Catholic Health Association Breaks with Bishops on HHS Birth Control Compromise

If you think women who work for Catholic hospitals should be able to access contraceptives as part of comprehensive health care packages, now would be a good time to celebrate a small victory.

Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO Catholic Health Association (CHAUSA), has accepted the compromise that Obama’s administration offered to Catholic non-profits. Keehan has officially stated that, while Obama’s latest effort is not ideal, “it was a solution that we could make work, because it allows our members not to have to buy, contract for, refer, or arrange for contraceptive services.”

There’s just one small problem: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops disagrees.

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Pedophile Priest Uses a Ticket to Heaven to Manipulate His Victim

This is one of the cases that pushes so many of us from being mere atheists into becoming angry atheists. It’s a case of unadulterated religious abuse — the kind that wouldn’t be possible if we taught our children critical thinking instead of unsubstantiated faith and unthinking respect for authority. This is the kind of thing that lends credence to the argument that “religion poisons everything.”

Like so many others before him, and doubtless many more to come, Belfast priest James Martin Donaghy has been convicted of sexual assault — a total of seventeen offenses against three boys, though he has since admitted to the existence of other victims. These were boys he found and groomed through his work as a parish priest. Tragic, infuriating, but hardly unusual.

The devil, you might say, is in the details.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Pledges to Challenge Religion-Based Health Care Providers

In a recent press release, the Freedom From Religion Foundation made it crystal clear that they’re willing to fight to keep medical care equitable and secular — particularly in Washington State, where several once-secular hospitals have entered into mergers with Catholic care providers.

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Secret Vatican Rentboy Ring Turns Out to be Part of a Pedophile’s Revenge Plot

This story has all the drama of a Vatican soap opera, and it’s moving at a breakneck pace. Don’t blink, or you might miss it.

First, the media got wind that Don Patrizio Poggi, a former parish priest once convicted of abusing young teen boys, had filed an explosive complaint with the Italian police. He alleged that a former police officer had been recruiting underage boys living in poverty to sexually service Catholic clergymen in Rome.

According to Poggi, the ex-Carabinieri “pimp” would approach youths at saunas, gyms, gay bars and discotheques. Most of the boys were Eastern European immigrants in need of cash. The unnamed pimp would lure the boys with offers of modelling and acting jobs, opportunities that invariably fell through. Instead, the boys were paid €150-€500 ($195-$650 USD) to engage in a variety of sex acts with Catholic priests, both retired and active.

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ACLU Concerned That Catholic-based Hospital Takeovers Will Put Patients in Jeopardy

The Washington state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped up to the plate to defend citizens against Catholic health care organizations that would impose their religious dogma on non-Catholic patients.

Joining ten other groups concerned with health care advocacy or civil liberties, the ACLU sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee (PDF), requesting a moratorium on hospital mergers until a “community health needs assessment” can investigate the impact of an institution’s religious affiliation on the availability of legal and medically appropriate care. The letter notes that all Catholic-run medical institutions are required to comply with the USCCB’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which prohibit contraceptive use, sterilization, and abortion, as well as most types of assisted reproduction.

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