What if the bishops aren’t bluffing?

That’s the question at the heart of this piece by Ed Morrissey:

Earlier this week, Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners in Barack Obama’s home town that imposition of the HHS mandate to fund and facilitate contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization would force the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, clinics, schools, and all other organizations that would otherwise have to comply.  “Two Lents from now,” Cardinal George warned, “unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank.”  At the time, some commenters wrote that this has been Obama’s plan all along — to force religious charities out of business to make people more dependent on government.  Others, including myself, figure that Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing, and wants to engage in a high-stakes bout of brinksmanship to force them to kneel to secular authority over doctrine.

But how high are those stakes?  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I did a little research just on Catholic hospitals and their significance in American health care.  As it turns out, this bet involved nearly $100 billion in annual costs and about one-seventh of all hospital beds in the US — and that’s not all:

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Whom do these hospitals serve? Catholic hospitals handle more than their share of Medicare (16.6 percent) and Medicaid (13.65) discharges, meaning that more than one in six seniors and disabled patients get attention from these hospitals, and more than one in every eight low-income patients as well. Almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients usually have few other options for care.

Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in providing less-profitable services to patients. They lead the sector in breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, geriatric services, and social work. In most of these areas, other non-profits come close, but hospitals run by state and local governments fall significantly off the pace. Where patients have trouble paying for care, Catholic hospitals cover more of the costs. For instance, Catholic Health Services in Florida provides free care to families below 200 percent of federal poverty line, accepting Medicaid reimbursements as payment in full, and caps costs at 20 percent of household income for families that fall between 200 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

Imagine the impact if these hospitals shut down, discounting the other 400-plus health centers and 1,500 specialized homes that the Catholic Church operates as part of its mission that would also disappear. Thanks to the economic models of these hospitals, no one will rush to buy them. One in six patients in the current system would have to vie for service in the remaining system, which would have to absorb almost $100 billion in costs each year to treat them. Over 120,000 beds would disappear from an already-stressed system.

Read it all.

Comments

  1. We wouldn’t worship the Roman Emperor then, and we’re not going to bow to the immoral edicts of the government today. I applaud the Cardinal.

  2. I second that. Please catholic bishops do something about fifth columnists like Pelosi and Sebelius. We can’t take it anymore. Denounce them by name at least. This crisis is a partial result of your own failure to govern.

  3. If Cardinal George feels compelled to take his ball and go home, I guess he’ll just have to listen to his conscience. The secular world will move on as it has in every other instance.

  4. I suspect there will be a rush to buy them. The aging of the Baby Boomers will make the health care market attractive. And the economic model could be different or could be the same — the market will decide.

    Additionally, I suspect most Archdioceses or Dioceses will be financially unable to handle empty, unused complexes.

    Close them — make the statement — but be prepared for them not being missed in the long run and possibly in the short run, too.

  5. Typo — …. possibly not in the short run, either.

  6. Gerard’s analysis is on the money as usual. It was somewhat unclear to me whether Obama would care if there were a mass shutting down of Catholic health care institutions, but, yeah, given that he thrives off of chaos, and “organizing” around it, he probably wouldn’t care. That is probably what he wants deep down. Close and go away and I will take over and “organize.”

    (Also loved the line about how a thug like Obama never would have made it past city councilor 30 years ago. So true.)

    I am heartened, at least, that the bishops seem to understand that they and the Church are under attack.

  7. A Catholic hospital in a nearby city was sold last year to Methodist hospital in another larger city. I knew the hospital had been Catholic, but I did not realize that it still was until the sale was announced. I do not believe that the sale had anything to do with religious affiliation; the hospital that made the purchase is larger and wanted to expand its market.

  8. friscoeddie says:

    MZ>>>Don’t worry about the sad bluff the hospitals will all close. Catholic Health Care West last month changed it’s name to Dignity Health Care.. it also has a few secular hospitals among it’s 41 locations. They saw the writing on the bishops wall. The bishops have no deeds, no board membership. They are not listed on any property I own either..

  9. This article is from a website called “Hot Air.” Hot Air describes itself as “the leading conservative blog for breaking news and commentary covering the Republican primary, the 2012 election, politics, media, and culture.” Once again, how can we expect any sort of impartial commentary or analysis if we’re just hearing from the “right” on this issue? If we’re going to continue to post these articles, which come from a pre-determined point of view, I would at least like to see some balance from the “left”?

    I’m also not sure how valid it is to quote Cardinal George, who in recently comparing the Gay Rights movement to the KKK (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/cardinal-francis-george-gay-kkk-136102688.html) has shown himself to be a little intemperate and over-the-top with his comments in the past.

    [Scout: commentary is commentary. Take it for what it is. Those who have been reading this blog a while know that I post from the left and the right, from AMERICA and FIRST THINGS, from the HUFFINGTON POST and from HOT AIR. I post stuff I find of interest, from all over the place, and let people make up their own minds and discuss. It's a big church, with a wide range of opinions.

    "We" aren't posting this stuff. I am. If you don't like it, go elsewhere, or start your own blog. Dcn. G.]

  10. Bill McGeveran says:

    Opposition to the birth control mandate could be one good reason to vote against Obama, but I tend to doubt it will sway enough votes among those otherwise inclined to support him. Maybe the religious freedom issue can best be resolved in the courts….The motive for the administration’s concession of a one-year grace period seems a bit suspect to me, in that it inoculates Obama from the possible adverse effects of hospital shutdowns in an election year.. However, what Jake says above is interesting–perhaps there would be little impact on hospital care in the long, or even short, run if Catholic hospitals close. …..One could also question whether there is a clear compelling rationale for having specifically Catholic hospitals. But the same can’t be said of Catholic schools; I suppose they could be affected–though they are not mentioned much.

  11. Some of these hospitals and other healthcare institutions will not survive Obamacare anyhow so it might not matter much in long run. The bottom line is that US government has no money. We just saw a temporary fix to save doctors from being cut 27 percent under Medicare by cutting payments to hospitals and other services. Remember when the so called Supercomitte could not reach a deal last year? Well Thant leads to at least another 2 percent cut to Medicare providers next year which will probably go higher as I highly doubt Congress will go through with them defense cuts slated for 50 percent due to Supercommittee failure. This is all going to lead to mergers and consolidations of providers which we are already seeing. It’s a mess and I’ll not be getting better. The US as we know it now, will not be the same and perhaps might even be dissolved in several geographic regions within next 10 years.

  12. Catherine says:

    I’m not sure that the bishops are all that interested in keeping Catholic hospitals open. This article from a few years ago describes what happened in the Archdiocese of NY — the one Catholic hospital that was left in NY when the article was written was St. Vincent’s, which has now closed: http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11513. I suspect the bishops might be relieved not to have to worry about hospitals any longer. They are having enough trouble keeping parishes and schools open.

  13. Does anyone worry if there will be any “impact” if all Catholic charities close—the soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, nursing homes, adoption agencies, emergency and disaster assistance, etc.? They are mostly staffed by unpaid volunteers who work out of religious comittment. They are non-profit establishments. Millions of Americans of all or no religious affiliations depend on Catholic charities.

    Obama has put religious people in an untenable position because he orders that we violate our religious beliefs. he has given us a choice in how we violate it—-(a) by cooperating in the evil anti-life HHS mandate or (b) by refusing Jesus’ mandate to help the sick, the poor, the orphaned, etc.

    Who will replace Catholic charities?

    There are no bureaucrats willing or able to work for nothing. the country is practically bankrupt. The Government cannot love.

  14. As Cardinal George speaks of Armageddon with our Catholic institutions, a couple observations that shows how tone deaf we as a Church have become:

    1. The great majority of Catholic people I speak to see this as a contraception issue. Most don’t care (they don’t listen to Catholic radio, watch EWTN, or read these blogs) and see it as a political issue between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, and we all know which side Rush Limbaugh is on…yes, the Church’s side. A bit scary.

    2. Once again, the Church “goes to war” over an issue that has no effect on heterosexual males…(remember, many people see the religious liberty argument as an overblown excuse to impose our Catholic theology on people.) Please follow: Abortion (who’s affected? young women) Gay Marriage (who’s affected? homosexuals) Contraception (who’s affected? young women). Who’s making the decisions for us? Older heterosexual males…none of whom are directly impacted by any of these teachings. I’m not saying these aren’t true or important teachings, but they’ve become THE teachings; it’s what’s important and the Catholic litmus test. The Leadership is absolutely tone deaf on this. They write very nice pastoral letters on war, immigration, violence, poverty (which influential heterosexual Catholic Republican males like George Weigel and Michael Novak quickly ignore or dismiss), yet the leadership expends all of its media energy and moral outrage on these issues, none of which impact them or call for any sacrifice on the part of older people, especially heterosexual males..

    Is it any wonder there are no younger people in our Churches? Is it any wonder so many women feel alienated? Is it any wonder that so many see the Church as becoming nothing more than another arm of that other great white male institution, the Republican Party. I’m a very loyal, involved Catholic who follows all of the Church teachings on personal morality…and yes, I’m a Democrat….I keep my opinions to myself, except on this blog, …and I’m having a very, very difficult time as I watch my Church in the public square.

  15. Eugene Pagano says:

    The Connecticut bishops acquiesced when the state required all hospitals, including Roman Catholic ones, to supply “Plan B” to rape victims.

  16. OK, I’ll go somewhere else. My way or the highway seems to have become the mantra of late when it comes to this Church which I love so much. I don’t understand why this post leads to this sort of response from you. It seems harsh and, to me, unfair. I wanted to express that I didn’t feel “we” were getting a balanced view of this crucial issue and felt I was free to express that. I did not mean for you to see it as an attack. I apologize and will look elsewhere.

  17. I do not think the defense cuts were 50%. There is a lot of misrepresentation of many of these cuts. Many articles (defense and other spending items) refer to “cuts” that reduce growth but make small or no reductions in the current amount spent.

  18. There are thousands and thousands of bureaucrats identifying themselves as Catholic.

    They could volunteer evenings, weekends, holidays, and part (if not all) of their vacation time at places like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other Christian, non-Christian and non-denominational charities that will remain open. THAT would be faith put into action.

    And it would be a great example to their families, coworkers and fellow Catholics. As the song says “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

  19. friscoeddie says:

    And bishop Lori is a Connecticut bishop..

  20. Scout,

    I can assure you that Deacon Greg s far more accepting of behavior that borders on trollish than I do over at my blog. It isn’t, “My way or the highway,” here or at my place. It’s about respecting the fact that a blog is a virtual extension of a person’s living room or their dining room table, and comporting oneself accordingly.

    It isn’t Deacon Greg’s job to present every facet of an issue. That’s not the point of a blog. You seem pretty bright and intelligent and more than capable of finding your own source material for consideration. That said, the people who comment here represent the full spectrum of opinions and orientations, so I really don’t understand your complaint.

  21. “this Church which I love so much”

    Unfortunately I have not seen this love in your posts. Your criticism of the Church, its Bishops and lack of support have been disheartening. Your complaints about being underpaid are amazing as no one has forced working in a Catholic school upon you. Now when the Church is threatened with being forced to provide insurance for practices we abhor, you don’t stand up for the Church.

  22. So the church is supooed to shut up in the public square. I don’t think so.

  23. Barbara P says:

    She is standing up for the Church she believes in and loves deeply. Scout hold onto that Church in your heart. RomCath, I have no doubt that you will not understand.

  24. Barbara P says:

    Scout for some reason I am assuming you are a woman. I apologize if I am wrong. I will miss your comments.

  25. I just have to point out here that you say that the church only goes to war over issues that involves young women, but I can assure you that it is because they just happen to be the issue at stake… if it were something about worshipping Christ in the Eucharist the Church would be going to war about that as well. It’s been 2000 years of the Church going to war over defending our faith, contraception and abortion has not always been the issue. It’s just what we see right now. I am proud to be part of a Church that defends her teachings and sticks to her guns about it rather than a church that doesn’t. This is about the freedom to live and practice our religion and our religion isn’t just about Church on Sundays. Contraception just happens to be the topic at hand, but it’s not what this is about- religious freedom is what it’s about.

  26. I don’t see the deep love in the constant criticism of the Church and her Bishops. Sorry.

  27. Rush to buy them? I suspect not. Here in Manhattan, NYC we HAD one remaining Catholic hospital, St. Vincent’s at the beginning of 2010. It operated on the west side of lower Manhattan, in Greenwich Village, on West 12th Street. You may remember seeing scenes of it on coverage of 9/11 as the doctors and nurses waited for the thousands of casualties that never arrived. It was famous all over the city for its early intervention in the treatment of AIDs. It served a large population at mixed economic levels, including the very poor. In early 2010 it closed for good because it ran out of money, partly as the result of the charity care it provided. NO other hospital has done anything about taking it over, beyond providing a “walk in” center for minor emergencies. The buildings stand empty and are in the process of being sold for demolition and/or conversion into luxury apartments. Much to the chagrin of the lower west side population and the concern of the rest of the city, there is now NO hospital on the west side between the Battery and 59th Street. That’s the area that includes the following neighborhoods: Battery Park City, Tribeca, west Soho, the West Village, Chelsea, the garment center, midtown, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Javits convention center, Times Square and the theatre district. That’s an area crowded with singles, families, workers and tourists. If there is an accident, a heart attack, or (God forbid) another terrorist attack ambulances will have to transport people much longer distances to reach a trauma center. I guess this is the ‘short run’, but the long term prospects don’t look too good either.

    On the bright side, the Archdiocese on NY won’t have to make any sad decisions about closing hospitals in Manhattan, they’re long gone. The problems will come in the outlying boroughs and in the upstate counties that are also part of the Archdiocese. But decisions will have to be made about some nursing homes in Manhattan. Even if admission were to be restricted to Catholics, staff would probably be reduced if only Catholics could be hired. And that’s troubling in an aging population.

  28. Good strategy. Call your opponent a thug.

  29. Barbara P says:

    You need to see and hear Scout’s sadness in the increasing stridency and lack of charity and compassion that many Catholics show other Catholics. It is painful for some of us to see our Church doors closing to people who are at different places on their faith journey. I posted before that the Church needs people who find security in the rules and holds us within the boundaries. But the Church also needs those of us who by our nature are drawn behind and beyond the rules. This is not directed at the Deacon. It is his blog and he alone decides what to post. He has always been open to comments from a diverse viewpoint and I have a great deal of respect for him. The Deacon’s post from the Maryland Pastor is illustrative. I think Scout’s pain at what seems to be happening in the Church may have made Scout overreact to this story.

  30. Will- I meant to write that defnse cuts must equal 50% of the totaled required die to sequestration. the actual cuts will not be 50% but will very significant. By some reports these cuts could be in 10% range bring defense back to FY 2007 spending. My point however is that i doubt that Congress will allow this to happen, but it is a zero sum game now in DC. If they dont do defense cuts, they need to “pay for” it in other programs. Again, my main point is the country is broke- we dont have the money for all the things we need. I dont see this nation as sustainable both from an economic and a moral point.

  31. Gerard, great post!

  32. I am sure Catholic Charities services, hospitals and nursing homes will be missed as the people they serve will inundate the government agencies to be served.

  33. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Thanks, Barbara.

    What I’m discovering here, and elsewhere, is something pervasive in the wider culture: there is no middle ground anymore. Reasonable people can and do disagree — but increasingly, they are being unreasonable about their differences. It’s all or nothing.

    We’re seeing that in Washington. And we’re seeing it in the Church.

    And during Lent, to encounter this kind of stridency and anger, from all sides, is just too much.

    You have no idea how many people have written to me to say they can’t read the comments anymore because they have become an occasion for sin and are hurting them spiritually.

    That’s not what this blog should be about. And certainly, as a deacon, it’s not what I want to be happening here.

  34. That sounds so nice. But don’t you think that many working people are already doing that at Catholic charities? As for those who are not already volunteering their free time, why would they do it later? Who runs non-profit charities during work hours, when charitable bureaucrats are busy elsewhere?

    And what do you mean “THAT [working for non-Catholic charities] would be faith put into action”, as if working for Catholic charities isn’t faith put into action?

    Just think of one single charity as an example: Christ House in Alexandria, VA, a soup kitchen, food pantry, thrift store and shelter. There are 1,600 volunteers working day and night, 24/7. They provide 18,000 meals each year; 65+ people get dinner every night. Homeless people are provided beds, shower and laundry facilities, and clothing. They provide meals on wheels to 21 Virginia counties. Most of their aid is provided by Catholic parishes, who promote the charity at mass and arrange support (preparing and serving meals, cleaning up, stocking the pantry,etc.) on a rota system.

    If Christ House closes down, do you really think the nearest non-Catholic charity in Alexandria can make up for it? Do they have the room, the beds, the money, the materiel, the transportation, the housing, the people? I can answer that—no, they cannot. All charities are having a hard time keeping their food pantries stocked, and because of the economy they are having more and more people showing up at their doors.

    I think it stinks that Catholics who want to help the needy will not be able to work at a Catholic charity which shares their values and goals. It stinks that the Catholic contribution will be invisible.

  35. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Where was “Catholic” Hosptials West when Arizona cut off funding for transplants. Did they step up and provide health care for those threatened with death because of non-fudning (3 died)? Nope.

  36. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    The hospitals and social services agencies (they aren’t charities) will simply be taken over by other, non-discriminatory players. And since these hospitals will be able to employ the talents of all persons, they will have better staff.

  37. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    The church could start by getting out of their employees’ bedrooms with their taxpayer funded positions.

  38. The employees should start by getting out of feeding off the Church’s trough or stick to the Church’s principles. Go work somewhere else.

  39. St. Vincents is much missed. Theirs was a legacy that any hospital would be proud of. In 1912 when the survivors from the Titanic shipwreck arrived in New York on the SS Carpathia there were teams of doctors and nurses with dozens of ambulances from St. Vincents waiting on the pier. The Sisters of Charity had wired the ship beforehand to advise them of preparations. When asked by a reporter for the names of any famous patients (the Titanic had been carrying the cream of high society) the sisters responded that they were taking only steerage passengers. The wealthy could have their pick of the best doctors and hospitals anywhere else in the city.

  40. Father Wilson says:

    Don’t worry about the outlying boroughs. The problem has been solved there too. There are no Catholic hospitals left in the five boroughs. Just a ten minute walk north of my rectory Saint John’s Hospital of Elmhurst stands. Empty, as it has been for many months.

  41. I have no doubt that when churches, hospitals, charities, and other Catholic institutions start closing due to Obama’s health care law, folks here on this blog will continue to vote for him and his party.

  42. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    The Church isn’t paying for those positions. They are simply a passthrough of taxpayer dollars.

  43. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Obviously, a study reported on a very conservative blog that reports the lobbying arm of the “Catholic” Hospitals Organization is going to paint the situation with their hospitals in a positive light.

    The beds won’t disappear. They’ll just be operated by non-discriminatory agencies that are able to employ the best talent, rather than the best talent that is straight and male (and presumably) Catholic.

  44. George, you’re exactly right, there is no doubt about it. They’ll still be saying ‘we have to find common ground’

  45. So don’t go to a Catholic hospital if you don’t like straight, Catholic doctors.

  46. Good point Sara. People overlook that the church goes to war over the gay marriage issue, and that involves both sexes. The Catholic Church is not anti women.

  47. When you make the claim the Catholic Church discriminates, you are striking a low blow, and a false one. Even Liberal Catholics don’t go that far. Why are you even here Tom, if you aren’t even Catholic?

  48. Deacon Norb says:

    I really REALLY would like to see a serious and honest discussion about appropriate Roman Catholic responses to Defense spending, the role of the military in our modern society and the associated balance between Defense versus Social Issues priorities in any future Federal Budget. The problem is — this specific blog-stream is not the place. “Mike R” and “Will” do want to contribute to this topic. No doubt others do also. I am one of several deacons who post on this blog who continue to have interest here.

    Let’s see if Dcn Greg can trigger a different stream. It really does not fit in a stream on the issue of Catholic Health Care and the bishops response to the HHS mandates.

  49. Deacon, IMO, I believe that anyone aware of what is going on in America today know which posts will bring out the strong differences from those on both sides of the divide in this country. If the comments really bother you, it seems it would be easy to just not post those you know by now will bring out what the emails from those saying “they can’t read the comments anymore because they have become an occasion for sin and are hurting them spiritually.”

    So if certain posts always get comments that are not what the blog is all about, seems like you can stop posting the red meat or prohibit one side from being able to comment by banning them or editing what they say. If you do either, I doubt you would have many coming back because if there is no debate, there are soon no readers. Ever see a pablum show on TV with good ratings? But if you do not care how many readers you get, you will find the choice of either above solving the problem.

    I think the give and take serves a purpose in that it allows one to see what the others viewpoint and to then lay out a response. Often I have learned from seeing how someone else handles an issue for a later live discussion. Sadly, I have seen some that seem unable to look at specific points and try to make solid point showing where they are wrong. I also see how many have a view or understanding of history that cannot be supported by facts. But I encourage you to keep up the good work. If some choose not to engage or do not like the debate, there are lot of sites around where everyone agrees and nothing is posted to challenge anyone to think.

  50. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Mark…

    It’s hard to avoid some topics that are dominating the news. And often, they’re the ones that get the most vitriolic response.

    FWIW: “Tom” has now been banned.

    Dcn. G.

  51. Barbara, If rules were not important to religion, why did God choose to write down the Ten Commandments in stone?

    I spent time Saturday with over 20 ministers from other faiths who are coming into the Catholic Church. It was really a blessing. The major attraction for them was the same one pointed out by Scott Hahn and that is the understanding on their part that Jesus did in fact give the keys to Peter and that the Catholic Church is the one Jesus promised to be with until the end of time. These people were not only bible scholars, but had spent a great deal of time reading the writing of the early church leaders. Once they came to understand where they needed to be, they looked back at many things that concerned them and what they all agreed on was that in their church, there was no one with infallibale protection in areas of faith and morals, no rules that clearly came from this solid protected truth they could go to in times of confusion in the world we live in today.
    They indicated that there is a massive number of others on this same journey and it is my understanding that this group will be involved in bringing them the rest of the way into the Church over the next year. They love the Church stance on the non negotiable issues and believe that had they had these truths in their churches, many would have been saved. I saw that there are over 15,000 Christian non Catholic denomiations and that new ones are starting each day as those who dissent just pack up and join elsewhere or form a new church.

    I also see many former Catholics who are starting to see what they are missing in churchs that hold the same views they held as dissenting catholics. Once they have the candy they were being denied, the found it held no value and I would bet this is true because it was in fact not true at all.

    One minister said, “are the Catholic rules tough in today’s world? Yes they are and everyone who tries to follow them will fail in some way. But if the person chooses to dissent, especially on those the Church has defined as essential for us to accept, we will soon find ourselves no longer able to see evil in it purest form. Once Satan has hooks into us, he does not let go without a fight.”

  52. The issue is the entitlement programs. Unless we adress them head on now, we are in trouble. I support defense cuts wherever they make sense, but the one sure thing the federal government is supposed to do is protect the people and our borders. 9/11 cost this country billions and also put in place programs supported by both parties that had an impact on our freedom. If we are going to spend money for defense, I think we need to know clearly who we are fighting and why. I agree with Ron Paul that we need to get back to having delcared wars, but in the war on terror, not sure how that is done as they care less about the boundaries of countries with safe havens all over the world.

  53. Scout, you are wrong on so many fronts. Here is a suggestion, try to change those you hang around because if they do not ” care (they don’t listen to Catholic radio, watch EWTN, or read these blogs). Listen to your own comment. Where do they get their teaching so they have a well formed conscience, MSNBC?
    You obviously have a low opinion of Catholic Church leadership and have not bothered to look at what the Church teaches or to try in humility to seek out why this is taught. You friends do not have a promise from Christ of infallibility on essential faith and moral issues and they seem unable to understand that there are some issues that are very serious and others far less so if our goal is to get to heaven for eternity. Killing 54 million babies should be the top issue on everyone’s list that believes that each of these babies was Created by God with a specific purpose and plan. The women of our parish have united in a massive letter writing campaign of support for the Bishops and all Catholic teaching. They are well founded in their understanding of Catholic teaching. If you spent time with this group, you would develop a far different outlook. There are over 750 in this newly developed group in our parish alone. They are not focused at this time on getting off track on the issue of birth control for the real issue is far more important and that is protection of our religious liberty. Our parish employees all come under the self insured program in the archdiocese and as such are alarmed at what might come next from the democratic party of death. birth control is only the one to get their feet in the door and much more offensive mandates will follow.

  54. The attack on religious liberty has been under way for a long time in this country. I am sure the new committee to review religious liberty issues will have this state attacks on the agenda as well as federal. Obama made a federal case out of it and we know how that works when you get a nation of bishops united on one imporant issue. It allows the full resources of the entire nation of diocese to attack the issue versus a single diocese.

    If we can win on this one on a federal level, fighting those on state level with precedent are much easier.

  55. I heard one discussion around a 30 day shut down of the Catholic schools with all the children showing up at the public schools to get their free education. If the schools then go into a massive building program, simple bring the kids back to the Catholic schools. Because of the size and scope of the Catholic Church and Her long history of care to millions on a daily basis, the options open to the Bishops are huge.

    Some would say this has an impact on the kids, but courses could be provided to the kids in the short term to allow none to be harmed and it could also be left to the individual parents to opt in. Lets face it, Catholics have been getting the shaft on being charged to pay for public schools with very little of the cost for generations and many are sick of this attack on religious liberty.

  56. I thought calling attention to good works was a Pharisee trait — the award is the instant accolade.
    Doing good works anonymously is a Christian trait — the reward is collected after death.
    Conclusion — it is very Catholic (or should be) to allow the contribution to be invisible.

  57. staffed by an evil profit making heartless corporation you mean….oh wait….hate the church first

  58. This is hogwash. There are thousands of women who have come out against the mandate. This is about socialist policies dictating everybody’s health care options.

    European courts are already trying to force pro-life, doctors and nurses to perform abortions. Yes, get the church out of public square and watch the eugenics program unfold.

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