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Obama Tampering with Conscience

In March of 2010, I had the opportunity to preach to members of Congress and their staff who were gathered at the worship service held inside the Capitol just prior to the vote on Obamacare. In that sermon, I told them that Christianity transforms politics and government, because every human being in Christ has access to God as his son or daughter. Therefore the voice of the people matters, representative government makes sense, and power becomes service, authority becomes a duty to protect human rights.

It’s a message President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services still don’t get. As the National Catholic Reporter recently reported,

“The Obama administration has turned down repeated requests from Catholic bishops, hospitals, schools and charitable organizations to revise its religious exemption to the requirement that all health plans cover contraceptives and sterilization free of charge.

“…Under the plan, after Aug. 1 of this year, new or significantly altered health plans will be required to provide all FDA-approved contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, without co-pays or deductibles as part of preventive health care for women.”

Some 200,000 comments were received from the general public regarding this. Rather than making any accommodation to those who object, the Administration arrogantly announced “that nonprofit groups that do not provide contraceptive coverage because of their religious beliefs will get an additional year ‘to adapt to this new rule.'”

An additional year to do what?

No, we don’t need an additional year nor an additional moment to adapt, study, consider, weigh, balance, or decide whether we are going to pay for the killing of human beings. The answer is no. Keep your year, and give us back our freedom of conscience!

The day before the Administration made this announcement, the Pope addressed a group of American bishops who were making their regular, obligatory visit to update the Pope. He mentioned the “worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.” That’s what the President and his team are doing. Go ahead, worship in whatever Church you want, he tells us. But if you run a hospital or other entity, you have to do it our way.

The US bishops have written in Living the Gospel of Life that Roe vs. Wade poisons our entire society. This latest inflexibility in the face of conscience is a good example of that. It is, after all, about abortion. Its fanatical advocates will stop at nothing to expand it, including throwing religious freedom and the Church itself out the window.

What this also tells us is that elections matter. It would be wise for the Church, in tackling this problem, to plan what we are going to do regarding the elections, rather than spending all our energy trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube after it’s been scattered all over the room. Let’s elect more public servants who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.


(This update courtesy of the Priests for Life newsletter. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; call 1-888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; fax 718-980-6515; mail@priestsforlife.org; www.priestsforlife.org.)
  • goral

    Some of our influential Church leaders are like Neville Chamberlain. They thought they could gain favor from a guy whose conscience was formed in fourth grade and then arrested. Now, many of the same suckers will vote for Romney and get the same treatment under a Republican banner.

    Refrain from a noted song:
    ” When will they ever learn….
    when will they eeeeever learn”

  • HomeschoolNfpDad

    Is anyone else wondering why there is a sudden clarion call for freedom of conscience? Ms. Sebelius’s move is politically savvy. It covers what most Americans — Catholics included — call contraception, not what they call abortion. Therefore, with all due respect, Father Pavone has cited the incorrect Supreme Court decision. Roe v. Wade is not immediately applicable. Rather, the applicable decision is Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to privacy cited in Roe and overturned a Connecticut law that forbade contraceptives.

    Throw in sterilization, and what you have is a political mandate for the Church to provide coverage for what more than 90% of Catholics believe to be universal goods: contraception and sterilization. Politically, the mandate to cover abortificients is a distinction without a difference because none of this particular 90% makes the difference in their own minds. Toss in Evangelicals who simultaneously oppose abortion and support the Pill, and what you have is a smart decision by the administration. Their goal, quite obviously, is to undermine the authority of religion, and they have chosen the proper substance to work with. Once the people in the pews realize this, they’ll oppose bishops, pastors, and anyone else who stands in their way.

    I think this is why the opposition rhetoric is focusing on conscience and not the substance of the directive. The substance is the political command to do evil. The question of conscience, therefore, goes only to the question of whether Catholics and other Christians will accept this command once they realize that the substance pertains to an evil which they actually believe to be good. To me, all indications are that Evangelicals won’t even fight because they already teach that contraception and sterilization are acceptable. Most Catholics believe this also, and our pastors and bishops still largely refuse to preach about the reasons why contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils.

    So no, I don’t think this is a matter of conscience. Rather, it is a wake-up call, not for Father Pavone who has continually preached the evils of contraception and sterilization and their logical link to abortion, but for all those Catholic priests and religious and laity who already do not accept the teaching of their own Church. Will this be the thing that finally makes them realize that contraception and sterilization are primary causes of divorce, familial break-up, and the overall undermining of the Sacraments of Eucharist (because contracepting Catholics already receive), Penance (because even among those Catholics who go, few believe that contraception is a sin worthy of confession), and Marriage (because contracepting Catholics often divorce and Catholics open to life almost universally do not)?

    I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath. Why should they change now, all of a sudden?

    • Mary Kochan

      I think it even goes deeper. WHY do they think sterilization and contraception are “good”? It is because they think sexual purity, chastity, continence, self-control — anything that limits sexual pleasure — as “repressive” and “unhealthy.” This culture worships sex.

  • christymomof3

    An additional year to do what? To vote these tyrants out of office!

  • More than 10% of hospitals in America are Catholic. Catholic hospitals form the largest not-for-profit health service sector in the United States, taking care of about one-sixth of all hospital patients in the U.S. each year.

    These hospitals were created and funded by the church to reach the poor and destitute in cities and elsewhere, where otherwise they would not have had the access or the means to get medical assistance.

    Many Catholic hospitals have vowed to close their doors rather than be forced to go against their beliefs which forbid abortion, sterilization and other forms of contraception.

    Would this administration rather see all the employees of these institutions lose their jobs and their health care benefits rather than respect the rights of religious institutions to practice what they believe?

    Once again, this administration has overstepped its boundaries. This administration thumbs its nose at the wall of separation that is supposed to exist between church and state.

    Catholic hospitals employ nearly 800,000 full and part-time employees per year. The government should be in the business of creating jobs, not busying itself with unnecessary legislation that could in effect destroy medical institutions and the livelihoods of those employed by them!

    Today the ruling is about Catholic hospitals providing abortion insurance for their employees- If they succeed at this, next it will be to provide for the actual abortion- after all, the Obama Administration believes it is the ‘right’ of women to terminate a living life, and the unborn children still have no rights.

  • Kathleen Woodman

    How is a year going to change the doctrines of the Catholic Church?!! That hasn’t happened in 2000 years. The Church isn’t just another bureaucracy that pumps out policy changes when people don’t agree with her teachings.

    This administration obviously doesn’t get it.