Skip to comments.Catholic bishops pledge defiance on HHS mandate
Posted on 11/14/2012 12:04:25 PM PST by SeekAndFind
If the Obama administration hoped that the election results and the narrow split in Barack Obama's favor among Catholic voters would force the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) into retreat on the HHS contraception mandate, the USCCB's unity yesterday had to be a bit disappointing. The current president of the USCCB announced that the bishops would keep fighting the mandate, and while they were open to dialogue, the only option they will refuse to consider is "capitulation":
A top American bishop said Tuesday the Roman Catholic church will not comply with the Obama administration requirement that most employers provide health insurance covering birth control.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said church leaders are open to working toward a resolution with federal officials, but will meanwhile press ahead with challenges to the mandate in legislatures and in court.
"The only thing we're certainly not prepared to do is give in. We're not violating our consciences," Dolan told reporters at a national bishops’ meeting. "I would say no door is closed except for the door to capitulation."
Dolan delivered the final blessings at both major-party conventions this year, and invited both Obama and Mitt Romney to the Al Smith Dinner event last month. He has worked hard to keep doors open, but without any success in getting the Obama administration to reconsider its religious exemption definition. When asked whether the USCCB would advise Catholic institutions to conduct civil disobedience by violating the mandate and refusing to pay penalties, Dolan would only say that “It’s still not doomsday yet.”
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore told his colleagues, Catholic News Agency reported yesterday, that the bishops had to be in the fight for the long haul — but that the Catholic Church needed to do more “foundational” work to educate its parishioners on the need to protect religious liberty:
The strong protection of Americans religious freedom requires a long-term commitment to formation and education, particularly of young people, the U.S. bishops’ leader on religious liberty issues said.
“We are prayerfully resolute in pursuing the project of defending and fostering religious liberty, in the short and mid-term and in the long-term,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the ad hoc committee on religious liberty.
Protecting religious freedom, he said Nov. 12, “requires long-term foundational and formational work.”
The goal in the short term remains the end of the Obama administration’s attempt to impose its own definition of religious practice:
Looking at the immediate future, Archbishop Lori observed that the “political landscape is the same, but so also is our resolve to eliminate the HHS mandate and most especially the four-part definition that it contains of what constitutes religious activity.”
They will probably have more success in the courts and in Congress than they will with the White House. So far, two federal judges have imposed preliminary injunctions against the HHS mandate in cases involving business owners whose religious beliefs bar them from providing birth control. Neither case involved religious organizations, which would have a stronger case on religious liberty grounds. In the latest such decision, the Thomas More Law Center won the injunction on the grounds that the HHS mandate constituted “irreparable injury” to the plaintiff:
The Thomas More Law Center, a pro-life legal group, won the victory for the business and Erin Mersino, TMLCs lead counsel on the case who presented the oral argument, told LifeNews: The federal court has found that our clients have a likelihood of success and would be irreparably harmed by the unconstitutional overreaching of the HHS mandate. This is not only a victory for our clients, but for religious freedom.
Mersino said the mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
In ruling for the Weingartz Plaintiffs, Judge Cleland emphasized that [t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.
The judge added: The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs. The balance of harms tips strongly in Plaintiffs favor. A preliminary injunction is warranted.
The USCCB plans to keep pressing Congress for action, although the results of the election dim the chances for meaningful change in that arena:
In a new interview with the National Catholic Register, Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities and the chief pro-life lobbyist, talked about the next push for the mandate exemption. He believes the upcoming Labor/HHS appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2013 afford pro-life advocates another opportunity to push the Fortenberry-Blunt conscience protections.
So far, we have pursued remedies to the contraception mandate in all three branches of government, and all those avenues remain open, he said.
Approving the conscience protections will be easy on the House side with pro-life Republicans controlling the chamber, but Doerflinger says he thinks the Senate is still a possibility since there are almost 50 votes for it.
The election left things largely as they were: We count the same number of votes in the new Senate as in the old not in terms of party affiliation, but in terms of pro-life position, he said. The only time that a conscience measure for the mandate was considered in the Senate it got 48 votes, with very little time to explain the issues. Getting to 50 or 51 votes in the Senate could happen, especially if you can attach legislation to a must-pass vehicle, where you have leverage to trade back and forth, to get policy riders approved. We are not giving up on that and will continue to pursue this agenda.
If the bishops get thwarted on all of these paths for redress, the final option would to be shut down the schools, health providers, and charities run by the Catholic Church, an option that Cardinal Dolan appeared to leave open. For a look at how that would impact just the health-care delivery infrastructure in the US, be sure to read my column at The Fiscal Times on that topic from March of this year. I don’t think the USCCB is bluffing, either — and this is a $100 billion bet that the White House has kept pushing all year long.
And if he does not respond we will send him an even more sternly worded letter...
I am calling shenanigans on this. When was the last time the US Catholic Bishops did not roll over for the Democrats?
So when do they begin shutting down schools and hospitals?
Didn't take long for the naysayers to show up. The Bishops will not cave on this. Obama and his ilk have no idea what they are up against.
What if all the large corporations and churches and hospitals simply refuse to implement obamacare. Just how many people will they arrest and where will they put them? And who’ll replace them?
Catholics voted for obama. Get in bed with the devil, don’t complain when you get screwed.
“How many divisions does the Pope have?” - Stalin
Just refuse to violate your principles. 0bama’s thugs will audit, find and jail. Maybe seeing a couple hundred bishops in jail will finally show the a$$whole Catholics who voted for 0bama what they voted for.
I wish they were more forceful with the 50% asses who sit in the pews with me every week. Not one sermon during the election cycle demanding that Catholics stand up to this government and vote in defense of the Church. They let the “social justice” “catholics” run the show.
The USCCB isn’t synonymous with “the set of all bishops living in America.” The USCCB has its own agendas as an organization and it is left leaning. They have manned up a bit over this challenge, but as an organization they may end up voting to cave. Fortunately they are not the “official” voice of the Catholic church.
Dolan will stand fast on this issue, until the lawsuit is lost. Then, paying for abortions will be redefined as “remote material cooperation.” I.e., acceptable. Catholic hospitals and schools will remain open.
In 2018, the Obama regime will demand that Cardinal Dolan perform an abortion in Times Square, which Dolan will explain is “remote material cooperation,” and necessary to preserve “civility.”
They will not cave.
Fortunately they are not the official voice of the Catholic church
They are the "official voice" for the administration of their Diocese.
Once more you confuse “group of bishops” with the organization called USCCB. The Pope could dissolve that organization if he wished.
I’m sensing we’re talking past each other but I understand your point.
Each bishop individually is vested with a certain authority in the Catholic church, but that vesting doesn’t apply to the organization called USCCB. I do not hide my bias as a fundie, not a Catholic, but I think it would make more sense for concerned bishops to band together independently of the USCCB. The USCCB has embraced left leaning positions that are simply not shared by serious bishops. In its modern condition, it’s more of a handicap than a help to the bishops.
“Catholics voted for obama. Get in bed with the devil, dont complain when you get screwed”
American hispanics,who for some reason call themselves Catholic, when they renigged on that right by supporting baby killing and faggot “marriage”, are included in the “Catholic” support you cite above. 59% of white Catholics voted for Romney over the muslim-in-chief, who received 40% of the vote. This 40% of the “catholic” vote is comprised of leftists who never attend Mass and should be kicked out of the Church, for once again........supporting a pro-abortion, pro-fag “marriage” president.
The bishops have been in 100% agreement on the HHS mandate since the communist first said he would ignore religious freedom. They will not change their minds.
The more religiously observant a particular Catholic is (and the same goes for evangelical Christians) the less likely he or she is to politically favor the Democrat over the Republican in a contest.
Oh, come on!
This clergy would not even step to a microphone and say “Don’t vote for Obama”. Do you REALLY think they’d be willing to go to jail?
When the costs start to mount, we shall see.
I was right, we were talking past each other. Each Bishop is responsible for administering their own Diocese. Since the HHS Mandate impacts each of them, it is better that they band together. Banding outside the USCCB doesnt seem to make any sense.
The USCCB has embraced left leaning positions that are simply not shared by serious bishops.
Who are the serious Bishops and are any of them in the USCCB?
Well, I was thinking that something, anything, ad hoc would be superior to where the “official” USCCB organization is. Because it would not be weighed down with USCCB’s historical baggage.
It’s nice to see bishops push back, of course, even through the medium of the organization called USCCB. I’m just saying that’s not necessarily the optimum method and likely to have pitfalls due to historical baggage. Like you said yourself, where are the serious bishops? But you can’t miss how the USCCB has seemed to advocate for porous borders and winking at the flouting of existing immigration regulations, etc.
Restating the obvious once again....
European governments have been paying for abortions since at least the time of Woodstock. And you don’t see Catholic Bishops doing much pushing back over there.
How do you refuse to implement a law that gives authorities the power to fine you and drive you out of business?
The insurance plans they offer are to be phased out and insurance companies that offer plans not in compliance with obamacare regulations will be penalized out of business. There is no more option to for an individual to purchase or an employer to provide individualized coverage. It's one size fits all, cookie cutter policies for all.
Even if these hospitals could somehow continue to offer their present plans and stay afloat with the fines, there are other penalties that can be levied against them. Do you really think the feds won't single them out as examples of noncompliance? This regime specializes in selective enforcement. Didn't Obama just say something about wanting the feds to be fast and forceful? Something like that.
IMHO Obama has the bishops where he wants them. They either capitulate and sell out their consciences. Or they close the hospitals and face demonization by the administration and other leftists for abandoning the sick. After a period of public castigation for following their consciences, the leftists will use eminent domain make sure the Church never gets back in the prolife health care business during a future administration.
I think this is all just a skirmish in a larger battle that is aimed to force every hospital to perform late term abortion on demand, something planned parenthood cannot do on an outpatient basis. It's too radical an idea for the country to accept, but demonizing Catholics and their beliefs isn't. Forcing sale of their hospitals isn't.
My Hispanic priest basically told us we couldn’t vote for a candidate who didn’t believe in things the Church considers fundamental teachings, such as the right to life and traditional marriage. I was shocked because he is a champion of the Hispanics in our community (social justice type) and we are in the Tucson diocese. I don’t recall hearing anything like that, or at least as emphatic as that, all the years I lived in Scottsdale. Of course, we’ve never before had a president as extreme as Obama either.
Where is the proof that any certain percentage of so-called “Catholics” voted for Barry? How is this quantified? I’m a Catholic and out of the 100 or so Catholics that I know just in my Parish, maybe 2 were clueless enough to vote for obama.
He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Don’t feed the Infallible Protestant troll.
Hey, if the Bishops really want to do something — maybe the ought to stop helping the damned illegal aliens (who are largely “catholic”) who invade the country, want free everything, and are so damned ignorant in the faith they vote for the biggest abortion lover ever to run for office — just so they can get “free” crap.
How about helping them ‘lawyer up’ but FAITH UP. TEACH THE FAITH to these damned ignorant fools. 70% hispanic for Obama support is a ****ing disgrace — YOU built that, you idiot bishops.
[And I say this as a Catholic — but a PRACTICING one.]
I still don’t think they really GET it, not really. Wait til they get the tax bill in the mail.
Maybe. They do it in Germany pretty much that way and get away with it. Not that God doesn’t notice, or that anybody is going to get away with it in his eyes. But they do it that way anyway and it doesn’t seem to bother them a whole lot.
My guess is that hospitals & some colleges won’t close. They’ll be severed from the Church and go secular. Or they’ll be sold to secular outfits. They have no problem with the mandate and would rather be treated like regular for-profits or non-profits and leave religion out of it totally.
Most so-called Catholic hospitals are not operated by dioceses anyway. Rather, they’re run by lay boards and old religious orders get some of the proceeds as beaucoup retirement income that enables them to say pretty much anything they like and not get caught up with by Rome. This is like the best secret in all of American Catholicism. You know the LCWR mess of last spring. Yup, in many cases the exact same congregations are involved.
I dont blame the Bishops because the US wont police its borders. The Church inherited this problem they didnt create it. And whether you like it or not the Church has a moral obligation to minister to them. If the borders were enforced, we wouldnt even be having this conversation.
How about helping them lawyer up but FAITH UP. TEACH THE FAITH to these damned ignorant fools. 70% hispanic for Obama support is a ****ing disgrace YOU built that, you idiot bishops.
Theres enough blame to go around and certainly the Bishops have their share. But there also comes a time when Catholics need to be responsible and accountable for their actions. The teaching of the Church on abortion is clear and the position of the Bishops on the HHS mandate was well publicized. If Catholics choose to ignore that, and unfortunately many did, that is on them.
Also be careful about piling on the Bishops. You are falling right into the demonic Obama playbook of driving a wedge between the Bishops and the laity. Actually Im not totally opposed to that strategy since it will illuminate and flush out those Catholics who are too stupid to realize whats going on. Maybe some of them will re-embrace the faith while the rest well leave to the mercy of God.
Agreed. The colleges that will be hurt are the small number of them still faithful to the magisterium. The real losers will be the Catholic K-12 schools. I would expect a surge of homeschooling and the rest of the students will be assimilated into the public school system. This will be a double victory for Obama and his ilk. They will blame the Bishops for this problem and also get an increase in public school enrollment.
The collateral damage will be to EWTN, Catholic radio and the various Catholic charities. Unless they can figure out a way to make everyone part time and schedule them 29.5 hours a week.
They don’t. The hospitals and universities will try to sneak by and will be called on it in many places because of the pressure. They will end up going secular, but they’ve been going there for years anyway. It would have been only a matter of time, although Catholics don’t like to say that. No big deal. You can’t lose what you no longer have.
The real action will be at the diocesan level. Things there are going to shut down or be scaled back.
This is not about going to jail and it’s not about writing a check to pay a fine.
The fines will be collected by the internal revenue service out of money withheld from wages. If business offices refuse to set up the paperwork and comply, it won’t take but a couple of weeks and the waste products will hit the fan. Expect to see confiscations and forced closures.
But almost all hospitals and most universities will comply. You watch. They may or may not get called on it right away, but they’ll comply. They’re going secular anyway.
There will be a few exceptions and they will undergo hardships: Franciscan, Ave Maria, etc.
Don’t worry. Their shock is coming. Their precious peace and justice initiatives will be on the chopping block soon enough.
They may love the Democrats but the Democrats don’t love them. They’ve been used.
Nope. Not most of em.