my job applications.
    My company is VERY different from a school or homeless shelter.

  79. Barbara is dead-on in her assessment. The bishops as an organization have been an unofficial lobbying arm of the GOP for years. Their (very) thinly veiled goal from the day Obama took office has been “regime change.”
    This latest controversy has been engineered and manipulated to the hilt by the bishops and other elements of the Christian Right. They have tried to spin this as a moral outrage to people of every religious and political stripe, but it is clear that 90% + of those making the noise and maneuvering are people who hated Obama yesterday and will hate him tomorrow and in November. He’s a fool if he tries to compromise or backtrack on this. You can’t “win back” people you never had. It’s clear in most of the combox discussions that even a full recision of the mandate will only make people more determined than ever to vote him out of office as a punitive measure.

  80. Irish Spectre says:

    Mr. Karlson, I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read this concrete assertion, which is supported by ample evidence provided elsewhere on this thread!! For awhile there, I myself had almost concluded that you were limited to abstractions tied to the high-minded sounding ruminations of moral theology, and to other various and sundry red herrings which allowed for no firm conclusion attendant to our President’s latest constitutional assault other than that us objectors are politically motivated hypocrites.

  81. This is only the beginning. The shot across the bow, they will ATTACK, MANIPULATE, & LIE until the church is GONE.

  82. Okay people for the one-hundredth time…this is not a “contraception issue”, it is a religious freedom issue! Contraception, abortion and steriziation go against Catholic teaching. The 98% of Catholics who were supposedly polled, who don’t agree with the church on this moral teaching….are NOT CATHOLIC! Those 98% are fallen Catholics, because REAL CATHOLICS stand behind the moral teachings of the church! SO>>>>>>>this is a religious freedom issue and the Obama Healthcare is in violation of Catholic Church teachings, violating our religious freedom….simple as that. Isn’t it funny, Obama pushes or should I say sweeps the issue over to the insurance companies…God Bless our courageous bishops and priests! Thanks Rick Santorum…keep fighting!

  83. Henry Karlson says:

    Rick opposes Catholic moral principles.

  84. This is all very, very interesting. The HHS Mandate was about abortion, sterilization, and contraception. Look at how the WH has moved this along. I guess the other two really don’t matter afterall or maybe the WH thinks that the American public is ready to buy anything. Perhaps they do not even realize that the public is still going to pay for it with higher premiums. For those who are “Cafeteria Catholics” (those who like to pick and choose) it’s time to get in the pew and kneel down or go join a different (c)hurch. It is certainly time that the USCCB wakes up and starts to “Fight the Good Fight”.

  85. A short walk from “free” contraception to forced contraception. Do not think it cannot happen here. We have the despots in power to do this and they rule agains the will of the people.

  86. Sister Keehan is not a religious leader, she is a hospital administrator-an administrator who’s primary job is to keep the hospitals open and serving patients, Catholic is a far 2nd for Sister. Therefore, she is not someone to look to for moral guidance.
    I hope, I pray, that the Bishops stand strong on this. There is no compromise on life.

    On a very personal level, I have always seen my Church as a force for good, a force working for God. I have been deeply hurt by the sexual abuse scandal and the lukewarm handling, both in the lukewarm caring for the abused, the lukewarm response to the public, and the lukewarm discipline of the abusers. I don’t know who to trust in the Church, I don’t know who is the good guy. Universities with the word Catholic (and using the big C in Catholic) have secularized, including one Jesuit University that allowed a lesbian couple in the a recent couples contest. There is no difference between a Catholic college and a state university – no difference in culture, no difference in teaching, no difference in expections of behavior, no difference in leadership. Oh, there may be some men walking around with religious collars on, or even robes, but that doesn’t really matter, they are ineffective.

    I was born and raised Catholic, 12 years of Catholic school, I left the Church in college but came back in my late 20′s after serious questioning and study, including reading the entire Bible. Two years ago I quit going to Mass. Many reasons for this, the abuse scandal included, but mostly because the Church, to me and many of my friends, doesn’t seem to stand for anything anymore. Catholic doesn’t have a practical definition anymore – inside the Church we follow the Gospel, but out in the real world, things are squishy. I don’t like squishy. Oh, we pray, we are nice to each other, but I have dealt with volunteers and prayer groups who support birth control, abortion (a woman has the right to control her body), gay marriage, women priests, etc….. AT CHURCH! While volunteering at the homeless shelter! In a Church affiliated prayer group! In an adult Bible study class held in the Church building!

    Here is what I want. Yes, immodest and proud of me to say ” I “, but I hope the Bishops will consider this: I want to know that when I see the word Catholic (with a big C) that I know EXACTLY what is taught there. I don’t want to send my child off to teach my child Modernity and “anything goes as long as we are nice to each other”. When I see Catholic on the sign at the hospital, I want to know that my care, and the care of others, will be within Catholic standards, real Catholic standards. Compassion is great, we need lots of compassion. But I want Catholic to mean something. I want to know that my child is learning true Catholic teaching, and true Catholic living, in high school.
    I want my priest to teach, from the pulpit, real dogma, teach real morals, expect high standards from those in the pews. I want the Bishops and my local priests to stand up and say “the new Presidential mandate is immoral and unconstitutional and we will not submit”. I want them to say “there is no compromise”, “there is no meeting in the middle”. And I want the Bishops and priests to stand strong. Have a little backbone. I am not talking about some return to pre-Vatican II, I want the Church to lead, to be strong.
    Maybe this is a turning point for the Church in America. Being nice, making friends, being warm and fuzzy, all good. But maybe this is the time for the Church to regain the respect it once had by standing for right, by leading by example, by matching words with actions.

  87. “The White House picked the deputy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle to talk to Sister Keehan about ways the rule could be made palatable.”

    Since when is Sister Keehan the voice of the Roman Catholic Church, anyway?????? Who is the WORLD does she think she is??? The Bishops need to take the crooks of their collective crosiers and YANK her bodily out of the conversation. She does NOT represent the Roman Catholic Church’s Magisterial teaching authority through apostolic succession! She needs to go NOW NOW NOW!!!

  88. Why would the President take advice on this matter from Sebelius, who has been asked to not take communion in Kansas? Does he not understand what that means?

    What, he doesn’t know how to Google it?

  89. Fiergenholt says:

    Steve P in Detroit Mich:

    “Sister Carol needs a firm reminder about who she’s working for.”

    Steve. You hit it right on the head BUT you are 100% wrong and you do not know why.

    Sister Carol does not “work” for the church; the is the Executive Director of the Catholic Hospital Association. The only bishops who are active in this group — and thus maybe have some say in its general direction — are those who are honorary members of their Board of Directors. The actual members are the many hundreds of traditionally Catholic health care facilities and consortia all over the country. The preservation and common good of those institutions and consortia is Sister Carol’s sole job. She is a top executive, an administrator, and maybe even a lobbyist but she is not a moral theologian nor a bishop.

    The Catholic health care institutions she represents consist of a large percentage of all health care institutions nationwide — not the majority, but certainly a very significant number. They will need to be a part of “Obama-Care” (or any other future nationalized system) in order to survive — in fact, the opposite is likely true also. Without the Catholic Health Care institutions being involved, “Obama-Care” will not likely survive in its present form.

    The fact is these Catholic health care facilities and consportia are already involved with governmental funded health care at the present. Catholic Nursing Homes could not possibly exist without Medicare and Medicaid support. Tri-Care probably accounts for a third or more of income for Catholic hospitals near areas where military retirees settle. I could go on.

    Give the lady a break. She is doing what she has to do — maybe even what her board says she has to do — to preserve the legal and financial environment that permits such organizations to exist in the first place.

  90. Deacon Steve says:

    I do not disregard the evil of nuclear arms as a manifestation of an arms race, but I do maintain it is possible to create an explosive device whose intent is to be used for peaceful purposes (Blowing up an asteroid). But nuclear arms races, unjust wars and the issues you discuss are not even part of the present equation. This is not equivocation, it is focusing on the situation specifically before Catholics in America here and now. Yes, social doctrine has to be taken as a reflection of the entire human experience and there are indeed other grave evils which we face in America, but the HHS ruling is a big issue in and of itself. Our bishops would not be making such a big deal out of this if the gravity of the evil involved were no so large. I could be wrong, but I sense you feel that people are perhaps blowing this issue “out of proportion.”

  91. Where are my rights protected to NOT pay premiums through my bi-monthly payroll deductions at a secular company that will then go ino the company kitty to bankroll F’REE contraception, abortifacients and sterilization surgeries for my co-workers? I can hardly afford to take my children to the doctor now for run-of-the-mill basic care (strep tests, etc…) because the costs are ALREADY SKY ROCKETING and this edict is not even yet in place!!! In 2011, it all began. Our co-pays and deductibles became ASTRONOMICAL. I simply cannot take-on any more of a medical cost burden. It is already oppressive.

    But, wait……if this mandate is not rescinded, my children’s amazing, orthodox and faithful to the Magisterial teaching authority of the Church school will be forced to close. It will be a good thing, I suppose, because I’ll need EVERY penny we typically put into tuition to cover our basic healthcare and that of EVERYONE who chooses to take F’REE contraception, abortifcacients and when they tire of those measures, they’ll “let” me pay for their tubal ligations.

    Thanks, Mr. Obama and all of his ilk. Thanks for that redistribution of wealth. I’d like all on this thread to tell me where the so-called SOCIAL JUSTICE lies in ANY OF THAT?????

  92. Sister Carole is not a religious leader but she is a vowed religious. She had no business reacting in the way she did before the Bishops reacted. If she wants to be an executive then she should go into the business world.
    If she sees Catholic hospitals as nothing more than a business then we should just shut them all down.

  93. Ronald King says:

    Henry, It is amazing to me that those who do not see what you see immediately state that you are wrong. You state what the actual church teachings are and then you are told that you are “high-minded”. I counter that charge with the fact that you are extremely intelligent and with the passion to know the truth you go beyond superficial observations based on reactionary responses.

  94. When one begins a sentence with the words, “I was raised as a Catholic” one may be certain that the unspoken words in that same sentence are “but I’m not now.” Your bias against the Catholic Church and your ignorance of what is actually contained within the Constitution are both in clear display in your post. “Separation of Church and State” is not in the constitution. What is in the constitution is that Congress shall make no law establishing a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of it. The Catholic teachings against birth control, abortion, and sterilization have been in place since its very beginnings. This law clearly prohibits the free exercise of the Catholic faith, and thus the law itself violates the Constitution.

  95. Henry,
    I am a new Catholic and not as well read as you on Catholic theology perhaps. I have sincerely tried to understand the point you are making. My summation of it would be something like “in reality, practicing Catholics and the Bishops are already accomodating many other forms of intrinsic evil so why make a big deal out of this mandate. We will never win by being hypocritical in this battle so we should curtail these efforts and stop making enemies of society at large” This is a paraphrase of the sense I get of your argument. If I am mistaken in this please clarify. My feeling is that you do not agree with the Bishop’s on their stance and that you believe the uproar is more politically motivated than theologically motivated. Is this correct?

  96. I think Magdalene makes a great point. One contraception is free, it will eventually become mandatory. China here we come. This vondruke in the White House needs to go.

  97. For those who throw statistics and percentages around to substantiate claims of support for contraceptives I offer a statement by our pope Benedict XVI- the only real authority in the Church are the saints-

  98. Hmmmm. Back to fighting amongst ourselves I see. It was really nice to see the left and right (Catholics) in agreement for a while (I consider myself neither and wish/hope we had/can have an alternative). It showed (for a while at least) that there are areas that we could agree and maybe build on that. In Martin Luther King fashion, I will say that I have a dream that left and right Catholics will come together and realize that we can accomplish much more in furthering our ideals together than we can apart. :) God Bless.


  99. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Sister Keehan appears far more an Obama worshipper than a Catholic. What still concerns the bishops and even some of the liberal Democrat politicians is not just Catholic institutions losing their First Amendment rights, but other religion’s members and individual Catholics having their rights trampeled on. There is no guarantee the insurance companies will play ball (but they better or face the revenge of an almighty, all-powerful federal government) and there is no guarantee that the consciences of non-Catholic religious people will be respected.
    But Sister Keehan couldn’t wait to get anything definitively resolved before she jumped on the Obama bandwagon. She reminds me of the Pax Christi priests in Poland that the Communist government manipulated as a means of trying to divide Poland’s Catholics.

  100. friscoeddie says:

    Wendy I agree…but first the name calling and anathemas have to stop.

  101. friscoeddie says:

    Wendy… read deacon B and see what i mean

  102. You wouldn’t know a Catholic principle if it hit you in the face.

  103. According to National Review, the original mandate went into law yesterday (the Code of Federal Regulations) – - unchanged. Obama’s “accommodation” didn’t make it in. The man is a professional dissembler.

  104. pagansister says:

    RG Evans: The idea of any of the current group of Republican hopefuls becoming the next president is indeed a reason to be upset—President Obama hopfully will be in office for the next 4 years.

  105. Seriously?
    Are you for real??
    To suggest moving to a country ruled by Sharia law to become enlightened? I think the real issue is, as a nation founded “under God” with inalienable rights from God, do we really want God-less socialism needlessly intruding on these rights?
    When all is said and done, we will be judged by God, not Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, or any other secular group.
    I think the USCCB’s positon is spot-on!

  106. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    So I suppose that all those who, like Sister Keehan, have quickly jumped on the so-called “accomodation” bandwagon are in favor of a president using dictatorial authority to order a company to provide its services for free as Obama said he would do to insurance companies. What next will he order??? Whose property or goods will he next order to , in effect, be confiscated??? Any insurance company knows that if it doesn’t play ball Obama will find a way to cut it from doing any health insurance business and possibly bankrupt the company.
    That some Catholics put so much trust in an increasingly dangerously powerful government and are more interested in undercutting the bishops at every turn is truly dismaying.This isn’t the Middle Ages.Bishops only have the power of persuasion. But some write as if they had power somehow equivalent to the gargantuan physical and financial power of an imperial national government. Absurd.
    Our Founding Fathers rightly feared dictatorial “royal” government power more than anything. ( And the 20th Century certainly and overwhelmingly confirmed that their fears were not fantasy.)

  107. Henry, Greta and I have insurance. We started our own company years ago and built it up to a company with hundreds of employees. We tried our best to furnish the best benefits would could for our employees. During our early years fighting for success, we could not afford to provide insurance but did so as soon as we could. We would not provide any benefits to our employees that violated our religious beliefs so no, we did not furnish insurance which included anything that violated Catholic teaching. We made sure any perspective employee knew that up front and if it was an issue, they had the option to look elsewhere. Now, even though we sold the company on retirement, we did so with clauses put in that this policy was part of the sale and had to be maintained going forward by the new owners, former employees of the same faith and belief. We also stay on the health care program and have this benefit as our total pay for providing free consulting and support as needed by the company. So please consider our voice as yours is like an empty bucket with the same clanging support of the party of death.

  108. That was incredibly rude.

  109. And one more thing Henry, we have never utilized medicare in our 12 years since retirement age even though we paid into it for our entire careers. We have taken the social security check we paid for and put them into a trust fund for our grandkids education. If we had a plan that would allow us to have a choice of self funding our retirement rather than giving it to the government for things like medicare and SS, we would have had one hell of a lot more money at this point and not giving this type option to the young in this ponzi scheme should put our political hacks in jail.

  110. pagansister says:

    RomCath, seems Sister Carole has you upset—is it because she didn’t stay in her place as a religious? She had the nerve to not totally do as the MEN would have wanted? Good for her. I appreciate a woman who will buck the odds. Reminds me of the women who had the nerve to go to jail (and abused while there) getting the right for women to vote, here and in England. They too were not appreciated by the MEN in charge of things at the time. (including the President).

  111. pagansister says:

    Amen, Kenneth! Also liked your comments above, 11 Feb. at 12:51 PM, responding to Barbara P.

    Barbara P. Must stick this comment here as I couldn’t reply under your 11 Feb. 11:31 AM. Good Points.

  112. Friscoe, if your prediction proves true, a free America is finished and so is the Catholic Church in this country which I am sure makes you and other liberals very happy. However, I do not see this ending good now that it is certain not only the bishops are fighting, but it looks like up to 18 states are going to file suit on this issue of religious freedom first amendment rights and they have a great chance of winning.

    As to the NYTimes and the fact that the Church was covering some things it should not have been doing, does that make it right? maybe finally they have found a voice with Archbishop Dolan and new leadership at the USCCB and they will begin to fight the battle to stop the government from destroying religious freedom. As i stated elsewhere, the fact that the church was sleeping on this issue does not make it right. Priests were molesting children and finally the Bishops woke up and have gone to war on child abuse. Your argument would seem to suggest since they were not doing enough on child abuse, they should back off and let it go national.

  113. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Kevin–apparently Obama has again made a fool of impatient or gullible people who just couldn’t wait to see the true lay of the land. If NR’s information is correct it certainly seems Sister Keehan is being masterfully manipulated in a most cynical and Machiavellian manner by the White House.

  114. pagansister says:

    “She had no business reacting in the way she did before the Bishops reacted”. RomCath
    WHY? Because she happens to belong to a religious order? Are those women supposed to always WAIT on the MEN in the Church in order to gage their reactions to things? This is fortunately 2012, not 1012.

  115. Barbara, where have you seen the USCCB say that the mission is to defeat Obama? The bishops are united in this demand for total surrender on this issue by Obama including the most liberal bishops in this country. Are they all Republicans out to get your abortion mill partner.

    Notice none of the Obama supporters care to comment on the Planned Parenthood website history and progess page listing Obama as their Partner in the white house or talking about their allies in congress. This is all about Obama being a partner to the abortion mills. Note that this administration made the accomodation only if it was approved by the abortion mill. Please for once admit that you support abortion by supporting their partner. Not one of the defenders have taken up this challenge or the one asking a simple question: what can any of you who pretend to be pro life and Obama supports show that is even close to reasonably proportionate to 54 million babies being butchered with 4,000 more a day being added to the holocaust. Please address how you support the partner to the holocaust? Remember, this ObamaCare was not supposed to impose anything that would make the gang under stupak violate his Catholic views on life and here we are with them not only imposing not only birth control, but morning after and more to come. That was clearly a lie. Obama assured Dolan he had nothing to worry about and that was clearly a lie. He is partner to the abortion mills by their own website listing. Don;t try to wink and nod that you are pro life until you show something that comes close to 4,000 innocent babies a day being butchered by the Partner of the death camps.

  116. So Henry, you are saying all the bishops and cardinals united on this saying the accomdation does nothing and is not acceptable are either all massively republicans or so stupid they just do not have the mental capacity to see this move as you do?? Which one is it. Please tell you you do not see all the bishops united as suddenly right wing conspiracy nutty republicans.

  117. pagan, if he has 4 more years our country is finished. Any of the four would be a massive improvement. In fact, you could pick someone off the street out of work and put them in and it would be an improvement on Obama.

  118. Stan, the democatic leader of the house said that now that ObamaCare was passed and thrust on the American people, now people can begin to find out what is in it. Democrats appalled by Obama dumb move said that this was a massive flaw in the bill and needed to be changed. giving one person at HHS the power to violate long accepted protection of religous conscience seems not to be something that those who took an oath to preserve and protect the constitution should be even considered in America. She has been given more power than the congress and the Supreme court. By the way, the wrongly decided separation that was an exact opposite of the wording was bad enough, but it did not give anyone the right to remove the conscience clause. Try learning a little more on the constitution before making this type of comment.

  119. The Bishops are the teachers of the Church not religious be they men or women. Sister has no authority beyond running her CHA.She is not a spokesperson for the Church.Before you comment on things Catholic make sure you know what you are talking about. Not that has ever stopped your anti Catholic bigotry before.

  120. Henry, didn’t realize that this issue was in ObamaCare. What the hell does this have to do with the converstation.

  121. Morrie, I think you have hit on something. We need the church to get a few excorcists over to work on Obama and many in his administration. While they are at work, the people can pray for their success.

  122. Evidently you view the Catholic Church as little more than another branch of the Republican party. You’ve admitted that your main goal is to get rid of Democrats. Nope, that’s not what the church is supposed to be about. You might consider opposing bad things sponsored by Republicans along with bad things that come from Dems, my friend. Lord knows the Republicans have brought us elective wars, shared their glee over state-sponsored executions, and have gotten in bed big-time with the NRA, that entity that cares more about helping the gun industry sell weapons of mass destruction (unregulated) than protecting Americans from gun nuts and cop killer bullets.

  123. BHO has been an absolute disaster.

  124. Henry, this would mean that anyone who cares about their religious conscience would have to go without health insurace because the HHS secretary and her boss are violating the constitution saying every insurance company has to furnish product that our faith says are grave sin. This makes the point of the problem faced. They are mandating that every insurance company must furnish this product in the country. So first they are saying they can mandate we have to buy insurance or pay a fine and now they say that the insurance company has to provide sinful services we have to pay for. If employers get off, they have to pay a fine so they would be fined for not agreeing to furnish product that violates their religious conscience. Case closed.

    And lets forget his is birth control for it could be anything else next including abortion or mental health or charging more if a employee does not act in a way the government determines they should act or live.

    Ronald Reagan said controlling healthcare is a first step toward total control of the people. He certainly looks like he nailed that one.

  125. And Henry, what are the proportionate reasons that come close to 54 million dead babies and counting with 4,000 more babies being killed a day to support this abortion mill partner? Of course those proportionate reasons would have to mean that the other candidate was in completely opposite of Obama on those issues as well as being proportionate and that the Catholic Church did not list them as non negotiable or that alternative solutions were not presented.

  126. She shoujld be put in a monastery. Your comment as usual was bizarre. Not surprised by your feminism a la Sebelius, Pelosi et al. Obama picked the wrong advisors on this one pandering to the women vote. Should have listened to the VP on this one. HA!

  127. Either do you.

  128. Which is why is not about birth control but about religious conscience and preventing a precedent that would allow the HHS secretary to next announce anything else she wants which is one of the newly discovered for many problem in ObamaCare. They have to back this off so that they cannot come up with other things far worse. The selected Birth control as their trial balloon because they were ready to defend it saying x% of women have used it at some point in their lives. The religious conscience issue does not allow them to set this precedent on violation of the conscience clause. The other thing they are trying to do is establish that only religious organizations can have a conscience clause which means a Catholic employer has not right to not violate their conscience if they are not a religious institution. The other thing of course was to establish that they have the power to do this type of thing based on this faulty bill.

    Frankly, I think this will become part of the argument in the Supreme Court as well as we see 18 states are planning suit on this religious conscience issue and the AG for a coupld of the states in an interview have indicated that this could be merged with court approval into that suit as well. Obama may have given the other team a huge weapon that the justices will pay a lot of attention to as this now goes beyond the commerce clause issue to violation of the constituion first amendment and increases the problems of allowing ObamaCare to stand.

  129. I disagree with both BarbaraP and Kenneth. Your mistaken – the Catholic Church has supported many Democrats in the past, Mayor Daley of Chicago being just one. What has happened is the the Democratic party has been hijacked by atheists (notably George Soros) who funds anti-religious Groups. So why should Christians, Jews or Muslims support atheists? So the democrats have hitched their wagon to atheism, and are trying to make the republicans as the religious fanatics. I think this strategy will fail, because reason without faith lead to moral relativism. I get the impression that if Kenneth lived in the 1800’s he would’ve supported government-mandated slavery.

  130. When a nun steps into a situation that she clearly knows the entire USCCB is involved in and sides against the bishops on matters of faith and morals, she is certainly at a minimum using very bad judgement. Birth control, no matter how many sinners use it, is still not allowed in the Catholic Church and is viewed as serious sin. While this issue is about the first amendment rights, the basis of concern is around the government mandating services that are against Catholic teaching. I would be amazed if this nun is not at some point in the near future pulled in and reminded of that and asked to obey the Bishops or leave her order and the Church. I doubt they will make it a distraction now, but this issue has united the Bishops like none other since Vatican II. I suspect you will begin to see a lot more action by the Bishops with this new leadership not only at the top, but in almost every one of the various mission areas of the USCCB. I understand they are already looking over existing staff in many departments by request of the Pope.

  131. Of course she also has taken vows and those include being respectful and obedient to the Bishops. Being a Catholic nun requires more than a simple lay person in this area, but in matters of faith and morals, which would include birth control and abortion products, even the lay person has to obey or put their soul at grave risk. a Catholic nun should certainly know that but the Bishops in the past have been very lenient on open dissent with the clergy and religious and I expect that to change, especially on an issue in the national news. I do not think you are going to see the USSCB acting like RipVan Bishop under Dolan. he is a friendly face, but I don’t think people should take that to mean he is a softy. I suspect on his trip to Rome, the action by this nun might come up.

  132. RomCath -insulting people to make a point only works on talk radio.

  133. She is a Catholic Nun. She is part of a Catholic Religious order. She does not as such have freedom to do as she desires and certainly will lose in a battle within the Church as a religious in conflict the a united USCCB. I doubt soon to be Cardinal Dolan will look very favorably at this action that in many ways spit in the face of the Catholic Church leadership. Not the way the Catholic Church works. I doubt they will act now, but I predict she will no longer be a nun a year from now or will issue a public apology to the USCCB and agree never to do this again. I am sensing there is a new sheriff in town with Cardinal Dolan.

  134. Barbara, Wait a minute, Henry says Santorum opposes Catholic moral principles without showing any examples and you call Rom Cath rude for pointing out the obvious? You, who supports the partner of abortion mills? Talk about being confused on Catholic teaching.

  135. Mark you make statements about me without knowing anything about my life. But I offer you my other cheek. God bless you and your wife.

  136. Pagan, you keep trying to make a feminist point here. Religious take vows that include obedience. As a Catholic, we are supposed to accept all the Bishop teaches with regard to faith and morals and picking a fight with the bishop on a matter of settled moral teaching in the Catholic Church is either arrogant pride (one of the 7 deadly sins) or ignorance. It is certainly not obedience. She and many others in the priesthood or religious have lived for a long time able to be in open dissent from Church teaching. She picked a fight on a national stage with the USCCB. Shows that her faith is about as important to her as it was to Judas.

  137. From what I understand (from good U.S. sources), the U.S. Constitution does NOT insist on “separation of Church & State”: only that there must not be an Established Religion.
    In other words, no particular religion is to be the “Official Church” of the country. This exists in the U.K. where the monarch is the Head of the Anglican Church and possibly in some other countries. It used to be the case in some Scandinavian countries that Lutheranism was the “established” religion.
    Other than that there is no reason why the U.S. Gov’t cannot cooperate with this or that religion.

  138. Obama is arrogant and thinks he is god. He is a liar of the first order. He is a partner to abortion mills and supports the killing of babies that manage to survive the first murder attempt. Why would he have a problem with a Catholic who is close to excommunication. He is surrounded by katholics who live in open dissent and support Americas death camps. What part of this is hard to understand? People report they do not lie his policies, but think Obama is a nice man. He saw nothing wrong with voting to support the murder of the baby who survived abortion being killed. since when did someone like this deserve the tag of being a nice man? Can someone explain that to me? How about those who were so outraged over a priest touching a boy improperly? Both acts are wrong, but which one is worse? If I had a son abused but alive, I can work to heal them. If the evil man kills my child, hard to fix that one.

    He did not look to sebelius for this. He called his abortion mill partner and they told him this is what they want done if he wants to remain their partner in the white house. Will folks stop saying this is a nice man, just misguided. Would you want someone who has his beliefs as a friend? We have to love our enemies, but we are also called to witness to evil in the world as lay Catholics and what he supports is evil.

  139. I would be very disappointed if those who are pro life do not take up a strong argument against those who support the abortion party of death. We are still wondering why the people and Churches in Germany did not do more to stop the Nazi death camps. Abortion has killed 8 times more and has gone on for almost 4 decades. I have to believe that when we meet our maker, how we fought against this evil will be part of the questioning with tens of millions of babies never given a chance to argue for themselves watching for their day in court. How anyone can support the party that keeps alive this holocaust is something hard to understand. So if you are not arguing with them, you are supporting this holocaust. If Catholics right now made it clear to the Democratic party that they have to abandon all support for legal abortion in any way, we would see a drastic reduction in this legal holocaust in a very short time frame. Had we done that when the same party was keeping blacks in slavery and later lynching them, we might have stopped this evil party back then and maybe avoided a civil war.

    What will those who supported this evil party of death say when facing Christ and he asks how you voted? You think Christ could in any way be supportive of the party of death and its leader? What more does anyone need to see than the abortion mill website calling the leader of the party of death, Obama, their partner in the white house. Please tell me how this works.

    You might have noticed I have had a number of posts in the last hour or so. I lost my partner this afternoon, the love of my life, my Greta. I am mad as hell about losing her and remember the many battles she waged to try to end abortion and it makes me mad to see Catholics defending this guy and his party of death. I would love to understand how in the face of everything they can see how this happens. I would have loved to see my Greta see the end of legal abortion in her lifetime. but Catholics prevented that as they danced to find new ways to keep the party of death in power and supported. I see here many dancing to support this action by this same evil man and bashing those who try to fight to defend life and religious freedom. None ever really address how they justify this with proportionate reason or how they justify the fact that the abortion mills call him their partner. I read in the gospel of John commentaries last night a quote from Thomas Aquinas. It went something like this. When I looked out into the sunlight, I could see. When I closed my eyes, the sunlight went away and I could no longer see the light. When we choose to close our eyes to evil, we lose our sight and become blind to the light of Christ and soon find ourselves justifying evil. I have one wish as I close off this sad day. I wish that everyone would take a moment to open their eyes to the light and see the evil that they are fighting to defend and think about stopping their support of the evil so that babies can have life denied by this party of death. If we stop giving them life, they will change or die and that is a good thing. Catholic support keeps the party of death alive and well and thus each vote provide direct material support to evil we know they are partner to. By giving them your vote and support, you are also a partner to the abortion mills.

    good night and maybe goodby. Pray for Greta and for the family. And pray for those who are blind that they might soon see.

  140. Henry, you write in part that:
    “It is pushing its religious views on others” Where and how? The church is not saying to anyone else you cannot have BC if that is what you want. It is saying that it’s institutions should not be forced to cover BC. You further write, “there are people whose religious views would be that health care should be for all and that contraceptives are necessary for proper family planning (and they think family planning is a moral concern).” ok that is fine and the Catholic Church is not saying if that particular groupd of people who have a religious view that bc is fine, then they should go right ahead with it The Church is not looking to impede their religious perspective but the federal government is impeding the beliefs of the Catholic Church “Now you have the Church saying its moral position should be supported and not the rival religious moral position. It is indeed imposing its beliefs on a rival religious position”. Where is the Churh sayings its moral position must be supported and imposed on the other religious position? I have yet tomhear one bishop or for that matter even liberal Catholics indicate that the Church is somehow seeking to impose its values on others. Quite the contrary it is other values attempting to be imposed on the Church and she is only saying no, uou cant impose these on is ..

  141. Not Judy forced contraception but doesn’t it also open up the door to euthanasia and withholding of care for other vulnerable individuals all in the name of a government mandate?

  142. Obviously you are not a Catholic if you can say that. Why do you bother coming here? Just to spew out your left wing feces?

  143. Ha! The Bishops have rejected the “accomodation”! Praise God! Prayers have been answered.

  144. I am so sorry for your loss Mark. God Bless.


  145. Oh Mark. I am so sorry to hear that. My deepest condolences. I shall pray as you wish. I loved reading Greta’s comments. May she rest in peace.

  146. Aaron, please take look at following link as it explains how the Church distinguishes the instrinsic evil of abortion from other serious evils


  147. I agree, but on both sides. It has been my experience that people tune you out completely when you insult them. :) There are some who will argue their case against and insult. But many will simply read the first line of a post and if the tone is insulting they skip the rest. So you don’t just lose “the opposition”, you also lose the people that may learn something from you. So you merely hurt your cause even if what you are presenting is truth.


  148. St. Paul was all things to all people for the purpose of SPREADING the gospel, NOT subjugating it to the whim of Caesar. Sister Keehan has to remember she answers to God first.

  149. Irish Spectre says:

    …not so, Ronald “McDonald” King; I didn’t quite state that the master obfuscator Karlson is wrong. How could I, because most of what he writes is, well, obfuscation, wrapped around some purported expertise in moral theology and other subtler branches of Church teaching. I.e., the frustrated theologian Karlson seems less to actually take a stand on the topic of this thread, the President’s trampling of the First Amendment, than cast doubt over those who do, using vague references to his supposed theological expertise. Like you’ve done here, he effectively asserts that the Bishops know less about theology, the Constitution and history than does he.

    Now, admittedly, the primary reason why I refrained from actually calling Mr. Karlson a disingenuous bulls#itter (if you’ll pardon the redundancy) is because I think that that’s a gross understatement.

  150. Mark, i grieve for your loss. She was an eloquent and tireless defender of the Faith and the unborn. I will miss her.

  151. Mark, i grieve for your loss. She was an eloquent and tireless defender of the Faith and the unborn. I will miss her. May the angels lead her into paradise.

  152. Sebelius is not the “power” behind this. She was hired because she agreed with the power, the administration and the left, and is a good spokeswoman. She can be replaced with another feminist loon. It’s the Obama Administration that must be replaced.

    Should she be excommunicated? That’s above my paygrade, but certainly seems as if the Church should make somepublic effort to seperate itself and its doctrine from the snake oil sales of the likes of Sebelius, Pelosi, Schumer, and other high profile Cathoic pols and media types who claim- publicly- to be “good Catholics” while at the same time actively and publicly supporting and enabling the culture of death.

    Is there anyone who more perfectly illustrates the meaning of the teaching that , “…no man can serve two masters..”? These good, left wing Catholics using their Faith to help get elected, then, depising the Church in its Bishops, its Authority, and its teachings, serve only secular humanism?

    It may not be “politic” for the Church to call them out publicly, but it sure would help clarify what the Church teaches. It might even get them, and even a few others, to search their conciences and return to honoring their true Master, Jesus, and to return to obedience in His Church.

  153. Not Sr Keehan. More appropriately – Ms Keehan, Radical Left wing feminist and heretic against catholic teaching and doctrine. Pray for the conversion of her soul. Sorry for sin and repent.

  154. Ronald King says:

    I suppose we see it differently.

  155. I believe Mr. Santorum supports torture. Catholic moral teaching does not support torture. If a person cant make a point without ad hominem attacks then there really is no point to be made.

  156. Mark I am very sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in peace. Amen.

  157. Henry Karlson says:


    I did nothing to your wife, so you should not take it out on me. It is time for you to grieve instead of striking out online. Go, pray, find some peace. I pray you find it.

    Eternal memory, O Lord.

  158. Fiergenholt says:

    Mark: not to belabor the obvious (especially in your time of pain) but you do not know whether Sir Carole does or does not already have the genuine and complete support of her religious community.

  159. Sister Keehan appears far more an Obama worshipper than a Catholic.

    I am sure she will judged accordingly when she meets her maker for making the death of humans easier.

    Perhaps we should pray for her soul and that she may see the light.

  160. JimK- many Republicans point to Ayn Rand as their guru. I believe Paul Ryan has indicated approval of her work and has required his staff to read her books. What I have read of her, Ms Rand was an atheist. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  161. Deacon Bob Bender says:

    So I am wondering if there is anything else of note going on in Catholicism these days????

  162. Abolutely off base. Obama USED (and I mean that literally) Sister Keehan and other “liberal” Catholics in an attempt to appease that political base. Again, Henry, et al, this is all about positioning Obama to get re-elcted and to line up as many votes as he can It is an extremely calculated move and it very well might work for him. Does it may it right or ethical- of course not, but coming from a man who supports partial birth abortion and voted “present” when as an Il state senator was presented with a bill to provide medical care to babies who someohow were actually born during a botched abortion- ethics is as he put it “above his pay grade”. Obama is attempting to very shrudely make this an arument of womans rights (again seeking votes from the ladies) rather than wjhat it really is – an attempted intrusion into the 1st Amendemnt rights of US citzizens. The bishops spotted this and even non-Catholic patriots have seen it. Sorry you cannot.

  163. oh vey- I sometime s like to go back to our common Jewish roots :). Henery you already tried this line of argument several posts up with a deacon. I provided a link from the Vatican itself which explains the primacy of the right to life and how abortion is an intrsinsic evil. All the other evils you will list that somehow Rick Santorum violtaes Catholic moral teaching are red herrings.

  164. Respectfully Father when a woman has been told that her next pregnacy may kill her telling that woman to accept the Church’s position or leave may not be the most inspired way to explain the theological basis of Humanea Vitae or teach the Gospel of Christ

  165. Jesus so rightfully said “you can’t serve two masters” Catholics like Biden, Sibelius, Sister Keehan, those who vote for and who support the culture of death, will be judged accordingly. This so-called compromise is of course a lie. The insurance company will provide FREE prescriptions at the cost of millions of dollars? Does anyone actually believe that? They will either figure it into the cost of Health Care Insurance up front, or it will be passed on to tax payers. Thus our Catholic Institutions will have clean hands, but we as individual tax payers will be forced to be a party to this sin. And shame on Jewish Organizations, Laurie Goodstein and the NYT for their Anti-Catholic attacks, and lack of support. Do not be surprised when infant male circumcission is outlawed. There is growing support in the international community to do so. And a rising movement amongst liberals in this country. They offer no help when other institutions are threatened, but expect everyone to stick up for them. Organized Religion is under attack by this administration. We MUST all ban together to defend our Liberties. Put aside your politics and stick together on this my fellow Catholics. PLEASE!

  166. Manny:

    I am not Deacon Greg and this blog is his not mine. IMHO you crossed the line of his “Terms of Service.”

  167. Barbara

    Do yourself a big favor and go to catholic.org and click in to their list of saints. Then find the listing for St. Gianna Beretta Molla. Reply back to this stream after you have read her story.

  168. What a great suggestion! St Gianna pray for us.

  169. Two very telling quotes from the President’s Chief of staff show you excatly where this Administration is coming from and just how much they de-value human life:
    1. “very deep belief that a woman has a right to all forms of preventive health care, including contraception.” I thought preventitve services were to thwart the devlopment of a disease. I guess this Administration classifies pregnanacy as a disease.
    2.”If you were looking at an actuarial projection of the cost of a plan, it costs more to provide a plan without than it does with. This is one of those very rare cases where it actually does not cost the insurance company money to do it,”
    In other words, lets put a dollar value on the life of a human being- lets stop life, lets support murder b/c it is cheaper to end a life than to allow a baby to be born.
    This is the viewpoint of the leader of the free world? What is the next mandate to come out of this Administration? If they believe this principle, then why not allow euthanasia- after all it would be cheaper to kill off an old person, a sick person, a mentally handicapped person, a ….. (you fill in the blank) person. If you devalue life and the dignity of a human being at its most vulnerable stage, then that means you are capable of almost anything. And still, not matter how they spin this, it is still a 1st Amendment issue. These commenst from the Administration clearly indicate their lack of morality

  170. This group in the executive branch remind me more and more of Old Scratch in the Devil and Daniel Webster. All smiles and ready to be our “friend,” and all we have to do is sign over our freedom to them.

  171. Wasn’t her tumor discovered after she became pregnant? All I am saying is that if the Church says that a woman who may die from a pregnancy may not use birth control to protect her life then the Church should teach with compassion and mercy not by saying kneel or leave.

  172. Well said, Steve.

  173. Chuck Schumer is Jewish, not Catholic.

  174. Verbal engineering always precedes social engineering. Used cars are now pre-owned cars to make it sound better. Contraception, sterlization and abortifacients now come under the “women’s health care” rights umbrella. Euthanasia is now “mercy killing”. It begins a slippery slope that was all predicted by Paul VI when Humanae Vitae was issued. Human life is disposable, pregancy is a disease. When will the birth rate be limited as in China where they leave the baby girls on the side of the road?If things keep going as they are they’ll be telling us when to pull the plug. Yes we got the hope and change that was promised all right. God help us.
    Oh and by the way, why did the President make an “accomodation” if he was so sure this was the right thing to do?

  175. pagansister says:

    I happen to disagree with both of you RC and Mark and your comments about a future under President Obama. Mark, our country isn’t going to be finished if President Obama is re-elected. We managed to somehow survive “W”. He was a disaster!

  176. pagansister says:

    Manny, I respond to those who can remain civil in their comments. Thus, I won’t respond to yours.

  177. pagansister says:

    RomCath, were the women who marched and advocated for womens voting rights wrong too? Just wondered. Yep, bizarre as usual. Thanks. :0)

  178. pagansister says:

    Mark, just out of curiosity—when Cardinal Law in Boston many years ago was found to have ignored child abuse (I know this it not the topic here), his “punishment” in Rome was hardly terrible. He lived quite well there. If Sister Carole is called to Rome, what would they do to her? IMO, she hasn’t committed any thing as serious as what Law did. Thought I’d ask.

  179. pagansister says:

    Barbara P. If the Church indeed says a woman can’t use unapproved birth control in order to save her from death due to a pregnancy, then I have to ask—-this is advocating LIFE? I have to admit I was pleased to see the poll that said 98% of Catholic women have used birth control.

  180. No they weren’t wrong but they weren’t marching to kill their babies either.

  181. pagansister says:

    Was sorry to read of your loss. May your memories and faith help you through this time. Obviously I never knew Greta and only learned about her on the Deacon’s Bench. May she rest in peace.

  182. pagansister says:

    Just a reminder, RC. I’m not anti-Catholic. If I was, spending 10 years teaching in that environment wouldn’t have happened.

  183. Pagansister- I’m very intersested in understanding why in almost every discussion about the Church’s position on a social moral issues- like this one or gay marriage, it never fails that people who disagree with the Church’s position bring up the sexual abuse scandal? I’m really try to understand from the perspective of someone who appears to disagree with Church teachings as you apparently do, why bring up the scandal to someone refute the Church’s position? It just seems to make ayour arguments rather specious, but perhaps I am missing something?

  184. specious argument. You take what are extremely rare and exceptional cases to refute the Church’s position. The overwhelming reason for abortion and BC is not to save a woman’s life.

  185. As I read Humanae Vitae The Church’s teaching is that the only proper way to regulate births is to refrain from sex during fertile periods. But I am not sure if a couple is permitted to remain celibate in marriage if the purpose is to avoid creating life altogether because a woman’s physical condition makes pregnancy a risk to her life. I think HV teaches that avoiding sex during infertile periods indefinitely is not permitted because then it would be birth control. But I admit that I am confused about Natural Family Planning because it seems that does more to interfere with the possibility of the creation of life then do some forms of contraception. Certainly the people who have studied this and the Priests and Deacons are better suited to discuss this than me. I do think it is time for a reteaching of HV and I have been surprised that we have not heard more on this. HV is an interesting document since it includes a response to the position that a couple’s openness to life should be viewed in the totality of the marital relationship and not by each individual act of intercourse. Obviously HV rejected that totality argument.

  186. Shame on you, Henry, for making this about you. But why would I expect anything less … it’s all about making the argument, isn’t it? And who made you moderator? I would suggest you take your own advice, and take a few days off from blogging.
    Prayng for Mark and for the soul of Greta. May she rest in peace.

  187. Your reading comprehension could use a tune-up. The so-called “accommodation” changes nothing. Try reading it slower; maybe that would help. It’s still an attack on your First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

    If you run into any large words you don’t understand, I’ll be glad to help you.

  188. Not as rare as you may think. In any event I did not take a position in my comments but merely said the women who are at risk from a pregnancy and their husbands deserve compassion and mercy when they are told they may not use artificial birth control they should not be told kneel or leave.

  189. Deacon Norb says:

    Deacon Bob:

    In my world, here were six events going on this morning:

    –Deacon Mel was “on ceremony” at the 10:30am Mass (I had been “on-ceremony” the day before.).
    –Deacon Andy and his wife were visiting from out-of-town and were seated in the congregation during that Mass. Our pastor/presider recognized them and asked for a round of applause.
    –The Guadalupe Society had their regular Leader’s Group meeting after that Mass.
    –The Regional RCIA met after that Mass in our smaller gathering space.
    –In the much larger parish hall, our Pastoral Council hosted the “Coffee and Donuts” weekend after that mass. Probably 200 there.
    –I handled the communal “Parents’ pre-Baptism” class in the dining room of our rectory.

    I am not aware that the HHS controversy came up at all in any of these events.

  190. Fiergenholt says:


    Wait a minute! You seem to be hinting that this controversy does not really mean anything to the wider “everyone-in-the-pews” Catholic layperson ?

  191. Hmmm — Almost 200 comments and no one is changing anybody’s mind. It seems this has become an exercise in venting, showing one’s assumed knowledge of Catholic doctrine and/or constitutional law, too much “snarkiness”, and confirming that the divide in society is present in the Catholic church.

    But, has this been an exercise in Christianity? That, after all, should be the common denominator, should it not?

  192. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Deacon Norb: I wonder if it was coffee and donuts or coffee and strudel German Catholics were obliviously consuming in 1930′s Germany as their liberty and rights (as in First Amendment rights in our country) and the lives of millions of the “unwanted” were gradually being undermined to be later eliminated.
    Maybe it is because I was once an elected politician and retired history teacher that I consider what goes on in the “public square ” of much greater consequence and importance than some for whom religion isn’t supposed to have any prophetic (WAKE UP!) component.

  193. Deacon Norb says:

    Hey “f”” !

    Not hinting at all. It is a “tempest in a tea-pot.” No one deeply involved in this controversy believes that anything important will happen until November 2012 — election day.

    If a deal is cut, so be it; if no genuine deal is cut, let the chips fall.

    If you believe in the over-riding guiding hand of Divine Providence and that the People of God will prevail, why get all upset ?

    It is when you — as an individual human being — start to claim you have the right to speak on behalf of God Almighty that I get frightened.

  194. I don’t assume to know Catholic doctrine, I know it. There are some on here who aren’t even RC who presume to know what is best for us. There are others on the left who bloviate about issues other than what is the issue at hand. Christianity has a place for fraternal correction especailly when people mock or contradict doctrine about contraception and so called women’s rights. If that comes across as harsh so be it.

  195. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Jake–Catholics “snoozing” through the Holocaust in Germany wasn’t exactly an “exercise in Christianity.” And Catholics in Germany who saw the night of evil gradually approaching and spoke up were frequently the butt of other Catholics who wanted nothing more than to put their hands over their eyes, their hands over their ears, their hands over their mouth. If only..if only more Catholics had “vented.” in support of the bishops (like Von Galen) who spoke up strongly against Hitler’s deadly, dictatorial policies early on.

  196. sorry “deac”- cant disagree with you more. This is an overriding and higely important issue not just to Catholics but to all citizens in thsi country. It is an issue about Constitutional rights and freedoms. It is a seminal moment in our national history. We are debating with this issue just how far the reach of the federal government can go into the lives of its citziens. You write nothing will happen until election day- but that is the point- this issue as well as the entire healthcare debate is in play right now. Even if it gets repealed (highly unlikely), the mechanisms and regulatiosn going into effect now will be extremely difficult to reverse. Also, whats with your last comments- maybe its buried in the almost 200 comments, but where is anyone claiming to speak for God?

  197. Who said this was supposed to be an “exercise in Christianity”. I view it as an exercise in our democracy and the ability to express our positions as citizens and as Christians. There have been a few untoward comments (some by deacons no less), but over all I think the commnents have been fair and spirited. If this regulation goes forward with no changes, I expect that bwe may even see civil disobedience. This has always been looked upon honorably and never have I heard this as being non-Christian.

  198. When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

  199. Deacon Norb says:

    Deacon John:

    I have visited and prayed at both Auschwitz (where Saint Fr. Maxmillian Kolbe was executed) and Flossenburg (where Lutheran Theologian Dietrich Bonhoffer was executed). If you have visited there — I warmly welcome you as a brother who has shared a powerful spiritual encounter and knows the experience of evil first hand. If you have not visited there, be still.

  200. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The liberal, pro-Obama mass media is not reporting it but here is a shortened list of other religions (most listed on Christian News Wire) which are strongly supporting the Catholic position on religious liberty:
    The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Church,
    leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, all the canonical bishops of the Christian Orthodox Churches.
    It is truly sad when so many Jews and Protestants will back up our bishops on behalf of the First Amendment, but so many Catholics virtually worship the state and state power even on matters of religious liberty.

  201. And after the Bishops rejected the “accomodation” Obama has said that’s his final offer. So this is now an existential moment for Catholics, and for all people who believe in religious freedom.

  202. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Deacon Norb: To learn the lessons of history you don’t need to be rich enough to travel around the world visiting every important site. I taught a unit on the Holocaust with another teacher who is Jewish–neither of us have been to Auschwitz (although both of us have been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington ) –and neither of us have been nor will we be still about evils we perceive confronting us in America.
    Heck! Most Germans living near camps were nice, polite and “still” as they smelled the smoke stench from the ovens.
    And to say that only those who have visited places you have must be “still” about near and growing evil makes a mockery of the idea of learning from history and applying it to our time own and place.

  203. So, RomCath, if you “know” the doctrine, do you then also assume, as a result of that knowledge, to be the person to dictate to others what is right and wrong? And if you do, aren’t you doing exactly what you accuse the other side of doing?

    You don’t seem to really want a discussion, which a blog is. You seem to want your word accepted unquestioningly because you have all the answers. And do you justify the harshness (your word) with which you do this because a) it is the Catholic position and b) you “know” it so unerringly? Such edicts seem to not be in line with “Christian Fraternal Correction”.

    I don’t pretend to know as much about Catholic doctrine or constitutional law as many on the blog. I do know that if the divide isn’t bridged in society we are in trouble.

    Compromise is the only way out. We used to be that way and the Church in particular, and society in general were better off as a result.

    Now we have name calling from both sides, which is unbecoming, especially from those calling themselves Christians. There is a greater good that has to be considered — and the sooner the better. This hard-line-in-the-sand-stuff just doesn’t lead to peace. It leads to dictatorship from the side that wins — whether it be your side or your opposition’s side.

  204. Jake:

    Yes, compromise where you can, but when you ahve to cave in your fundamental values and in this case it would require Catholics to cave in two reagrds- giving up their religious freedom and in partcular there belief that all life is sacred from the moment of conception. How do you compromise those positions?

  205. I never said I was the one to tell others what is right and wrong for the Catholics, that is for the Bishops in union with the Pope to do. Their definitive teaching is to be given assent by all who call themselves Catholic. Not that the likes of Pelosi or Sebelius get that nor the cafeteria RCs on here. There is NO compromise on the matter, that is bizarre. If the government wants us to close hospitals and Catholic Charities they should just say so. If not it is not going to continue on their terms. The President is not going to tell this Church what it can and cannot do.

  206. pagansister says:

    Mike R. post 12 Feb. 2012 at 3:24 PM: Couldn’t respond in that area, as there was no reply space. This is the first time in a very long time that I have brought up the Churche’s abuse scandal. The only reason I did this time was to question how the Church might punish Sister Carole for her lack of obedience to her superiors. Someone previously mentioned they thought she should be called to Rome. If the example of Cardinal Law was punishment, I just wondered what would be done to Sister Carole. Simple as that.

  207. pagansister says:

    An overwhelimg reason for birth control is to help PREVENT the possiblility of abortion, IMO. Mike R.

  208. pagansister says:

    Thank you, Barbara P. for replying to me above—but no “reply” spot under it. NFP has behind it the purpose of not becoming pregnant. Other birth control methods do to. Yes, it is confusing. If indeed a pregnancy is dangerous for a woman, I find it hard to understand how the Church would still demand NFP or no intercourse, instead of ABC under that situation.

  209. Pagansister – if you hit the reply button that appears in the thread I believe it will post a reply under the last comment. I have never read or heard a discussion about the issue of birth control in the event a woman has a physical condition that makes pregnancy risky or if either spouse is taking medication that could cause birth defects. I would like to see these issues addressed. I have read that there were many in the Church who believed that ABC was not always immoral but this viewpoint was rejected by Pope Paul.

  210. And how expensive is birth control if you so wish to use it that it must be provided free? What’s a box of condoms cost? This is just driving up the cost of insurance and making it more unaffordable. And by the way, some birth control allows for conception and then kills the new life.

  211. pagansister says:

    Gee, that was oiginal, Mike R.

  212. Give me break Barbara, that is a rare situation. And if her life is really at risk, I could understand then if she got an abortion. But she should pay for it. That hardly justifies this forcing the Catholic church to pay for abortions and contraception.

  213. “If things keep going as they are they’ll be telling us when to pull the plug.”

    Extraordinary means do not have to be used to keep a person alive.

  214. pagansister says:

    Maybe Barbara P the Church will address this situation in the future—how far in the future? Who knows? I think it is important for some things to be brought into the 21st century.

  215. Ah yes, the insults now start. Here is the other check pagansister. Btw, if you attempted to insult me b/c I failed to source the quote it is from Martin Niemöller. Peace.

  216. Perhaps the best explanation to date of he so called compromise comes from Greg Mankiw’s blog:

    Consider these two policies:

    A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.

    B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance.  The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.

    I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B.  But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.  Ultimately, all insurance costs are passed on to the purchaser, so I cannot see how policy B is different in any way from policy A, other than using slightly different words to describe it.

    Yet it seems that the White House yesterday switched from A to B, and that change is being viewed by some as a significant accommodation to those who objected to policy A.  The whole thing leaves me scratching my head.


  217. Cheeck

  218. “Evidently you view the Catholic Church as little more than another branch of the Republican party.”

    That is not evident at all in what Paul Stokell writes. You are confusing the means, the ends, and the concomitants (that means side effects). The ultimate end is religious liberty — the freedom of the Church. Since President Obama has shown himself so inimical (unfriendly) in practice to the freedom of the Church, the means to secure religious liberty is the removal of him from the Presidency (by defeating him for re-election). when he is defeated, the concomitant will be the election of a Republican.

    IOW, on this issue we don’t want to defeat him in order to elect a Republican, we want to defeat him to protect religious freedom and that involves electing a Republican (unless the Democratic Party refuses to renominate him).

  219. Barbara P — You write “You make broad statements and refuse to even accept that the President might actually be acting out of his sincerely held position based on medical experts that this is a womans health issue and an avenue to help women who have financial challenges. You won’t even accept that perhaps it is his sincerely held belief that birth control may reduce the number of abortions.”

    What difference does it make if he is sincere or not? He’s wrong. He doesn’t have to go because he’s sincere or insincere, but because he’s bad for the country; and his sincere disregard for religious liberty is one of the major reasons he’s got to go.

  220. Barbara P —
    You say, ” I am not sure … . I think HV teaches … . But I admit that I am confused … .” Yet you leap into the fray with this extreme example that you admit you don’t know the Church’s position on as if you knew what the Church is telling the hypothetical woman and that the Church is wrong. It looks as if you are extremely desperate to undercut the Church when you resort to such an absurdity.

    The issue here is not what someone might freely do in an exceptional case. After all, to give a complete exception to all Catholic institutions would not prevent your hypothetical woman from practicing birth control. So it’s a complete red herring. The real issue (which you’re trying to distract us from) is what the government will force employers to do in all cases — provide insurance which will enable them to obtain free contraception, sterilization, and abortion to prevent or cure that dread disease, that scourge of humanity: pregnancy.

  221. What a ridiculous and condescending remark! He’s not a brother and has to shut up if he hasn’t been to Auschwitz and Flossenburg! As if being in those places somehow confers a degree of wisdom and insight denied to lesser mortals! As if one who has not been there cannot understand the evil which underlay them them! Insufferable arrogance!

  222. It is not as rare as you think. It is also not rare that people could be taking medication that causes birth defcts. I would like to hear the Church’s position. These are not extreme situations. And this is not a red herring. Since this is a matter of religious freedom and concious I want to know what the religion teaches.

  223. Why do you think that Cardinal Law, who came to a diocese where incidents of abuse had been running at 27 per year, established policies to prevent child abuse, and left the diocese with incidents running at zero per year, deserves to be punished?

  224. Free abortion? I understand the Church’s position that some contrceptions cause abortions but the medical community does not agree that the Plan B drug causes abortions. In addition the rule does not require coverage for abortions after implantation.

  225. Besides, the cases have nothing to do with each other.

    And BTW, the reason Sister Carole is criticized for not following the bishops is not that she is a woman. It’s that she is undercutting the Church. Recall that Fr. Jenkins — a man — was as severely criticized for inviting Obama to Notre Dame.

  226. I was responding to the accusation that I believe is incorrect that the President is acting out of anti Catholic animus. I was also stating that much of the opposition is politically motivated as is illustrated by your comment.

  227. ” … politically motivated … “

    I suppose it is understandable that you would consider concern for the freedom of religion to be a political motivation, since that freedom is protected by the First Amendment. But I don’t see how that in any way invalidates either the concern for freedom or the opposition to the man who has shown himself ready and willing to ignore our right to religious freedom.

    If the President is not acting out of anti-Catholic “animus,” he is certainly acting out of complete disregard for our right to religious liberty. It’s apparently just not on his radar screen. But the political consequences of his insouciance do motivate him.

  228. If you can use artificial birth control to prevent a pregnancy that might kill the woman or if you can use ABC to prevent a pregnancy if either spouse is on medication that will cause birth defects then ABC is not an intrinsic evil and Humanae Vitae falls apart. If the answer is permanent celibacy for the married couple doesn’t that violate Humanae Vitae? I think these are important questions to answer since the basis for this religious freedom argument is Humanae Vitae.

  229. I doubt that there has been an authoritative teaching about whether avoiding a pregnancy which carries a high risk of death is a serious reason within the meaning of HV. I hardly think there needs to be one. But this is not the place where you will learn “what the religion teaches.” The Catholic Center for Bioethics is probably a good place for interpretation which goes into questions not explicitly addressed in HV or other papal and curial documents available on the Vatican website.

  230. That’s a mighty big “if.”

    HV acknowledges that there can be reasons which are serious enough to justify avoiding pregnancy. In such circumstances, NFP is justified.

    NFP is not permanent celibacy.

    If NFP is insufficient to avoid a serious likelihood of death, it seems to me that permanent celibacy would not violate HV. HV does not say that every couple must try to become pregnant sometime. It acknowledges that there can be valid reasons at any given moment for wishing to avoid pregnancy. Whether such reasons exist on any given day can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. What HV says, in effect, is that if, in good conscience, a couple believe that they have a valid serious reason for the wife not to become pregnant, there are two morally licit courses of action available to them, NFP or abstinence — but not ABC.

    If you think I have misunderstood HV, by all means, have recourse to the authorities I’ve suggested in my comment at 12:11.

  231. Well, then her solution is abstinence. Or is that a foreign word to you as a Catholic?

  232. I have to say that I amazed at the many Catholics on here that will bend logic and reason to defend this president. Having only been a Catholic for three years, it still seems plain to me that this man supports so many positions that are considered evil by God and the Catholic faith that it would seem like cooperating with evil to support him. Yes all other politicians are sinners as well, but this man was one of the few if not the only senator in the illinois senate to support partial birth abortion and proudly sponsor a bill for it. I read the official documents at the time and he even came up with a new euphemisim (which I cannot remember now) to describe the living infant, so that it could be killed more easily. Partial birth abortion is the inducing of the birth of a viable-outside-the-womb child, only to halt it halfway and dismember it for “medical” reasons that were so vaguely defined you could even use the excuse of stress of child rearing on the mother. He also quashed a bill that would allow medical treatment of babies who survived abortion procedures, effectively allowing the most innocent to die in hospitals full of medical people sworn to save lives. Those are just the most egregious anti-life and anti-Catholic teaching works that I can think of. There are so many more that he supports that I am constrained by space. The folks on here that accuse fellow Catholics railing against Obama for political reasons need to look in the mirror, it seems to me that the only way that you could defend this man is if your politics trumped your beliefs.

  233. My concern is that religion is being used for political purposes.

  234. He is wrong on abortion like many other Americans. What other positions does he take that are considered evil by God.

  235. Isn’t enabling the dismemberment of children enough? How many do you need? You are asking this question in the middle of massive Catholic response to his arrogant assertion that we will be mandated to support activities considered immoral by the church. When will you be bothered? The man obviously feels the state should be arbiter of social justice and politicians like him should define what that means, not religious people with their pesky morals.

  236. naturgesetz says:

    It seems to me that it’s the other way around.

  237. naturgesetz says:

    The other Americans aren’t likely candidates for POTUS.

    Another issue where he’s wrong is same sex “marriage.” His administration, as I recall, has decided not to support DOMA, the law of the land, in court. (Again, he’s not the only one who is wrong, but he’s probably going to run for re-election, which is why we care about him.)

    Granted, no prospective candidate is perfect on all issues, but, as Aaron suggests, it is difficult to see how any Catholic who does not put political loyalty to him or the Democratic party ahead of morality could possibly see evils in other candidates’ positions which outweigh the evils of abortion, trampling on the freedom of the Church, and deconstruction of marriage.

  238. The bottom line is this: “Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.”

  239. Correct. While some on here think criticism is directed at her because she is a woman nothing could be further from the truth. Sister Carole along with Planned Parenthood applauded the “accomodation” while The Bishops said they would have to review it. When you have Sister in front of your name you are a representative of the Church. She should have reserved comments until the accomodation was throroughly reviewed.

  240. No kidding Will, Gee I did not know that. You know some people come off the respirator and recover. Maybe they wouldn’t get that chance if the plug is pulled.

  241. From the Biships’ ethical directives (www.usccb.org):

    57. A person may forgo extraordinary or disproportionate means of preserving life. Disproportionate means are those that in the patient’s judgment do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or entail an excessive burden, or impose excessive expense on the family or the community.
    58. In principle, there is an obligation to provide patients with food and water, including medically assisted nutrition and hydration for those who cannot take food orally. This obligation extends to patients in chronic and presumably irreversible conditions (e.g., the “persistent vegetative state”) who can reasonably be expected to live indefinitely if given such care.40 Medically assisted nutrition and hydration become morally optional when they cannot reasonably be expected to prolong life or when they would be “excessively burdensome for the patient or [would] cause significant physical discomfort, for example resulting from complications in the use of the means employed.”41 For instance, as a patient draws close to inevitable death from an underlying progressive and fatal condition, certain measures to provide nutrition and hydration may become excessively burdensome and therefore not obligatory in light of their very limited ability to prolong life or provide comfort.
    59. The free and informed judgment made by a competent adult patient concerning the use or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures should always be respected and normally complied with, unless it is contrary to Catholic moral teaching.

  242. Quisling… Look up the definition.

  243. This is a defining moment for faithful Catholics. If we bend here and allow this outrage to stand we will from this point on clean the boots of the state, jump to its whistle and obey its masterly voice. If we do not stand then our Lord and Master will the State as represented here by Barak Obama and his administration; we will be burning a pinch of incense to Caesar and would have betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ.

  244. To all Catholics voting for Obama: you no longer have invincible ignorance. You are morally culpable here– your soul is in peril. Prayer, fasting, penance! Go to confession! The Church cannot be brought to heel, and we will go to the lions rather than obey this Nero.

  245. pagansister says:

    No insult intended at all, MIke R. Sorry you too it that way.

  246. pagansister says:

    OOPS! “took” it that way. :o)

  247. “Cardinal-designate Dolan said he emailed Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who heads the Catholic Health Association, on Feb. 10 to tell her that he was “disappointed that she had acted unilaterally, not in concert with the bishops.”

    Apparently I wasn’t the only one upset with Sr Carole.She will be gone shortly I am sure.

  248. And the rest of the story:

    “‘She’s in a bind,’ the cardinal-designate said of Sister Carol. ‘When she’s talking to (HHS Secretary Kathleen) Sebelius and the president of the United States, in some ways, these are people who are signing the checks for a good chunk of stuff that goes on in Catholic hospitals. It’s tough for her to stand firm. Understandably, she’s trying to make sure that anything possible, any compromise possible, that would allow the magnificent work of Catholic health care to continue, she’s probably going to be innately more open to than we would.’”

  249. We will see how it plays out

  250. pagansister says:

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to one and all.

  251. Pagansister, here are some valentines for YOU. Newest polling data released today and tonight shows the President with a 50% approval, a minimum 6% lead over any R candidate (larger depending upon the candidate) AND GALLUP AND PEW SHOW THAT THE WHOLE DUSTUP IS A WASH. Catholic support for the President hasn’t changed at all. Pews shows that the only voters who care about this are the bases of the respective parties. The voters in the center don’t care about this. One thing that HAS happened is that the Republicans are becoming more disliked by the day. Sadly, the Church is taking some damage as well.
    Anecdotally, I can you that people who followed me to this and other Catholic blogs on patheos either laugh or turn away in disgust. AND African-Americans just think that the bishops are all a bunch of pedophiles anyway. Of course, this isn’t true, but never forget-PERCEPTION BECOMES REALITY. All the negativity on this and other blogs is completely counterproductive, just ask Scott Rasmuusen, the Republican pollter who told attendees at CPAC to STOP being negative and naming calling the President because is was hurting the Republican party and conservatives in general.
    Sometimes when I’m reading this and other Catholic blogs on patheos, it seems as if I am back in the 1950′s in old Catholic Ghetto and THAT wasn’t a pleasant experince.

  252. Athanasius was the sole remaining Bishop in opposition to Arianism. Arianism was so popular the Emperor was one and gave his full support to them. Athanasius was asked to give up, to come to the fold, to relent on his orthodoxy, when he refused he was exiled, ostracized, vituperated, maligned, arrested and thrown in jail. He never gave up even if the Arians had the popular support and the State behind them.

    Where are the Arians today?

  253. Pol, I think you offer good advice in terms of toning down the rhetoric. The message still needs to be delivered, but it should be done in as positive and charitable manner as possible. From my perspective, however, this issue is just one of many some religious in nature and other socio-economic that illustrate just how great the divide is in our country. Whether Obama or the “R” candidate win in November, I am not sure it will make all that much of a difference. We have and will perhaps have even a more dysfunctional Congress after the election and more sadly a even greater polarized population. With Europe on the brink of an absolute economic collapse, the Middle East in a state of revolution, Iran about to become nuclear it in my mind is time to turn inward in prayer and prepare for very troubled and difficult times. I honestly do not see this country being the “united” states in the not too distant future.

  254. The problem with ABC is not that it is “artificial”, it is that it is against the Natural Law, which has absolutely nothing to do with whether something is artificial or not.
    NFP is okay because it is in accordance with the Natural Law, not because it isn’t artificial. Really, taking your temp every morning (if you use the thermal method) isn’t exactly natural.

    ABC is contrary to the Natural Law because it interferes with the purposes of intercourse. Having sex while at the same time interfering with either the procreative or unitive function is wrong. It’s like eating, but purging afterwards because you want the taste of food without the nutrition and possible weight gain.

    NFP is to sex what a sensible diet is to food.

    As for the woman who will die if she gets pregnant again, you realize that even the most effective methods of birth control have a 2% failure rate? And that some methods of NFP also have a failure rate that is that low? And that in both cases, that 2% is based on perfect use of the method?

    If you’re worried about the woman who would get pregnant, your issue should be with the Church’s teaching on sterilization, not ABC.

    If it truly is a matter of life and death, I have to ask whether abstinence is worse than a 2% chance of death? I’ll address the following to men, because many women would take the 2% chance of death to save their relationships. Men, if saving the life of the woman you love isn’t worth giving up sex for, what is worth giving up sex for. Anything?

  255. Oh, and of course the Catholic Church teaches that it’s okay for married couples to abstain from sex altogether. Although the abstinence that would be called for with a woman who would die if she got pregnant would only be for a maximum of the twenty or thirty years she’s capable of getting pregnant.

    After all, the Church teaches that our Blessed Mother was both ever-virgin and married to Joseph.

  256. I’m not Mark, but I think your question is worth an answer.

    Here is what I think would happen:

    If this is the first time she has publicly opposed a statement from the bishops calling for unity on a particular issue, I imagine she will be counselled by the USCCB and asked to publish a retraction of some kind. Whether she were kept as the head of CHA would probably depend on how likely the bishops thought she was to do it again, and how likely they thought that it would be to cause scandal (in this case, give the impression that the Catholic Church approved of contraceptives, that it was okay for someone not in union with the Catholic bishops to speak for the Catholic Church, etc). If she publicly retracted her statement, I don’t see any reason why she would be removed from her order or excommunicated.

    If she has a history of this kind of disobedience, and refuses to make a suitable retraction, she would be subject to anything up to and including excommunication.

    If she does make a suitable retraction, I can’t imagine that she would be excommunicated, although I could see her being removed from her order.


  1. [...] be a leaked internal memoBut I’ll let you go find out what it says, for yourselves.UPDATE II: “We were getting killed” – the inside story of the “accommodation”For more check out The Shell Game and the Magical Thinking!More Catholic reactions to today’s [...]

  2. [...] on February 10, 2012 by Frank Weathers // Deacon Greg Kandra shares the New York Times story where someone in the Administration admitted, “we were getting killed.” Any day now, we’ll probably get the shocking (not!) news that Kathleen Sebelius has decided [...]

  3. [...] this decision, the administration “were getting killed” so today the President announced a “compromise” that is widely criticized. [...]

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