“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. As a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.”
Excerpt from the letter written by Bishop Joseph Bambera, our Bishop here in the Diocese of Scranton. Read the rest. I sent him an email on the Diocese website to thank him for speaking out against this ridiculous mandate. Do the same! Go to the contact page on the website.
Here is an excerpt from Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (link is to a PDF):
“Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom. The court made clear that they include the right of religious institutions to control their internal affairs.
Yet the Obama administration has veered in the opposite direction. It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good—including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals—from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees.”
“The Bill of Rights assures us that we have a right in this country to obey God’s law and follow our conscience, free to live out our religious beliefs as individual persons and as institutions. Forcing all of us to buy or provide coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into our freedom of conscience and religious exercise.“
And Bishop Murphy quoted Pope Benedict XVI in his article, when the Pope gave an address to the Bishops of the United States back on January 19th. Pope Benedict spoke about the dangerous curtailment of religious freedom that is occurring here in the USA. This address is awesome. You guys all know I love Pope Benedict because he is so rational, reasonable, and yet his love for Jesus and the Church just pours out of every word he speaks. The whole address is worth reading but here are some of my favorite excerpts (Any emphasis is mine):
“For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of these truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God. When a culture attempts to suppress the dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey, as the late Pope John Paul II so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.”
“ …it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”
“…we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society. The preparation of committed lay leaders and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.”
I LOVE those lines. Get engaged, folks. Become articulate. Learn why we believe what we believe as Catholics and be prepared to defend yourself. Sharpen your tongues and pray. Fast. Sacrifice. Vote rightly. Pay attention. Scary things are happening in our goverment.
Seriously, I encourage you to read the whole address by Pope Benedict. It’s so good.
The Achoress had a post up yesterday with a whole bunch of links! BadCatholic has a post up. And Thomas Peters is keeping count of all the bishops across the US who have spoken out against this mandate. 125, at this time!! Awesomeeeee.
I don’t really want to say more because I am not a very good political person, and I think all the people I’ve quoted say what I think much better than I could. Especially our Holy Father (did you read that whole address yet??). So that’s all.
PS- I do have this to say. I love the Obama Administration idea of compromise: “You have one year to comply.” HILARIOUS. Only, not.