So Glad Comboxers Don’t Run the Church

So Glad Comboxers Don’t Run the Church February 10, 2012

One of my doomsayers announces that the bishops. just. caved.

So I go and look at what they actually said:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sees initial opportunities in preserving the principle of religious freedom after President Obama’s announcement today. But the Conference continues to express concerns. “While there may be an openness to respond to some of our concerns, we reserve judgment on the details until we have them,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of USCCB.

“The past three weeks have witnessed a remarkable unity of Americans from all religions or none at all worried about the erosion of religious freedom and governmental intrusion into issues of faith and morals,” he said.

“Today’s decision to revise how individuals obtain services that are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is a first step in the right direction,” Cardinal-designate Dolan said. “We hope to work with the Administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations.”

Um. No. They didn’t. just. cave. In fact, they haven’t backed down at all that I can see. They politely noted that Obama twisting himself into a pretzel to *look* like he was accomodating is, in fact, an acknowledgement of the fact that he has placed himself in a losing predicament and that he has had to do damage control. They acknowledge the attempt at damage control as a first step in admitting how wrong he is… and leave the door wide open for him to transition from appearing to do something to actually doing something. Instead of cornering the animal and making him fight, they are giving him room to get out of the fight without incurring undue damage when his inevitable surrender comes. But they are not, in the slightest, backing down that I can see. They understand his game.

So, combox counselors of despair: instead of perpetually prophesying doom, why not try prayer for our bishops and our Church as we fight this battle? It ain’t over by a long shot, but we have made real progress and the bishops have played this very well so far. You doomsayers help nothing by constantly throwing in the towel on the flimsiest provocation. Man up. Show some courage!

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  • People need to take a breath.

    1) The president spoke on a Friday afternoon. A thorough response from the USCCB could not have been issued before late, giving it the equivalent of a Friday Document Dump (low visibility).

    2) A quick response, to a document in which the details have not been seen, could have appeared too hasty, if negative in the least.

    I think the weekend is a good time to look it all over and offer a thorough response early next week when visibility will be high in news circles.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    The bishops did not cave. In diplomatic language, what Dolan just said was, “you’re kidding, right? This ain’t over.”

    It’s a game of chess. You can’t go screaming off into emotionalism in chess.

  • I would also like to suggest that we spend this weekend in deep prayer for the bishops as they work through this, rather than criticize them before they respond thoroughly to the detailed plan.

  • Dale Price

    It’s a bit of polite nothing in response to the President’s PP-endorsed air biscuit.

    It is *not* a surrender. There is a PR war to wage, too. The MSM will try to spin this into something that it’s not, but please read it closely. And follow Diane’s excellent advice for the weekend.

    • Confederate Papist

      “The MSM will try to spin this into something that it’s not”

      The statement was barely out of Tyrant Obama’s mouth and the MSM was already spinning away…..

  • LOL – I see that Father Z has closed his combox after posting the USCCB document. Good move.

  • Sophia

    Charlie Pierce (a practicing Catholic, btw) speaks for me and I think the vast majority of the lay people in the Church on this:

    Bottom line is the Red Beanie Boys have zero credibility on moral issues after what’s transpired in the last 10 years. They don’t speak for me and they don’t speak or most lay Catholics.

    • Margaret

      So because our church leaders are (gasp!) sinners, you need not listen to anything they say.

      And this is different from being Protestant how, exactly?

      • Sophia

        It’s more than just being “sinners”, a lot of them have proved to be criminals. This is a rouse by them to reassert their power.

        BTW, Vatican II pointed out that the whole Church includes lay people, and the vast majority of lay Catholics use birth control pills and have been disgusted by the awful conduct of our Bishops in the last 10 years.

        • Art

          Sophia, I unfortunately understand where you are coming from. I say that because I used to have the exact same sentiments. The issue is that no matter what a lay Catholic or what a Bishop says or does. The Church on matters of faith and morals is always, always right.

          If the majority of lay Catholics actually use birth control, it is because those people are either struggling with the teaching, in complete rejection with the teaching, or ignorant of the teaching. However that should not make us desire and love the teaching of the Church.

          I have known priests from the pulpit that don’t speak in light of Church teaching and that is problematic. Blame it on VII, however we must understand the true meaning of VII and its appropriate meaning for it. The defects of VII and its misinterpretation of it should not by default make VII a bad thing.

          • Art

            CORRECTION: However that should not make us *NOT* desire and love the teachings of the Church.

        • Mark Shea

          Interesting use of the genetic fallacy, but the reality is that the question of whether contraception is immoral or not has nothing to do with the moral failings of some of our bishops and everything to do with the faith of the Church, not merely among smug suburbanites for the past 40 years, but the *whole* faithful for the past 2000 years. The reality is, you are simultaneously telling Catholics who actually believe their faith “what I do in the bedroom is none of your business” and then attempting to make it their business by holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to buy you condoms, pills, and IUD’s. Make up your mind. I’d just as soon it not be any business of mine at all. It’s not like you can’t spring for some pills at the cost of a couple of Starbucks yourself. But since you insist on trying to force me to do it, I will insist on trying to wrench the gun out of your hand, bloody your nose good and proper as a warning never to try this again, and then go back to minding my own business. Pay for your own damn immoral acts.

          • John C

            Excellent, Mark Shea! It’s a good rule: “Pay for your own immorality!”

    • Sophia, we don’t care about the “Red Beanie Boys”. We care about the teaching of the Church, which Christ Himself protects from error. We are glad that the “RBB’s” are standing up for that truth, however.

    • Joseph

      So, you’re not Sophia, you’re Nancy Pelosi?

    • Dale Price

      Mr. Pierce deems himself to be quite clever. Alas, he’s not as clever–nor droll–as he thinks he is. “Red Beanie”–yep, he’s the next George Carlin.

      Let’s start with his rather tenuous grasp of basic math–insurers do not provide free anything, and are quite adept at passing the costs along to the rest of us. Nor does he address the quandry of Catholic institutions that self-insure.

      It’s kind of hilarious that those who shriek about alleged interventions in their bedroom lives neverthelese insist with even more vehemence that others pay for their contraceptives.

      Must be one of those “thinking Catholic” things.

    • Even Worse Catholic (Marion)

      As our host, Mark Shea, noted in a post the other day, contraception is as cheap as dirt. Nobody who actually has a job needs health insurance to pay for it.

      Obama’s move has nothing to do with making contraception affordable to women with jobs, and everything to do with co-opting faith-based organizations and agencies.

      Because he can.

      What other reason does the quest for unlimited power need to do what it does?

    • Scott W.

      So if a criminal tells you that aspirin is meant to relieve headaches, it doesn’t because a criminal told you.

      The fact is, contraception is evil not because the old man in Rome arbitrarily says so. It actually IS evil because it disorders the marital act. This is defensible from logic, history, (non-ideologically addled) intuition and yes, constant Church teaching.

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    I don’t believe you or Charlie for a moment. I hate that our hapless bench has handed you several excuses, but we don’t buy them.

    It’s something else motivating you, and I don’t think you can even admit it to your self.

  • Art

    Proceed with caution Bishops, as I am 100% positive they will! Obama has already messed up on this and I wouldn’t trust him with another 4 year term to reverse something he is promising that he will undo now.

  • Mike

    Does it actually make a big difference if they actually caved, if their statement makes it appear that the “Compromise” on this is somewhat acceptable or positive on the surface.

    The President is hoping that the Church takes weeks to digest and study this rule and think about their next move while this gets out of the public eye. This is exactly the type of move that took place during the initial passage of PPACA. The President took advantage of a statement like this on the “positives of health insurance reform” and “coverage of the poor” to implement a weak Abortion and contraception restriction that we collectively fell for and put us in this situation with HHS in the first place.

    There is a time for diplomacy, and there is a time for being clear and bold in your language that this “compromise” is unacceptable. That is where the frustration is coming from Mark. Perception matters here.

    • Mark Shea

      Yes. It makes a difference. Hotheads who want to make Obama crawl rather than defeat Obama decisively need to cool down.

      • Art

        Agree we should defeat him! That being said, has somebody from the Obama administration actually reached out to the U.S. bishops’ conference for discussion?

        I will say that the only acceptable solution is for the administration to rescind completely the mandate to cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception and not have lose terminology. As Mike already pointed out, I would hate to be fulled again.

        • Art

          *FOOLED* <— UGH… I fooled myself when typing "FULLED"

        • Mark Shea

          They have no interest in reaching out to the bishops. They want to defeat the bishops. That’s why they reached out to Keehan, to use her and whatever other suckers they could find as tools for attacking the bishops and everybody else who can see what a phony deal this is.

          • Art

            Mark this is heart breaking. Well, I will continue for pray for all parties involved.

      • Mike

        Can we defeat Obama on this issue without being clear and direct on that this “compromise” is unacceptable? Again, perception matters here, especially with a laity that is possibly unaware of certain political and doctrinal realities.

    • Appearance is important, but it is not the same as reality. Perception is NOT the same as truth.

      There is the slender theoretical possiblity that Obama’s proposal might have some openings for negotiation and dialogue. The bishops wisely refrain from saying “No way, no how, never!” until they have actually read through and thought through the document. Then, their response can be based on truth rather than prejudice or PR points.

      It is truth that will ultimately set us free.

      • Mike

        Sometimes dialogue requires, in fact in a lot of cases it demands that you set specific and direct expectations to the person you are negotiating with.

        You never want to negotiate from a position of weakness.

    • Joseph

      It’s also Friday, lest you forget. There was a political strategy by Obama to produce his lame “compromise” on Friday… it’s a slow newsday and it’s headed into the weekend. The bishops, I think, if they’re smart, will scream bloody murder on Monday morning just to keep it fresh.

      • Joseph

        They came out with a strong statement today. That’s even better than I had hoped. Hooray!

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Yeah,that all started at Vatican II. Those red Beanies you deride publish a document chastising the laity for abandoning the faith to priests and religious, and you construe it as finally including you. And what to do with this inclusion? Why, decide I don’t need to listen to those stuffy old bastards who wrote the documents of the council. So you accept their councils and not their leadership?

    Sorry, Mark, but American ignorance and arrogance are always funny when combined, as our poorly named commentor, Sophia, so well demonstrates.

  • alan

    as John Ruberry said, “Obama’s new plan is analogous to having a father take $50 out of his wallet and put it in his wife’s purse to pay for their son to attend a rap concert he doesn’t want junior to attend”.

  • Confederate Papist

    I’m with the bishops. I don’t think they’re going to drop this and I stand with them!

  • Sophia

    Look at this:

    But remember, paying for the pill is what matters.

    This is just a course by the Read Beanie Boys to try to get their credibility back from the child rape scandals.

    • Dale Price

      Your evidence for this is what, precisely?

      Exercises in wishcasting don’t count.

    • Joseph

      Yes, yes, yes. You’re right. I has absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom. Got it. Now can you go back to the camp where Keehan is chillin’ out drinking her Mai Thai’s financed by the current administration? Please?

      • Dale Price

        The Patriotic Association Catholics aren’t just in China any more.

      • Ronald King

        I thought you were taking a break.

        • Joseph

          I know. I’m sorry. I’m too fired up. I know how stupid I look right now.

          • Ronald King

            If we were neighbors we could go out for a 10 mile run and burn off some of the passion, get some endorphins kicked in and perhaps feel good for about 4 hours until we turn on the computer again.

    • Mark Shea

      I know you are trying so hard to cast this as We Free Thinking Laity Against our Evil Bishops, but you see, dear, I think contraception is immoral too, and I have no child rapes on my conscience I’m trying to distract anybody from (which is also, by the way, true of the vast majority of our bishops). So the theory that this is just intended as a distraction doesn’t fly. Believe it or not, whether I am forced to pay for your abortion or contraception matters to me, not because a guy in a beanie says so, but because my conscience says so. Until you face that fact and realize you are up against more than a handful of guys in red beanies, your attempt to pretend conscience doesn’t matter is bound to founder. Try and get outside your ideological bubble and imagine that serious Catholics are actually capable of thinking. Stop using bumpersticker slogans and try engaging some of the points put to you.

      • Sophia

        OK, I’m up against the Red Beanie Clan and their Clericalist fluffers.

        You’re up against the vast vast majority of lay Catholics, especially women. That’s sure to revive the Church in this country (which is bleeding members). Sure.

        • Telemachus

          So… the Church should change her teachings because the laity are sinning constantly? Maybe the Church should pronounce pederasty to not be a sin. Then you wouldn’t have anything to criticize the clergy for, right? The logic is stunning.

        • rakowskidp

          The Church should start endorsing sin because the “vast majority” of lay Catholics would prefer that to feeling guilty instead?

          Imagined Our Lord Himself regarded His Church as a democracy. When a significant number of His disciples stopped following Him after the Bread of Life discourse, He may have insisted that they’d misunderstood – you know, because the Church was starting to bleed members.

          I’m constantly amazed at the lengths to which some segments of the Church will go in order to justify their favorites sins.

          • Sophia

            So you’d like the Church to lose 98% of its female members tomorrow? You’d prefer a “leaner” and “meaner” Church?

            Sometimes I think certain Catholics want the Church in America to turn into just another fundamentalist evangelical sect with better vestments and a liturgy. It’s scary.

            • rakowskidp

              No, I want sinners to repent and come to a understanding of the truth. The Church’s teachings in this area are quite well-reasoned if you don’t already have your mind made up that the RBBs are to be disobeyed at will.

            • Mark Shea

              The Church will not lose members because it refuses to submit to a stickup from people too cheap to pay for their own condom and so vindictive that they want to force people with qualms of conscience to do it for them. it will only lose bullies like you, who will leave to go sulk because they got their nose bloodied when they tried to beat up innocent people and force them to violate their consciences. You want contraceptives? Buy them yourself.

              • Sophia

                No the Church will lose members because it’s increasingly allying itself with the right-wing in the GOP and using diversionary tactics so no one will be looking when they CONTINUE to sweep the sexual abuse scandal under the rug.

                You’re outraged about money going to buy birth control pills. Fine.

                You should be more outraged that money YOU put in the collection plate is still used to defend pedophiles and cover up crimes.

                • Chris

                  Speaking for myself, I can certainly be outraged at two things at once. Can you?

                  • Sophia

                    Doesn’t seem like Mark can. He’s posted *nothing* about the new story on the abuse scandal I gave the link to above. Because that would make the RBB’s look bad–and We Can’t Have That.

                    Clericalism. Pure and simple.

                    • Mark Shea

                      I’ve posted plenty about clerical abuse here. But since you are a troll, you wouldn’t know that. Meanwhile, you have no actual interest in the victims of clerical abuse. You are simply using them as human shields to make Catholics who object to paying for your contraception do it anyway. Using children as human shields for your bullying is as low as anything an abusive cleric or an episcopal protector has done. How do you sleep at night?

                    • Snort! If you’d been around here for more than a day, you’d know that Mark is pretty hard indeed on bishops who protect predators. Search for “Cardinal Egan”

                • Mark Shea

                  If you weren’t a troll, you’d know I am. But since you are a troll whose only interest in the victims of these crimes is to use them as human shields in your war on Catholics of conscience (who abhor both child abuse and the coverup *and* immoral acts of abortion and contraception) you haven’t a clue. You are a low and loathsome utiliizer of the agonies of abuse victims, deploying them in order to make excuses for holding a gun to the heads of people and making them violate their consciences. I think that’s quite as despicable as the most vile episcopal protector of abusers. Enjoy the company you keep, you filthy hypocrite.

            • Chris

              The Catholic Church started with a 13-year old girl and the Holy Spirit.

              I have it on good information we’ll survive the “exodus” you forecast.

            • Mike


              I’m sure that’s the logic Sibelius and Jarrett used with Obama to get him to go along with this. If THEY believed it was true, they wouldn’t be furiously obfuscating and looking for a way out.

              May God bless and keep you,


        • Mark Shea

          Right. It was because the vast vast majority of Catholics had no problem with your draconian Master’s assault on religious liberty that Obama had to back down. No firestorm of protest at all. You’ve jumped from the genetic fallacy to the ad populum fallacy. Are you stupid or just the dishonest person you appear to be?

          • Sophia

            Read the chart, Mark:


            The only people that cared about this besides the Clan of the Red Beanie were white evangelicals. Not Catholics.

            • Chris

              It’s irrelevant. If the entire world were faced off against one priest and a consecrated Host, guess who would win?

              The Church doesn’t care about opinion polls. It didn’t care when the Roman Empire fell, or the Ottoman, or the French, or the British, or the German, or the Soviet — and the Church will certainly still be here when you and your ilk succeed in finishing off what’s left of our once-great nation.

            • John Graney

              Oh, and the Orthodox, who are Not Very White, in general. As if that really mattered; but apparently it matters that the Evangelicals are white. You’re going to need a new epithet for the Orthodox Bishops, who have very nobly been showing off their apostolic succession.

              Your ecumenical concern is noted.

              The trouble with liberalism in this nation is that it has become conservative and parochial.

        • Chris

          The Red Beanie Clan and their Clerical Fluffers? What is that, the new N-word?

        • Dale Price

          Spoken by someone happy to be teabagged by the Administration at will.

          • Dale Price

            Someone who may very well be “‘Reality’ Check” or similar intoner of the talking points of Metronome Amanda Marcotte. The reference to “fluffing” (a porn industry practice) is a pretty big hint–Marcotte confuses excessive vulgarity with originality.

            As is her inability to think outside of said talking points.

            • Margaret

              See, I didn’t even know that was a colorful reference. I will, however, refrain from googling it. Just as happy not to know…

        • Joseph

          @Sophia (aka, Reality Check, Nancy Pelosi, et al)

          “OK, I’m up against the Red Beanie Clan and their Clericalist fluffers.”

          Oh yeah. Well we’re up against the poopy clan with the stinky poopy pee pee clan… members… Poo poo pee pee to you, too!

          Sorry, I sorta stumbled down to your level and wit.

  • brian

    The bishops will be my primary intention tonight when I do my Adoration Hour.

  • Vincent

    While I am not engaging in the game of sheep trying to find lost shepherd, it seems that there are examples of Catholic hospitals and schools that engage in buying contraceptives for their employees. It seems that this situation seems to require certain clarifications from our bishops while they speak against contraceptives at this while so many of the hospitals and Catholic schools in their dioceses engage in such practices. It does set up our bishops as hypocrites .

    • Telemachus


      It seems they have been sleeping on the job. Maybe they are mostly hypocritical. However, they are finally doing something about all this stuff, and we should be standing behind them for finally asserting orthodoxy.

      God bless,

  • Telemachus

    Why is nobody mentioning that it is immoral from the stance of the Catholic Church for ANYBODY to be forced to pay for contraception, abortion, sterilization, etc.? I don’t mean here, in this com-box, I mean the various official statements. There’s so much emphasis on the “religious liberty” aspect of things. Is it just because the “religious liberty” aspect is so obvious?

    Personally, I think the Bishops should force the issue until Obama capitulates entirely on the lack of religious exemptions, and then the Bishops should take the offensive and begin a campaign against anyone having to pay for these “services.” That would be cool.

    God bless,

    • Joseph

      Because it’s been mentioned in previous threads in previous posts… but it has been mentioned.

  • Therese

    The answer, as others have stated is to pray and fast, just as Cardinal George called us to do in his letter
    ( And what better prayer than the rosary? the rosary is a very powerful prayer,
    especially when many people unite in praying it together. Let’s join in a Rosary Crusade for America!

    Father Francis (Rocky) Hoffman and the listeners of Relevant Radio will be praying a 54 day rosary novena for the intention of reversing the HHS mandate. The rosary will be broadcast live each day at 7:30 A.M. CT (8:30 A.M. ET, 6:30 A.M. PT) starting tomorrow, Saturday, February 11th (the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes) and ending April 4th, which is the Wednesday of Holy Week. If you don’t have Relevant Radio broadcasting in your area, or the signal is weak, you can join in their live on-line broadcast at

    Several miraculous victories have been attributed to the faithful praying the rosary. The rosary was instrumental when the outnumbered Christian forces defeated the Turks at the battle of Lepanto in 1571.

    More recently, the rosary helped drive the communists from Austria after WWII. The Allies had partitioned Austria into four zones. The Russians were in control of the most important section; Moscow, interested in maintaining its control in Austria, garrisoned a very large number of troops there. It was then that a Franciscan priest, Fr. Petrus Pavlicek began a Rosary Crusade to save Austria. The Communists tried many times to take complete control but were not successful. In the meantime Fr. Petrus continued recruiting more members for the crusade. By April 1955 the crusade had 500,000 members. The Chancellor of Austria was summoned to Moscow, and was received on May 13th. He wrote: “Today, a day of Fatima, the Russians are still hardened. Pray to the Mother of God that she aid the Austrian people.” It seemed all was lost, but it was at this moment that God intervened. In May 1955, there was a miracle, the Russians suddenly granted independence to Austria. The decision was made on May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. During the thanksgiving ceremony in Vienna all the speeches attributed the victory to the Virgin of the Rosary.

    Please spread the word far and wide. As Father Rocky said, we must unite in

    • Mike


      Thanks for this post. One note: it’s 6:30 Mountain and 5:30 Pacific.


    • Ronald King

      Excellent post Therese. It is refreshing to read this and let go of all the bashing. I will join in. God Bless You and the Obama administration and everyone for or against this mandate in order to be guided by God’s Love to a resolution that heals rather than divides.

    • Joseph

      That will guarantee results… even if it’s just what it does to your personal life and the lives of others around you. And at least that’s conforming more to God’s will in this case than picking up a pitchfork and torch and raiding the White House. Awesome. I’m hoping that our bishops make a specific call for this at Mass.

  • Chris

    Did anyone else notice that they also did away with the one-year “grace” period? The Church now has until Aug. 1, 2012 to figure out how to violate Her conscience.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Again, Sophist, do you have anything at all besides insults, slogans, and pretty drawings?

    Frankly, if you were a mysoginist posing as a woman, I don’t think you could do a better job of characterising a certain kind of suburban ditz.

    • Joseph

      I’m getting the nagging feeling that Sophia is actually the latest incarnation of Reality Check… but I’m not sure. I’m sure there are more of them where she came from. After all, if you spot one roach on your kitchen counter, there are usually hundreds hiding in the wall.

  • I think the bishops should hold out for a complete rescinding of the mandate, AND an abject apology from the President for trying to subvert the First Amendment.

    And while they’re at it, they should join together with all the other religious leaders supporting them and demand that Obama recognize publicly that the Constitution says we have “freedom of religion,” not just “freedom of worship.” He will have to pledge himself to the traditional understanding of the religious liberty: that it extends not just to church, but to every area of life.

    Naturally, the lying weasel will try to wiggle out of it.

    Let’s keep this going until August and beyond if we can. They longer this sticks in the public consciousness, the more people will wake up to the fact that Obama doesn’t understand or like either the Constitution or freedom.

    And then oh, how he will sink at election time. Please, God!!

    OK, I guess this scenario will never really happen. But I just had to say it. I needed to get the ten-ton weight off my chest.

    At any rate, let’s pray that our bishops will do the right thing and except no weak compromises.

    • Aaagh, I mean “accept no weak compromises.”

  • Josh

    And, while you’re at it, why not try prayer for our president?

  • Kirt Higdon

    The bishops haven’t caved, but neither has Obama. Scott Richert has an excellent analysis on his blog that exposes the trickery of what Obama is attempting to do. This has not yet played out. BTW, I emailed to my representative in Congress (a Catholic republican) and my two senators (republicans) concerning this assault on the Church. So far, just robo-replies from two of them to let me know they had received my email and no reply at all from the other. By this time, I’m pretty much used to that type of “response” from my elected “representatives”.

  • Del Rayva

    So here’s the thing. I have health insurance for me and my family that I buy from my employer, and is subsidized by that employer.

    Now, I expect that it probably pays for a number of things I object to, including contraception, sterilization, IVF, etc. And I am paying into that plan. This is, as near as I can tell, remote material cooperation with evil. Not something one wants to do lightly, but something that can be done for a just cause. Paying for my family’s health care seems like a just cause to me.

    I’d wager most of us who signed the whitehouse petition are in the same boat.

    The utter disregard for Catholic consciences in Siebelius’s actions is contemptible. It seems, however, that a lowing of voices might be beneficial to accomplish a reasonable resolution. We as Catholics should take care not to unnecessarily tie the bishop’s hands in what will likely be careful negotions, once the HHS realizes they must do more than issue dictates or disingenuous “plans B”.

  • Alfredo Escalona

    We started with twelve. We can do it again, God willing.

  • Chris

    KABOOM! Bishops just called Obama’s bluff.

  • Mike

    This is a war of good vs. evil. It’s been going on for a long time. This is one battle, albeit a very crucial one. The strategy and tactics required to win are very tricky business given the strength of the opponent. The bishops know this ‘accommodation’ is merely a tactical feint by the enemy, and they don’t need to – they are required by good judgment not to – respond in knee jerk fashion. Clear, measured thinking and action are what is required.

  • Excellent statement by the bishops, stressing that the whole mandate is wrong. Let’s keep it going!

    • Margaret

      I am really kind of stunned by the last few weeks. Our Entish bishops have been awoken.

  • RobJ

    The moral issue isn’t whether an employer has to *pay* for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization. It is whether an employer is compelled to *provide* those products and services to its employees, directly or indirectly, regardless of cost to the employer.

    Suppose that a group health insurance policy covering contraceptives actually costs *less* than an otherwise-identical policy that omits them. This is a plausible scenario, because employees who use contraceptives might get pregnant less often, and therefore file fewer childbirth insurance claims, which are fairly costly. The savings from fewer childbirths *might* outweigh the costs of contraceptives.

    In that case, the employer should *still* be able to choose the policy that omits contraceptives, based on religious and moral beliefs, because contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization are a moral issue, and not a health care issue, regardless of how often politicians confuse the word “preventative.”