Friday, February 10, 2012

The Battle for Religious Freedom Begins

From The Revered Review:
What has been called a fight for religious freedom for Catholics all over America has begun and voices from small towns to big cities are being heard. Catholic bishops, religious leaders and those of the Catholic faith have expressed outrage at being forced to go against their religious beliefs.

In letters, online blogs, emails, and videos, many are calling a mandate under Obamacare an attack on the Catholic religion—and an attack all religious freedoms— and a violation of the Constitution.
Under the new healthcare law, all employers—including Catholic employers— must provide employees with health care that covers sterilization, drugs that induce abortions, and contraception—which are all against the beliefs of the Catholic religion.

Despite efforts by the Catholic Church for an exemption from this mandate, the Obama Administration did not waiver. Twelve days ago, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter indicating that the mandate would not be withdrawn and nonprofits and the Catholic Church would have a year to adapt to the rule.

Bishops Blast Rule in Obamacare

Now, the outrage by the Catholic Church is palpable. Bishops across the country wrote letters to those in their diocese. Some priests even spoke from the pulpit on mass this past Sunday, speaking about this fight for religious freedom. Letters from bishops appeared in many weekly bulletins across the country, blasting the mandate in the health care law that would force Catholics to go against their beliefs.

Calling for members of the Church to join him in “prayer and in an all-out effort to have our freedom restored,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, of the Diocese of Trenton, wrote a letter that was handed out after Sunday masses. (Read entire article.)
 Some reflections from Stephanie Mann about how this has happened before. Share


MadMonarchist said...

If a big enough fuss is raised an exception will likely be made (they have been for many, many others) but this is also a symptom of a much larger problem for the Catholic Church. Most Catholics voted for Obama, despite his record of voting for abortion and even voting against saving the life of a child who had been born when an abortion was "unsuccessful" (which seems an odd term to use but...).

Moreover, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is a Catholic, as is the Vice-President, as is the Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who has defended this action with the utmost zeal. The laity can vote against these people (though few do) but though the bishops are quick to howl, I don't see many actually doing what is in their power to do -excommunicating or at least refusing communion to the likes of those mentioned above.

It used to be different but today Catholics are just as likely to use birth control, get divorced and all the rest as any other people. In my state, the abortion rate is actually higher in the region along the border which is the most heavily Catholic. It is also true that the position of "the Church" was rather ambiguous when this whole healthcare overhaul was passed. Some heard "yes", others heard "no" and others heard a USCCB trying to have it both ways.

It saddens me to say it but I've said before and will say it again. The bishops speak out on so many things in such a way that often seems contradictory (like on illegal immigration) that I think the majority of Catholics have simply stopped listening. Then there are those like me who have been rather put off by learning that the bishops publically excommunicated Catholic elected officials (several of them) for voting against de-segregation but, to date, have never publically excommunicated ANY elected officials for voting in favor of murdering babies.

elena maria vidal said...

As usual, you and I see eye-to-eye, MM. If some of the bishops had been stronger in refusing Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians then we would be a lot farther ahead in the game. Also, many Catholics use contraception because they were not taught the teachings of the Church on marital chastity. If there had been clear teaching in the parishes and in marriage education classes then this would not be happening. But I do commend the bishops who are now taking a brave stand and in a way this is all a blessing to the Church.

lara77 said...

So I understand this ruling means if you are a Protestant who believes in contraception and is working for a Catholic organization you have no right to get the birth control pill. The President has now said that the Insurance companies must pay for this coverage. Is this correct? Protestants or non Catholics exercise their options and the Catholic Church does not have to abide by dispensing birth control. Am I getting this right?

elena maria vidal said...

I think you have it backwards, Lara. Let me begin at the beginning. According to the Catholic religion, babies are a gift from God. Pregnancy is not a disease which needs to be prevented by pills, etc. Human beings are not animals driven by instinct to copulate and procreate. We have free will and can choose to engage in sexual relations or not. Therefore Catholic institutions are not allowed by Church teaching to pay for contraceptives, abortifacients or for sterilization. Women employees are free to procure such things on their own but Catholic health plans may not pay for it. President Obama is trying to get the insurance companies who provide coverage to Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, etc. but the Church wants her schools, universities, etc. to have nothing to do with contraception at all. Of course, if people wish to buy it on their own, they are at liberty to do so.