Cardinal Dolan Explains Catholic Opposition to the HHS Mandate

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave a brief interview a few months ago concerning the HHS Mandate. The YouTube video above contains the entire interview. The lawsuits it refers to were filed at that time by many Catholic organizations around the country in opposition to the mandate.

I think we are fortunate to have someone like Cardinal Dolan who is willing and able to engage the public at this critical time in our history. The way he conducts himself in this interview does us proud. He provides us with one of the few examples we have right now of how to oppose an issue with civility and courtesy.

Religious freedom hangs in the balance in America. It is absolutely imperative that we turn this mandate back.

The fight isn’t just for the Catholic Church, or even for people of faith. It is for every American, even those who support the mandate. If the government continues down this path of attacking religious freedom, then the rights of all Americans are endangered.

Ironically, those who, in their zeal to attack Christianity, oppose religious freedom and the rights of individual conscience, are just as much at danger as the rest of us. A government which attacks its own Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom will not hesitate to attack them. The precedents they are seeking to establish in order to attack the exercise of religion can and almost certainly will, if they are allowed to stand, be turned against them on some day in the future.

That is because the precedents have to do with the power of government to overreach the Constitutional boundaries which have held it in check for over 200 hundred years. If a government can force religious institutions to bow to itself in the manner the HHS Mandate would do, then that government is verging on tyranny.

I say that because the right to believe and to act on that belief are the core freedoms that any individual possesses. If the institutions through which we express and act on this belief can be attacked, then that goes to the heart of the freedom itself. The practice of ignoring the actual wording of the First Amendment to justify this only works because our educational system has left people ignorant of what the Constitution actually says.

This is the First Amendment. Read it and cherish it. It is under attack from our own government.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For more information about the HHS Mandate, go here.

  • Jessica Hoff

    The Cardinal is the sort of leader we need now.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      He is. I think that he was sent for this time.

  • Biltrix

    Cardinal Dolan has my support. Unfortunately, his popularity and influence have taken a huge hit since he invited President Obama to the Al Smith dinner. A lot of people, Catholic and non-Catholic cannot understand his decision to extend this invitation to the President, and you can expect to see more outbursts against the Cardinal up until October 6, when the dinner takes place. I find these outbursts against Cardinal Dolan very unfortunate, because he has done a great job demonstrating his leadership and leading the charge against the Administration’s HHS Mandate, which is a direct attack on our religious freedom in this country.

    Cardinal Dolan has given us his support. I may be in the minority right now, but I still believe he deserves ours.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you for posting this James. I wasn’t aware that people were so fixated on this dinner. I should have been, considering how people personalize politics these days.

      FWIW, I think Cardinal Dolan did the right thing by inviting both candidates to the dinner. No one could have stood any stronger for the Church and its teachings than Cardinal Dolan has. By inviting both candidates he makes it clear that this is not a matter of partisan politics but of religious principle. That’s an important thing for him to do. I’ve run into this same sort of thing (on a much smaller scale, of course) myself. I’ve had people get angry with me because I persisted in being friendly with those who fell on the opposite side of me in the issues, as if they thought I needed to “prove” myself by being rude and personally mean. However, there have been many times when my ability to at least talk to these people from a standpoint of personal trust has helped carry the day on passing pro life bills.

      I doubt very much that President Obama regards Cardinal Dolan as his supporter. In fact, I would imagine that he regards the Cardinal as a thorn in his side. The reason why is that Cardinal Dolan has done something I have not seen ANY other religious leader do: He has held to his principles and refused to toady to political power. I back him 100%. I don’t care if you and I are the only people in the whole country who feel this way. He has my support.

      The HHS Mandate is too serious for people to go off about things like this dinner, which are essentially inconsequential. I honestly don’t understand some people.

      Thanks for sharing this James. I apologize for the rant.

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  • Bill S

    After I promised myself I would not read any more articles on this website, I came upon this one. Wouldn’t trying to provide contraception for the most people drastically reduce the number of abortions? Shouldn’t this be exactly what the church would want? Oh yeah, the church looks at birth control as an intrinsic evil. Well it seems to me that the church’s stand on these issues is indefensible. But not to fear, we live in a free country.

  • Bill S

    Boy, it really irks me when Catholics complain that the HHS mandate is some form of religious persecution. Have we forgotten what real persecution is? Premiums for policies with the coverage cost no more than those without. Weaton College had the coverage and chose to drop it when it found out that it did. How miserable is that? Is this all about Pope Paul VI’s encyclical? What made him uniquely qualified to rule on such an important subject? Don’t tell me papal infallibility. I hope the majority of people in this country are on my side and not yours. I hope that the Catholics that don’t go to church every Sunday are more secular and do not mix religion and politics. What a mess this is going to be if Romney wins. Okay, I’m done.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      The HHS Mandate is an egregious violation of the section part of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Cost is not the issue. The issue is the government forcing religious institutions to violate their 2,000 year-old teaching on pain of crippling fines which would force the closure of some of this nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, many of its hospitals and charitable institutions. As for mixing religion and politics; the HHS Mandate is the political realm attempting to control and destroy freedom of religion. When people talk about mixing politics and religion in negatives tones, what they usually mean is that they want to use government to censure religious views that they don’t agree with.

  • Bill S

    This is like a nightmare. I can clearly see that Catholics are trying to impose their rules on employees and students. Yet they are complaining that their freedoms are being violated. I don’t see it. No one is forcing anyone to practice contraception. It’s just being required as part of a national health care program. And I will let you in on an important fact. Most Catholics practice contraception. Not many people see it as an intrinsic evil. The church’s ban on condoms is probably one of the most devastating rulings of the past and present centuries. That is an intrinsic evil.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It is not about contraception. It is about the government using its power to force a religious institution to violate its own teachings. It is about the government reaching past what it has a right to do. No one is questioning the rights of individuals to use contraception. No one is questioning coverage for contraception as part of a national health care program. But the government overreaches when it tells religious institutions to violate their long-held teachings or face government penalties. That is the crux of the matter. Whether or not the Church’s teachings are true, or whether or not members of the Church decide to follow this particular teaching does not matter. The question is whether or not the government can force the Church institutions to violate the Church’s teachings; if the government can bend religion to its will.

  • Bill S

    Thank you. I understand your view on the issue. This would be a non-issue if the pope would change the church’s opposition to contraception but to do that he’d have to admit that the prior popes were wrong. Presidents can do that but pope’s can’t. That’s a problem.

    I give up. Whatever else you have to say is fine with me.

    Peace be with you.