“The Church cannot not oppose this unjust mandate…”

“This represents an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government to force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching. The mandate purports to define which religious institutions are “religious” enough to merit the protection of their religious liberty.

The Church cannot not oppose this unjust mandate. It is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.

These efforts to restrict religious liberty are seemingly founded in a reductive secularism that has more in common with the French Revolution than with America’s founding. They seek to delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about issues that will determine the future of American society.

As the pope told Castro in Cuba, in upholding this basic human right to religious freedom the Church is not seeking any privileges for herself. The Church does not seek to impose her views but seeks the freedom to propose them in the public square and to witness to them coherently so as to contribute to human flourishing in society.”

– Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, writing here.


  1. The plan that the federal government announced as part of the Affordable Care Act implementation is the same as already exists in approximately 28 states by law, existing for more than 10 years. Why have the bishops only now complained about this? Isn’t the federal government to assume that since it already exists in 28 states (including in New York), and since the Catholic bishops have remained SILENT all of these years, that this same proposal is acceptable? It is most strange that all of the sudden the bishops have decided to make this an issue, as they try to build their phony case of religious persecution. Oh, how our bishops like to whine and cry “persecution”. I guess that this makes them feel bold. They should be worrying about the billions off $$$$ that they have squandered in the sex abuse cases, and clean up their own messes, before announcing to the world that they have the answers for all others, in our religiously diverse country.

  2. Drake,

    Your not fooling anybody with your “Look over here!” comments about the sex abuse etc to get people off the topic that the government is trying to enforce a radical secular philosophy on the general public.

    Please stop

  3. Tyler:
    One can agree or not agree with the U.S. bishops’ position on the present administration’s health care policies AND be appalled by the manner in which our Church leadership has handled the sex abuse crisis. Linking the two is not always a distracting tactic.

  4. Archbishop Thomas Wenski has been a bishop since 1997. Why has he waited until only now to criticize this mandate, after all these years in which it has been in effect in 28 states? As he acknowledges in his own homily, America has many different religions, most of which allow for contraception. The new HHS mandate already allows for a religious organization exemption. The bishop is really arguing here for a broader one than he and his fellow bishops have comfortably lived with, or at least tolerated, for many years. This hissy fit of the hierarchy is simply their way to inject themselves in the current elections. And yes, Tyler, I do believe that this entire religious freedom, persecution complex now being promoted by the bishops is to distract us from the bishops squandering our billions of dollars $$$$$ in DONATIONS of our hard earned money. They have never apologized to the faithful for their blundering stewardship, and only begrudgingly acknowledge the thousands of victims of sexual abuse and their families.

    [Comment has been edited to remove ad hominem attack. -- Admin.]

  5. I hope the Bishops start to speak up about the obligations of a Catholic employer to adopt generous and family friendly policies such as paid time off when children are sick or are on vacation from school, generous family health insurance benefits, vacation time, sufficient paid leave when children are born or adopted, etc.

  6. Fiergenholt says:

    Archbishop Wenski is fascinating in a lot of ways:

    –It is my observation that while he can appear gruff and overbearing, if you stand your ground and you are proven correct, he will defer to your perspective and often change his.

    –Archbishop Wenski, for all sorts of reasons, is idolized by the Cuban-American community in southern Florida. He speak Spanish comfortably, went with Benedict to Cuba and went out of his way to preside at other ceremonies so that the Cubans themselves would get to know him.

    –NOW: the Cuban-American community in south Florida is VERY DIFFERENT than the Tex-Mex-American Community spread out all through the rest of our country. The Cuban-Americans are better educated, very wealthy, very influential in the local communities, very heavily Roman Catholic and very heavily Republican. The Tex-Mex-American community in the rest of the nation are — not untypically — part of the agricultural migrant stream. Those folks have a much lower educational attainment (as an average), are much poorer and are certainly at the bottom of the influence ladder within the wider society. They are also heavily Roman Catholic but are generally Democratic because of their serious worries about issues in immigration — which the Republican Party continues to ignore.

    Now, Archbishop Wenski does not have to worry about the larger and poorer and more marginalized Tex-Mex-American community because those folks don’t “settle-out” in southern Florida.

    Like I said — he’s fascinating!

  7. Laurie Harrington says:

    The bishops are being dishonest in this, as they were concerning the abuse of the children in their care. The mandate does not involve them at all in paying for contraceptives. I am pretty disgusted with them these days.

  8. Bill Foley says:

    from Bill Foley

    I aplogize that my comment does not apply to the article in question, but I have come across a paragraph that is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever read, and I want to disseminate it over the Internet.
    Human Person and the Tabernacle
    Paragraph from page 344 of Volume 1 of The Mystical Evolution in the Development and Vitality of the Church by Father Juan Arintero, O.P.
    “One day, at the time of Communion, Blessed Mariana of Jesus, the Lily of Madrid, being unusually aware of her lowliness and unworthiness, said to her Lord: “My Lord, the tabernacle in which Thou art is much more clean and beautiful.” Christ answered her: “But it cannot love me.” “From this,” said the holy nun, I understood how much more Christ prefers to reside in our souls than in gold or silver or precious jewels which are inanimate creatures incapable of love.”

  9. ron chandonia says:

    I wish Drake had not played the child-abuse card. Frankly, it reminds me of Bishop Jenky’s playing the Hitler card in his recent comments about the Obama mandate. It gets us nowhere at all.

    That point aside, I do think Drake asks a very valid (and necessary) question: Why is this federal mandate so different from the many state contraception mandates that have been put in place in recent years? I know the question has been raised repeatedly, and I have yet to read a solid answer. Unless the federal mandate is very different, I think Drake may be right that the furor over the issue has more to do with election-year politics than with insurance coverage for contraceptives.

  10. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Whether the bishops were negligent in not sticking up for Catholic teachings earlier and quicker or were lousy administrators in handling some bad priests is not the issue. The issue TODAY is the right of the federal government to coerce ANYONE to buy a product .And for religious people First Amendment freedoms are also at issue in being subject to the mandate coercion..
    It is interesting that very many non-Catholics who take their religion very, very seriously (like Evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews–even some Moslems) are strongly on the side of the Catholic Church. They fear that trashing the First Amendment when dealing with Catholics means they could very well be next on some issue.
    It is sad to see some Catholics so angry at the Church for one reason or another that they are willing to see ALL religions subject to government control and coercion as well as seeing the First Amendment eviscerated.

  11. ron chandonia says:

    The issue TODAY is the right of the federal government to coerce ANYONE to buy a product

    That is an issue for the Republican Party and others who oppose the health care reform package as a whole, but it is not an issue for the Catholic Church–and most certainly not an issue of religious freedom.

  12. I, for one, do not want the government to create a product (healthcare) and then demand that all purchase it. It is another tax, and it will end up not going into healthcare, but somewhere else.
    The question is, should we have basic universal healthcare for all in the U.S.? I believe we should have that access. Should the government be in the business of providing that care, I don’t think so.

  13. Fact — The Bishops lost the respect of the general Catholic population years ago.
    Fact — The state mandates (where they exist) have been in place for years with nary a word from the bishops in all that time.
    Fact — The federal mandate exempts churches and other ancillary institutions, making it less strict than the already-in-place state mandates.
    Fact — The hierarchy has indeed botched the sex-abuse scandals and continues to do so.
    Opinion — This IS election year politics.
    Opinion — This IS an atttempt to deflect from the sex-abuse mismanagement.
    Opinion — Such speeches are not going to give the bishops control of the general Catholic population. Their moral authority is gone; fear no longer works, and guilt no longer works.

  14. There is no end to what the government can force upon us. That really is what this is all about. This is all about wielding increasingly limitless power. I am not at all a historian but
    the quest for power and efforts to maintain it has left countless bodies.

    It is a falsehood to say this is for the greater good. It is for the disingenuous manipulation of people too focused on self-gratification to see how addicted they are to what those who
    control them are fundamentally about.

    This is the essence of contraception self-gratification so powerful that it gives me the “right” to demand or punish(in manners as yet to be determined by a state with increasingly limitless power) the people I require to pay for my chosen behaviors?

    What happens when the government requires your wives or husbands, or chuildren to provide “services” for whomever it chooses?

    What happens when the government thinks your infant does not match the “official” shade
    of multiculturalism and is relegated to the dung heap?

    What happens when PET scans or related monitoring devices detect thoughts which are “no longer acceptable”, via the electronically reproducible methods acceptable to the government approved science regulatory panels and appointed czars?

    You are simply fools to not see where this goes. You are either naive, deceived, ignorant, just plain stupid or fundamentally evil.

    Wake up and see where the alloy of selfishness, thirst for power and deceitful democracy

  15. I too would like to know what the Bishop’s response has been to this question:

    Why is this federal mandate so different from the many state contraception mandates that have been put in place in recent years? I know the question has been raised repeatedly, and I have yet to read a solid answer.

    Does anyone know? Thanks.

  16. The bishops handling of the abuse and other issues IS the issue to the extent that it speaks to their credibility as moral leaders (or lack thereof). Their handling of abuse and their current tone on the mandate both demonstrate that they believe authority is something to be demanded, not earned.
    The Catholics and frankly the majority of Americans are not joining the bishop’s mandate war not to punish them for past transgressions, but because they just don’t share the bishop’s views on this. They feel (rightly I think), that the bishops are way overplaying the First Amendment card. Their narrative says the First Amendment is “trashed” unless they are granted the power to enforce Catholic doctrine on the wider society. Most people, including a majority of Catholics, don’t want their insurance benefits dictated by someone else’s beliefs.
    The bishops absolutist stance on this issue shows that their bottom line is not to make sure the Church is not paying for birth control. The bottom line is to make contraception inaccessible to as many people as possible and to marginalize it or redefine it as something other than legitimate health care. Those who share the bishop’s tactical and strategic goals are virtually all members of the Religious Right – conservative Catholics, evangelicals, and a smattering of Jews, Muslims and the odd secular libertarian intellectual in the mix.

  17. Mark Greta says:

    Deacon Greg, the comments rolling out seem to be turning your blog into a Bishop blasting centeral control. You had the Bishop Jenky story and now this one on another Bishop. Both drew massive complaints from those who are pro democratic party and Obama shown by their anger that the Bishops are speaking out on religious freedom. I have seen nothing in the articles that suggest they are not firmly in support of Bishops in New York even if expressed in a different fashion. It makes one wonder if your position is also against the USCCB position on the matter as well.

    However, first I want to point out that while we should listen the the USCCB on all matters, they are not the Magesterium of the Catholic Church and this is not a magesterial issue. However, only a fool would not take the solid stand by all the Bishops in the USA into consideration in forming their conscience in this or any other matter. Attacking the entire USCCB and constantly throwing out the scandal of abuse of children by a very small percentage of priests covered up be a very small percentage of Bishops and thus saying in effect that all of them are evil and not worth listening to is like saying the apostles were not worth listening to becasuse of Judas with one in twelve being a higher percentage that we saw in the abuse scandal. When that fails, we then hear about Galileo, the Crusades, the inquistion, or the other ongoing list of talking points by those who hate the Catholic Church, many times democrats. What they hate is the Church stance on non negotiable issues such as abortion and marriage between one man and one woman, male only priests, the stance on marriage for life if it was a valid sacramental marriage, NFP and no to In Vitro Fertilization.

    It seems more like a cry out of those who know they are on the wrong side of moral issues and desperatly want the Church to agree with them so they can find peace. That the church makes this positions non negotiable and to be accepted by all Catholics forces them to either attack or admit they themselves are in grave sin and repent.

    What sparked this as anyone who pays attention knows is that we are moving with Obamacare to unprecidented power outside the constitution given the executive branch and the central government. It caused the President of the USCCB Cardinal Dolan to seek out clarification on several things while it was being created. You have to remember the Bishops have been in support of getting those without insurance coverage and lower costs of healthcare. However, they cannot support abortion which is a grave evil. Before this time, the federal government had restrictions with legislation the Republican Party has put in place to protect babies such as the Hyde Amendment blocking federal funds from being used for abortions along with many other Republican driven restrictions. The Bishops were first assured that abortion was not in Obamacare which was a lie when it was released. This became the focus of the attempt by Catholic pro life democrats desperate to serve the party to get those things ruled out. The democrat abortion supporters and planned parenthood put Obama, their partner in the white house, on notice that nothing could be removed. This left them short of votes and they by now with their lie had already lost the bishops. They gave a fig leaf to the pro life democrats lead by Stupak of an executive order which could be reversed by simply removing it later. A few lost their souls to this fig leaf to give Obamacare life and passage. Most paid in the next election or retired knowing what they had done. With that in place, the Bishops, now knowing they were dealing with liars and abortion supporting partners to the abortion mills, went to Obama for clear and certain assurances on another matter that they Church would still have religious freedom as outlined in the Constitution and obviously according to Cardinal Dolan got that assurance. His reason was that with Obamacare and with Obama little regard for the Constitution, that they could next mandate anything they wanted on everyone. This would mean saying everyone had to furnish abortions or euthanasia or any other grave evil. Cardinal Dolan came back from a face to face meeting with solid assurance which he related to the USCCB meeting last fall. He thought the matter of religious freedom was settled and then they got hit with another massive lie in essence taking away their promise of freedom and used birth control pills as their method to end religious liberty. What Obama and his party was doing was to try to shut up the Bishops and to marginalize them using the lie it was only about birth control. Get fooled by an outright liar once, shame on him, get fooled twice, shame on you and Dolan is no fool. He saw the liar face to face and knew him for what he is, a partner to the abortion mills. This united the Bishops for the first time in my memory since the birth of the USCCB. If they lose this battle, we all lose if we are pro life or pro the Constitution, or pro religious liberty.

    As to the various state plans, those are not a universal plan on every state and there are many various versions and many that have different protections for religious organizations. Many are also not enforced if the religious institution choose civil disobedience. We all know there is a vast difference between a state issue and one over all the states with the full weight of the IRS and every other federal agency. Throwing this out is something that indeed has been answered. But what really got this in full motion was the in the face lies of Obama and the use of birth control as the trojan horse with full intent to add anything they want on that precedent. Then those here could say they did not make an issue of it with birth control, why now with abortion or other grave evils. Doesn’t the Church teach that birth control is wrong also???? When you serve the prince of lies and get in bed with abortion mills, there is no limit to what you will do next as everyone who has been in grave sin knows full well.

    Now you can all start your complaints this is too long, and not bother to actually think it through and post something with real content instead of democratic party talking points built around lies.

  18. pagansister says:

    Maybe, Mark Greta, the bishops are doing things that cause them to be in the public eye, and on the Deacon’s blog? Why shouldn’t folks discuss these things?

  19. Many diocese self-insured in order to avoid the requirements of the State mandates. The Obama regulations are not allowing self-insuring Churches to avoid the contraception/sterilization/abortion mandate. That’s the big difference between the State and Federal mandates. The Federal Government plans to block the exit that was used to avoid State requirements.

  20. Mark Greta:
    Your comment to Deacon Greg:
    “It makes one wonder if your position is also against the USCCB position on the matter as well.”

    Considering the broad, newsworthy content of the topics posted on the Deacon’s Bench, I can’t imagine how that thought could have crossed your mind.

  21. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    “Mark Greta”…

    Your comment IS too long. And it’s outrageous. You know me better than that. Search this blog for “HHS” and see what I’ve posted. Did you not read or hear this homily that I delivered some weeks back?

    I’m waiting for an apology–both for your ridiculous baseless slam against me AND for monopolizing my bandwidth after I have repeatedly warned you not to post long-winded comments. Do it again and you’ll be deleted.

    I’m trying to be patient with you. But you aren’t making it easy.

    Dcn. G.

  22. The mandate is not to purchase healthcare from the government. Many options are available from insurance companies, including catastrophic plans.

  23. Drake – You’re not a fan of the bishops, I take it. First you complain about the bishops remaining SILENT (your caps, not mine. I don’t know why the caps. Most people consider caps to be shouting. Maybe shouting makes you feel bold.), then you complain when the bishops do speak up on something that they are whining and crying. As far as I’m concerned you’re just an apologist for slithering secularism.

  24. Raymond, the Affordable Care Act actually does NOT involve the government’s “creation” of a product, nor does it involve the government as a single-payer provider of health care coverage. Rather, the program is based on the health insurance industry that already exists in this nation. The individual mandate (which frequently gets derided by folks on the right) is the very same method of accountability and responsibility that Mr. Romney, Mr. Gingrich, and Bob Dole all supported ten and fifteen years ago. Contrary to what the right would have you believe, the federal government is not taking over the health insurance business. Now — would we all be better off with a single-payer system, the type that Britain and Canada have? Possibly. But that’s not what Congress passed, nor what the President signed.

    On a separate but related note: Wouldn’t it be nice if the bishops would have spent some of their time and energy championing the provision of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions? That would include children with children with pre-existing conditions (who were immediately protected from discrimination once the act was signed) and eventually adults with pre-existing conditions (for whom the protection begins in 2014, I believe — assuming the SCOTUS doesn’t strike down the law). As someone with a congenital heart defect, and as someone who knows families with seriously young children, I wish the bishops could make their complaints about the HHS provisions while also championing the provisions that put human health above insurance company greed. I’ll keep waiting for them to speak up on that one.

  25. Of course it’s a distracting tactic. It has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  26. Of course Barbara that would mean they would have to let go a third of their workforce to pay for that. Money doesn’t grow on trees. There are economic principles that reflect how much money goes to employees, how much to keep a sustainable business, and how much goes into performing the work they are tasked to do.

    So do you want such benefits with high unemployment or do you think it’s better to keep as many people employed as possible?

  27. “The bishops handling of the abuse and other issues IS the issue to the extent that it speaks to their credibility as moral leaders (or lack thereof). Their handling of abuse and their current tone on the mandate both demonstrate that they believe authority is something to be demanded, not earned.”

    So no matter what issue comes up, the Bishops no longer have a right to present a moral argument?

    Or do they have a moral argument to make only when they agree with KENNETH?

    You argument is baloney.

  28. Maybe they lost your respect, but they didn’t lose mine or the Church going population. Do you go to weekly mass?

  29. I am getting a little tired of the ad hominems vs the Bishops. I thought these kind of attacks were not permitted on this blog. Drake calling the bishops corrupt and immoral seems a bit over the top.

    [You're right, RomCath. His comment has been edited. -- Admin.]

  30. So Manny, anyone who criticizes the bishops must not a “good” practicing Catholic – That’s not fair and not true.

  31. I was responding to the satement that they lost the respect of Catholics. Did they lose your respect?

  32. Manny,
    I will answer your question. Yes,…and I struggle with it.

    Perhaps, you will understand if I tell you I am a Philadelphia Catholic (although I have just returned after having lived and worked in another diocese.) In the past, I was employed in the Archdiocese and am acquainted with several key persons in the current sex abuse trial.

  33. Sorry for the late-night typos. That should have been “children with pre-existing conditions” and “seriously ill young children.” (Though I do find myself wondering exactly what a “seriously young child” would sound like at the dinner table…)

  34. Katie Angel says:


    I am an active and church-going Catholic who was once the president of my CYO and is currently a EMHC, lector and RCIA sponsor. And, I have a very hard time maintaining respect for bishops in general and mine in particular. There were so many lies, so much secrecy and so little regard for the children during the sex abuse scandal that is hard to believe anything they say. I often tell people that I am Catholic in spite of the clery – that my Catholic faith has very little to do with the men who run the Church. When you add in how much time the USCCB spends concerning itself with specific political issues, rather than speaking out for morality in general, it is difficult for me to see them as anything other than another lobbying group.

  35. Chris Mac says:

    “Deacon Greg, the comments rolling out seem to be turning your blog into a Bishop blasting centeral control. You had the Bishop Jenky story and now this one on another Bishop…”

    I agree with this statement, and add that the story on Vicki Kennedy, Deacon, in which you personally blasted Bishop McManus of Worcester, seemed to show some bias. There, you said he had made assumptions and failed in his duty to meet with her. I argued (as Chris) that her public record stood for itself. (I’ve changed my screen name because there is another Chris.) Perhaps you should put up a disclaimer, reminding readers that you do not speak as a Deacon of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, and that this is your own personal endeavor. Your opinions might not always correlate with those of your bishop.

  36. I live in one of those states with a contraception mandate(with an exception for self-insurance). The bishops did speak, loudly, when the bills were up for vote. They didn’t win.

  37. Then how do these people, many with low wages, obtain health care?

  38. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Chris Mac…

    I’m frankly baffled that Mark Greta and others think this post on Arch. Wenski is somehow anti-bishop. (FWIW, I happen to be a Wenski fan.) Likewise with the Bishop Jenky story. That item was (and continues to be) stirring up a lot of controversy and attention, which is why I posted it and left it largely to others to discuss and debate whether or not he had crossed a line. It’s something on which reasonable people can (and do) disagree. The comments reflect that.

    Meantime, across five years of blogging, I think my record stands on its own. And I think readers know I speak for myself and for no one else. (Likewise, I think they understand that about Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who also blogs here, too, and who also only speaks for himself and not his diocese.) I think it’s clear that Patheos is not affiliated in any way with my diocese or my bishop and operates independently.

    Most readers get that about blogging clergy (though there are some exceptions like Msgr. Charles Pope, whose blog is part of the Archdiocese of Washington website.)

    But thank you for the feedback. I do appreciate it.

    Dcn. G.

  39. Ronald King says:

    It is through the open expression of differing beliefs and values that we discover our interpretation of our relationship to God and how we believe we should live out those beliefs and values. Faith is revealed through the friction of human relationships and this friction is called conflict. This conflict reveals how we may love God, self and others. It reveals how we fall short of the Love which God wants us to have for the people we love and for those we label as our enemies. It also reveals how we are still attached to the ways of the world which inhibilt us from developing and discovering the ways of God. If we fear government intrusion then we interpret everything through that fear and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and we create the relationship which we fear. Christ stated that the peace He brings us is not the same peace which we seek in this world. Opposition to the HHS mandate does not seem to be a path which will result in attaining the peace which Christ is talking about even if the mandate is overthrown through the courts. It would not exhibit a faith which would attract others through the luminous light of God, rather, it would seem to reveal a light which is created by friction and causes the fire which brings more heat and deludes us into thinking that this is the power of God being revealed when it is only one part of the human family expressing power over another part of the human family. It is the way of the world.

  40. Katie & HMS

    I can no longer reply to you, so I’m replying to myself in the hope you will see it.

    I understand your issue with the bishops. But at some point you have realize that those that failed to live up to expectations were individuals. You can’t blame the current bishops for the wrongs that others committed. If you perceive this as an institutional problem, then I can’t see how you remain Catholic. You’re saying the institution itself is corrupt, not individual people. Blame the specific bishops that did wrong, not smear the whole mess on all of them. That’s what the anti Catholic haters do.

  41. They always have the right to present a moral argument. To the extent they stake the rightness of that argument to their own positions as moral authorities, people also have the right to weigh it accordingly. Leaders who demonstrate a profound lack of judgment or moral fiber of their own are simply less credible than those whose action more closely match their words. That’s been true for hundreds of thousands of years and nothing, not even claims to the majesty of one’s office or apostolic succession, will change that.
    In past times and cultures where honor and personal standing actually meant something to leaders, those who deeply disgraced themselves went into exile, or even forfeit their own lives in battle (or even ritual suicide) to try to redeem their names. In more recent times, such men at least resigned their positions and made real apologies where they took ownership of their failings. Nowadays, in the Church (but also everywhere else), we get the no-fault corporate “mistakes were made” apology and we’re supposed to roll forward like nothing happened.
    The bishops low standing as moral authorities certainly isn’t helping their case on the mandate issue, but I believe that people are generally weighing this one on its own merits and finding the bishop’s position unpersuasive.

  42. “They always have the right to present a moral argument. To the extent they stake the rightness of that argument to their own positions as moral authorities, people also have the right to weigh it accordingly. Leaders who demonstrate a profound lack of judgment or moral fiber of their own are simply less credible than those whose action more closely match their words. That’s been true for hundreds of thousands of years and nothing, not even claims to the majesty of one’s office or apostolic succession, will change that.”

    Now you’re being schizophrenic. First you say they don’t have a moral authority and now you say they do depending on the listner. Your logic is stunning.

    I maintain my position. Bringing up the child abuse situation in a debate on insurance mandates is irrelevant. It’s not discussing the issue at hand and it’s what anti Catholics do all the time.

  43. So Manny are you saying a Catholic employer who will not provide insurance for birth control based on a religious objection has no obligation to support workers with family friendly policies because those policies eat into the profit margin? You support firing an employee for absenteeism who needs to stay home with a sick child? Isn’t your position hypocritical?

  44. Barbara
    Whatever the employer can afford. Dictating it from the government level forces his budget. You force him to have those benefits, you force him to restrict how many people he can afford to pay. You force him to carry workers who aren’t working, then he can’t afford to pay them. Do you have any concept of economics? Do you think employers are there as a means to hand out money?

  45. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    I think it is good to bring up even what some might consider “touchy” issues with comments and stories that Catholics who are orthodox and supportive of the bishops might not like.
    It is in reading the comments of some on here, for example, one clearly can see in their own words how some Americans are so enamored with and worshipful of government power that you can almost hear them chanting: “All Power To The Soviets!” or” liberalism is my Gospel” or ” Obama is my Church Doctor” or the” Democratic Party is my Church.”
    You can also see their ignorance of 20th Century History wherein governments drowned our planet in blood, but yet, today, some Americans just can’t get enough government and trust that ours will never go Amuck–Not Here! No Way! — Our Constitution will always protect us–Except many of those in Washington–including the current President–have expressed contempt for the Constitution.

  46. Katie Angel says:

    Manny, I did see the response and I appreciate it. I agree that we should not use a broad brush to paint both the righteous and the not-so-righteous the same color. And the bishops do speak out on issues of the economy, fairness and life issues unrelated to abortion. I do not consider them to be unhung villains or anything like that. It is more that I believe their authority would be more compelling if it wasn’t so closely identified with a particular political party. The bishops can and should speak to the moral decay of our society and call all of us to aspire to holiness – but they will be heard more clearly and listened to more closely if they do not then follow it up with a plea to vote for or against a candidate. When they do, they appear to be just another “special interest group” wanting the laws written to comply with their beliefs – instead of what they are, which is the apostic successors to Christ.

  47. Those who complain about too much government can eliminate the need for many government programs by taking the lead in providing for food, shelter, and medical needs for those in need.

  48. Ronald King says:

    Dear Deacon John, would you please describe the other side.

  49. Katie, hope you see this as well.

    I don’t see how one takes up political issues and not be associated with one of the parties. Believe me, as a staunch Conservative, there are many issues I disagree with the Catholic Church: capital punishment, expanding welfare state. I just take them as they come. I don’t distrust the Bishops or whomever in the Church as Catholics. If the society would suddenly become pro life, and that issue was off the table, I’m willing to bet the Catholic Church would be mostly with the Democrats.

  50. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    As has come out in the news some of the leading Republicans give far more to charity than many Democrats. VP Biden (embarassingly on this issue a Catholic) has become uncovered as notoriously stingy.
    Also, it is hard for some to set aside much money to donate because the government raids our wallets so thoroughly to feed corrupt enterprises like solindra or corrupt federal agency after corrupt agency like GSA. How about passing a law that for every dollar a person donates to charity a full dollar comes off the part of his taxes that goes to social programs . That will kill crony capitalism, corrupt government agencies, and limit the overweening bureaucratic power of government.
    But I’m sure the lovers of Leviathan Government would be the first to oppose devising such a tax code that could work

  51. Barbara,

    Running a business is a ridiculous exercise in pain and torture sometimes….you clearly do not understand what these regulations can do….most companies are not GE, Apple or general motors….

  52. Mark Greta says:

    Deacon, just got back deep enough to see this.

    I was not talking about the post, but the “comments” which seem to bash the Bishops on a routine basis over and over on every issue. If you look at the comments prior to my post, and in many times by the same people onother posts, the bashing of the bishops is becoming routine. I was simply finding it amazing that you never seem to stop them by edits or from posting on this Catholic site which made me curious as to why. I was not attacking your post in any way.

    As a Catholic, when we see massive error being spewed out, I think we should try to post what is truthful and complete. I am simply trying to make the point that on some issues in Catholic teaching, some are Papal Magesterial teaching which all Catholics are supposed to accept and believe while others such as issues on war, poverty, and even capital punishment, give us room to form our own viewpoint. I am pointing out the need for voters who support abortion candidates to find a proportionate reason for doing so and as ArchBishop Chaput and others have stated clearly, there is no possible proportionate reason other than if you have two abortion candidates to choose from, you might find a proportionate reason in that one is for gay marriage.

    If I am wrong, I am wide open to learning. I am not defending all Bishops or all priests, but the ongoing bashing of Bishops and priest with every post on almost any topic seems a little much and more in tune with those who have major issues with the Catholic teaching in general. The HHS mandate thing where all of the Bishops united seems to have driven some over the edge to full Bishop hatred.

    Your blog, but hopefully you will not reject those who stand up for Church teaching.

  53. Barbara P says:

    I am speaking about a Catholic employer acting according to a well formed conscience.

  54. Barbara P says:

    An employer who refuses to provide health insurance for artificial contraception based on a religious objection should be willing to make the economic sacrifices that need to be made for employees with families. The Lord scolded the Pharisees who placed heavy burdens on people while doing nothing to help them carry those burdens.

  55. Mark Greta says:

    Barbara is a staunch democrat and her posts clearly show why following the thinking of democrats leads to business being unable to add employees. They believe government should be involved in every aspect of every companies business with every increasing regulations.

    Your thinking shows the danger to Obamacare. right now they are mandating coverage of birth control pills. Pregnancy is not a disease that needs prevention as with flu shots. It is a natural condition of marriage between one man and one woman. Birth control in fact stops what is natural. If the employee wants to have children or not, that is the concern of the employee, not the employer. But the rub comes in the simple fact that this is only the beginning precendent. Next the employer will be forced each year to add more and more onto the new government mandated coverage for everyone. To the staunch democrat, government is their god and big government solutions are their mantra to everything. Obama has given us more debt in four years than all the president from Washington to W. Bush combined. And the sad fact is that all the bills are not yet in for the ever increasing entitlements. At the same time, more companies are reporting lower profits and thus unable to hire new employees because of these mandates and the cost of ever increasing regulations under Obama. Democrats have never seen a regulation they did not want to impose on the people or business. From flushing your toilet to light bulbs, freedom is lost every day a democrat is in office.

  56. Mark Greta says:

    Pagan, I am not questioning in any way Deacon’s post. I just hate to see a Catholic blog with a few who constantly bash the Catholic Bishops with every comment. Simple as that. Also don’t see how the abuse scandal needs to come up with each post where a bishop is mentioned. I assume that many believe the bishops should not be allowed to speak and that the Catholic Church must now remain silent forever. As the Catholic church is silenced, the country grows ever further from God as the secular godless religion is forced upon all of us with its mantra of tolerance to do whatever feels good.

  57. Doug Indeap says:

    The Bishops’ arguments on the health care law have gone from wrong to ridiculous.

    First, the Constitution. Confronted by questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith, the courts have generally ruled that under the Constitution the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, torts, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. (E.g., http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/494/872/case.html)

    When the legislature anticipates that application of such laws may put some individuals in moral binds, the legislature may, as a matter of grace (not constitutional compulsion), provide exemptions for conscientious objectors.

    The real question here then is not so much whether the First Amendment precludes the government from enacting and enforcing the generally applicable laws regarding availability of health insurance (it does not), but rather whether there is any need to exempt some employers in order to avoid forcing them to act contrary to their consciences.

    Second, no need for an exemption. While some may well oppose the law’s policy of promoting the availability of medical services they find objectionable, the law does not put employers in the moral bind some suppose. Many initially worked themselves into a lather with the false idea that the law forced employers to provide their employees with health care plans offering services the employers considered immoral. The fact is that employers have the option of not providing any such plans and instead simply paying assessments to the government. Unless one supposes that the employers’ religion forbids payments of money to the government (all of us should enjoy such a religion), then the law’s requirement to pay assessments does not compel those employers to act contrary to their beliefs. Problem solved.

    Some nonetheless continued complaining that by paying assessments to the government they would indirectly be paying for the very things they opposed, seemingly missing that that is not a moral dilemma justifying an exemption to avoid being forced to act contrary to one’s beliefs, but rather is a gripe common to many taxpayers–who don’t much like paying taxes and who object to this or that action the government may take with the benefit of “their” tax dollars. Should each of us be exempted from paying our taxes so we aren’t thereby “forced” to pay for making war, providing health care, teaching evolution, or whatever else each of us may consider wrong or even immoral? If each of us could opt out of this or that law or tax with the excuse that our religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

    In any event, those complaining made enough of a stink that the government relented and announced that religious employers would be free to provide health plans with provisions to their liking (yay!) and not be required to pay the assessments otherwise required (yay!). Problem solved–again, even more.

    Nonetheless, some continue to complain, fretting that somehow the services they dislike will get paid for and somehow they will be complicit in that. They argue that if insurers (or, by the same logic, anyone, e.g., employees) pay for such services, those costs will somehow, someday be passed on to the employers in the form of demands for higher insurance premiums or higher wages. They evidently believe that when they spend a dollar and it thus becomes the property of others, they nonetheless should have some say in how others later spend that dollar. One can only wonder how it would work if all of us could tag “our” dollars this way and control their subsequent use.

  58. Barbara P says:

    Mark Greta First – you do not know me so please do not make statements about me. Second my comments do not refer to any obligation or regulation imposed by the government. My comments relate to obligations of a Catholic employer imposed by our faith. Third I have no intention of debating your talk radio rhetoric.

  59. Hope you see this Barbara. I see your point. The employer should do the best he can. He should definitely make an effort. And frankly they usually do. Employers do not want to let go good employees.

  60. Barbara P says:

    Manny some employers do some don’t. If all employers followed Catholic principles there would be no need of any government regulations. Remember many government programs and regulations came about as a result of employer abuses, e.g. Child labor abuses. I am lucky to have an employer who gives his employees the time and flexibility to attend to family needs. His business is very successful and many employees have been with the company for almost 20 years.

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