We’ve covered the Catholic Church’s ongoing battle with the Obama administration over contraception health care mandates for quite some time. Over the weekend, though, the stand-off took an unusual turn, as Catholic churches across America read a letter to congregants that perfectly encapsulated the church’s stance against the impending federal requirements.
The Church’s vocal arguments against the Obama administration are centered upon a Health and Human Services Department requirement that employers must include contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in health-care coverage. While this requirement doesn’t apply to houses of worship, it will force Catholic colleges, hospitals and other Christian groups to provide these drugs despite their faith-based opposition to them.
Many of these organizations, despite not being, themselves, churches, are intrinsically rooted in religious belief systems that stand firmly opposed to medications and procedures that would terminate the life of an unborn child. These deeply-rooted moral codes, which drive the groups’ work, will be impeded, Catholic leaders say, should the Obama administration continue with its planned mandate.
Recently, the federal government made one small concession surrounding the requirement, as officials decided to give church-affiliated hospitals and organizations another year before they will be forced to comply with the coverage restrictions.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan (AP)
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, recently said.
Over the weekend, the Catholic Church’s letter went beyond simply issuing oppositional rhetoric to media. Instead, priests read an open note to congregations across the country, dubbing the administration‘s take on women’s health and religious violations as an attack on their faith. In the letter, Bishops highlighted what they called “an alarming and serious matter,“ as their words contended that the federal government has ”dealt a heavy blow” to the Catholic population.