Cardinal Dolan on the HHS Mandate: “If we give in now, they will not leave us alone.”

Cardinal Dolan on the HHS Mandate: “If we give in now, they will not leave us alone.” May 29, 2013
Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/AP

Kathryn Jean Lopez, a blogger neighbor of mine here at Patheos, and a writer for National Review Online, has been closely following the story that the New York Times published back on Sunday. More importantly, she has been following the response of Cardinal Timothy Dolan after the story was published.

In a blog post, Ms. Lopez expressed the sentiment that she wished everyone followed Cardinal Dolan’s radio show over on the Catholic Channel broadcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. At 200 bucks a year (and $3.50 a month to listen to the show on-line), I’m just thankful that Ms. Lopez listened for us.

Here’s a snippet from her post on Patheos regarding Cardinal Dolan’s demeanor on this issue.

— his tone was not of a media savvy spinmeister bishop trying to fix bad press — it was of a pastor who himself was scandalized by the whole thing. And this, I might add, is a man who has seen some of the worst, having been assigned to priest abuse and reforms in St. Louis and Milwaukee.

The scandal was not in being exposed by the New York Times, for this was something he knew about and had previously publicly indicated was the case.

He sounded as if this might be what he takes to the Blessed Mother in prayer: That in recent decades people in the Church have contributed to the problems, have contributed to the culture of death, sometimes unintentionally. Please walk with me, walk with us, as we bring Christ’s healing to this world — and His Church.

Here’s a snippet from her piece over on NRO,

On the Tuesday episode of his radio show, Dolan addressed the issue in a tone of both sorrow and resolve, emboldened just weeks before the bishops’ second Fortnight for Freedom prayer and education effort in the run-up to Independence Day. Talking about the Fortnight plans on another radio show, Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori asserted: “We are really at the outset of a movement that includes other religious faiths and communities, and a lot of other people of good will, to really make sure that religious freedom does not disappear from this country.”

In response to the Times piece, Cardinal Dolan recalled that when deciding to sign onto a lawsuit against HHS over the “preventative services” mandate, archdiocesan officials warned him “you need to know that there might be one or two groups that under our Catholic Charities umbrella . . .” He explained how it happened: ”Sadly, 20 years ago, my predecessor fought it tooth and nail” and ultimately “compl[ied] under duress.”

He called the situation “odious” and argued that it “only points out the urgency” that we fight this latest government overreach and “why we need to stand firm” on threats to conscience rights.

In a statement, the spokesman for the diocese, Joe Zwilling, points out that the Times piece ”incorrectly equates the health care benefits of the members of Union 1199 – including those 1199 employees at Catholic facilities – with the Health and Human Services mandate that improperly attempts to define the Church’s religious ministry and could force religious employers to violate their conscience. The Constitution and other provisions of federal law prohibit the government from imposing the mandate on the Archdiocese. A labor union is not subject to the same constraints as the federal government in this regard, and so the fact that 1199 requires these benefits as part of its plan does not excuse the government’s violation of the Archdiocese’s federal rights.”

A friend close to the situation adds that we best not forget “the most offensive aspect of the HHS mandate is not just the money flow, but the coerced speech . . . The HHS mandate would require us to list contraception and emergency contraception in our own plan booklets, endorsed by us, distributed by us, explained by us, counseled by us.”

This union story the Times highlighted Monday is a window into the “ski slope,” as Cardinal Dolan put it Tuesday, that has lead to the point where the federal government would coercively mandate that Americans provide not just “birth control” employee insurance coverage — as the Times leads with – but sterilization and abortion-pill coverage.

Further addressing the connections between the story of union power politics and the HHS mandate fight, Dolan said: “If we give in now, they will not leave us alone. No. That never happens.” Twenty years ago, it was a union. Today it is the federal government, in a regulation it has manipulatively demogogued into utter confusion.

Read it all.

I suspect we’ll be reading a blog post by Cardinal Dolan on these issues soon. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!


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  • askingquestion

    So if the laws aren’t repealed in time, what will they do?

    • Invictus_Lux

      The same thing the secular laws did to the Catholic Church in England when The State got into the business of religion. Everyone becomes secularized over time (becomes protestant) or goes back underground to hide in the catacombs if they want to remain Catholic (and adds prayer intentions that they don’t get caught or ratted out).

      • michicatholic

        Always trying to find somebody else to blame aren’t we? Please.

        • Invictus_Lux

          Explain. Who’s trying to blame someone else? The Blame lies squarely on the bishops who NAIVELY backed the Obama administration’s plan for state medical and did not even have the foresight to get exemptions to the thing like all of the unions did before it was made into law. They were clueless that the Obama administration and the progressives intended all along to come right at the Catholic Church to force it to become a new “americanized” secular denomination that takes its marching orders from the state rather than the Vatican or else it was forced to get out of the charity business and relinquish its sway over all the lower class and be neutered of all political threat. The State is playing chess with the Church and just about check-mated it with every move designed to cause harm and advance he state and diminish the threat of a cohesive Catholic vote (which will never materialize since American Catholics are 70% secularized already and voting democrats). The bishops failed again in the 2nd election to get the message out to Catholic voters that it was impossible to remain Catholic and vote democrat when this is now the party that openly boo’s God, advances on demand abortion/sterilization/contraception and gay marriage.

          • michicatholic

            What has all this got to do with religion? Doesn’t anybody wonder this? It sounds like a lot of politics to me.

            PS. I like your phrase “forced to get out of the charity business and relinquish its sway over
            all the lower class and be neutered of all political threat” but it confuses me. Is this what this is all about, really?

        • Invictus_Lux

          I tried to reply to this but for some very strange reason it went into moderation?? At any rate you’re making no sense. Who “else” do you think I am trying to blame here?

          • All comments are moderated now, since the transition to Disqus.

  • Maggie Goff

    I have read all that I can on this and I still don’t understand why it’s ok to give in to the union, but not the government. It’s like we are talking out of both sides of our mouth. I may be dense.

    • You aren’t dense, Maggie. The Archdiocese’s position is untenable. Period.

      • Maggie Goff

        According to this person, the position is tenable and morally we should comply if the mandate stands:

        I have to say that I’m sick over this.

        • michicatholic

          Don’t be sick over it. It’s been going on a long time and you didn’t do it.

      • Jim Russell

        The position is not untenable; Semicolon…. 🙂

        • Jim Russell

          …meaning that we need to pray for Cardinal Dolan as he confronts these morally complicated issues, not condemn him for having to choose the right battle at the right time.

          • michicatholic

            Whatever. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and I’m done apologizing for the Church. Done.

            Someday maybe Catholicism will morph back into a religion from being some kind of weird Martian tribe, which is what it is now. Maybe.

  • chasjay

    Bring on the second annual “Two Weeks of Tedium”. The archbishop of Gotham was full of tears about the closing of Catholic schools…which he ordered. Now he’s outraged by the health plan he’s been the head of for over four years already. I think the cardinal should be sure he has the picture of the current bishop of Rome in his residence. If he stayed home and paid attention to his own pastoral duties, he might be more aware of things there.

  • Florin S.

    May. 30th:

    Dolan Has Taught Us A Few Important Things

    Posted on May 29,
    2013 by Editor

    Rockford, Il – ( – 5-28-2013 – by Rockford Pro-Life
    Initiative – Cardinal Dolan Has Taught Us A Few Important
    Things In The Last Few Weeks. In the last few weeks Cardinal
    Dolan, through his spokesman Joseph Zwilling, has been doing a lot of teaching
    by word and deed.

    His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has let the Church know
    pro-abortion New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is a Catholic in good standing. The
    world has also found out the Archdiocese of New York is paying for abortions and
    contraception for thousands of its employees. The Cardinals spokesman has
    rather heartlessly described the abortions and contraception the Archdiocese
    provides as “services” and excused the Archdiocese paying the bills for these
    “services” because they write the checks “under protest.” We have many lessons
    we can learn from these situations. A few of these lessons are listed

    Dolan has taught us you can be a Catholic (Gov. Cuomo) who promotes the
    unlimited and legal killing of babies by abortion, a Catholic who uses their
    political power to promote homosexual marriage and you’re still a Catholic in
    good standing.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught us it’s OK to pay for abortions and
    contraception if you have an excuse.

    Cardinal Dolan has set a standard for every Catholic in America to
    participate in things like the HHS mandate as long as you say you object to
    doing it.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught us that if employees of a Catholic
    institution demand that the Catholic Church pay to murder their babies – the
    Church can comply.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught every enemy of the Church that Catholics
    will go along quietly and participate in contraception and abortion programs as
    long as we say we object to it.

    Cardinal Dolan has made null and void Cardinal George’s statement
    concerning secular forces attacking the Church and our need to be brave,

    “I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in
    prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public
    square.” No need now to stand-up for any principles. If Cardinal Dolan, the
    head of the Bishops Council can pay for abortions and tell us all we have to do
    is say we object to it, no Catholic need to take a risky stand to defend Christ
    or life. Cardinal Dolan has taught us we can go along with the culture of death
    as long as we object to doing it.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught the Supreme Court whose members may have
    seen these situations in the news and will be hearing the HHS mandate cases that
    it is really no big deal for the head of the USCCB to allow his Archdiocese
    to pay for abortions and contraception as long as he can publicly say he objects
    to it.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught politicians, voters, the abortion industry,
    and the media that the Catholic Church will pay for abortions and contraception
    as long as we can say we object to it.

    Cardinal Dolan has taught us that the abuse scandal in the Catholic
    Church is far from over. While the tragedy of sexual abuse is being dealt with
    head on we now have been taught by Cardinal Dolan that a Catholic in good
    standing can support and make possible the murder of babies in the womb and an
    Archdiocese can even pay for these abortions. The murder of babies in the womb
    is the ultimate child abuse.

    His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan has taught us a lot in the last few

  • Satan Wins

    What a joke… Dolan has already given in…HE’S PAYING FOR ABORTIONS!

  • If the Cardinal really had any courage- he’d request that all Catholic hospitals offer moral care for free to all comers then cancel the health insurance.

  • I take a lot of crap from people who say I’m more Republican than Catholic. But just look at who drives the anti Catholic issues. Which party gets support from the unions, who are increasingly anti religious? Which party pushes faith out of the public square? Which party is wholely anti abortion and pro gay marriage? Which party has pushed the Church on religious freedom? Which party is seeking to reduce the role of charitable orgainzations in society? Which party booed God at their last convention? It’s about time Catholics started waking up to political realities and not live as if the political state of affairs were still the 1950s.

  • Andy

    Your rant against all things you deem not Catholic is frightening. Frightening because it is based apparently o the idea that the conservative option is more Catholic. That is hogwash. In politics liberals and conservatives all want to aggregate power – they just do it from different points of view.