New Memo from the Bishops Says HHS Mandate “Radically Flawed”

From the National Catholic Register yesterday, details of a March 29 memorandum addressing the problems with the HHS Mandate.

The U.S. bishops said that the government’s latest recommendations on its federal contraception mandate fail to address religious-freedom concerns.

In a March 29 memo, they said the mandate “still forces us to act against our conscience and teaching” and that the only real solution is to allow individuals and institutions to offer insurance plans that align with their moral convictions.
No matter what mechanisms are chosen to fund and administrate the mandate, religious individuals and institutions will be prohibited from providing health coverage that is “consistent with their values,” the bishops explained.

In the memo, the bishops commented on the latest development in an ongoing controversy surrounding a federal mandate that will require employers to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their conscience.

The mandate, announced on Jan. 20, has come under fire from numerous groups and individuals for infringing upon the religious freedom of those who object to such coverage.

A new advance notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Obama administration on March 21 outlines various recommendations for different ways to implement the mandate as it will apply to religious organizations that oppose the required coverage.

The administration has requested public comment on the proposals until June 19.
The bishops acknowledged that the “tentative and complex” proposals are very detailed and “demand further study.”

However, they said that their initial analysis suggests that they “are still faced with the same fundamental issues” identified in their previous statement, “United for Religious Freedom.”

Go read the rest.

Have you given the Administration your own personal feedback on the HHS Mandate yet? You have until mid-June. Go here to find the link, and see what Joe Six-Pack wrote.

In my comment, I referenced Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae. Joan Frawley Desmond writes in another NC Register piece today that the battle against the HHS Mandate is a call to dust the cobwebs off of Pope Paul VI’s message, and proclaim the truth on artificial contraception unabashedly.

WASHINGTON — Could there possibly be a silver lining in the federal contraception-mandate controversy?

For all the institutional disruption, political spin and vitriol generated by the mandate’s supporters, who have mischaracterized the bishops’ stance as a “war on women,” the crisis has yielded some unexpected fruits. Not only has it aroused the “sleeping giant” of Catholicism in the United States, prompting an energetic defense of the free exercise of cherished institutions, it has provoked a fresh assessment of Church teaching on contraception.

“The main issue remains that of religious liberty. But this whole episode has provided a catechetical opportunity to speak about the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life in its origins,” observed Archbishop-designate William Lori of Baltimore, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Contraception has been touted as the best possible thing for women and society, while our experience over the past 40-plus years suggests the opposite.”

“There is a new opening,” noted the outgoing bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. And while an increasingly toxic sexual culture has helped provoke a broader reassessment, young Catholics also have been inspired by Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body, which offers a deeply hopeful vision of human life and love amid a culture that has witnessed declining rates of marriage and a rise in non-marital births.

Not only are priests, in their Sunday homilies, offering a defense of Humanae Vitae, but the controversy has forced the media to provide a forum for Church teaching that has been ridiculed throughout the globe.

This week, Politico posted commentary by Lila Rose, the founder of the pro-life group Live Action. Rose affirmed the First Amendment rights of religious institutions to resist a federal mandate that forces them to cover health services that violate their moral teachings.

Then she countered partisan efforts to frame Catholic teaching as an attack on women’s fundamental rights, rejecting the suggestion that American women uniformly sought increased access to contraception.

Speaking for a new generation that has adopted a more skeptical view of feminist ideology, she stated, “We are women for whom the idea of artificial birth control as ‘preventive care’ is deeply insulting.”

“We don’t wish to take the country back in time; rather, we aspire to move it forward, beyond a time when women are treated as objects and pitted against their children and their religious institutions — and toward a time when truly emancipated women embrace their intrinsic dignity and, with it, their authentic womanhood,” said Rose.

Amen. That’s what Gloria Purvis was saying on the video that went viral.

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It’s amazing how God works his will on Earth through our weak human natures, isn’t it?

  • Terry

    The Bishops State:

    In a March 29 memo, they said the mandate “still forces us to act against our conscience and teaching” and that the only real solution is to allow individuals and institutions to offer insurance plans that align with their moral convictions.
    No matter what mechanisms are chosen to fund and administrate the mandate, religious individuals and institutions will be prohibited from providing health coverage that is “consistent with their values,” the bishops explained.

    It seems that even if the Catholic organization does not even spend one of its own dollars on the health insurance and the employee pays for everything, the bishops have a objection to it.

    If this is the case, the Catholic organization has the option of not providing any health insurance. That is the real answer. No organization is mandated to provide health insurance. If the Catholic organization does not like the health insurance then they should not provide it.


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