FROM THE FISCAL TIMES: THE HHS MANDATE WOULD DEVASTATE THE POOR BY FORCING CATHOLIC HOSPITALS TO CLOSE

Edward Morrissey of The Fiscal Times analyzes the HHS mandate’s effect on the poor and on underserved rural areas by forcing Catholic hospitals to close:

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2012/03/01/Obama-Risks-$100-Billion-if-Catholic-Hospitals-Close.aspx#page1

 

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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Catholic, Catholic Hospitals, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, medical care for the poor, medical care for underserved rural areas, religious liberty, The Fiscal Times, United States Constitution | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rally for Religious Freedom Across America

In major cities across America there will be a noon-time rally on March 23 against the government’s demand for people to reject their consciences. People of widely divergent religious beliefs (even including amicus briefs by Hindus, Sikhs, animists, Hara Krishnas etc. as well as Christians, Jews and Moslems) united in opposition when the Administration attempted to trump an Evangelical Lutheran congregation’s choice of its own ministers. That even got the attention of the US Supreme Court and all nine justices rejected that Administration intrusion on religious liberty in January.
Once again, this is an issue that transcends religious beliefs. The liberty of every American is at stake. Please spread the word. Visit http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/locations/   Please attend the one nearest you. Please let others know.
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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Catholic, contraception, contraception mandate, Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Hindus, Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC, Islam, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, Rally for Religious Liberty March 23, religious liberty, Sikhs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Masterful Confrontation: The Unprecedented Threat to Religious Liberty

The Jesuits’ America Magazine (which still calls itself “the national Catholic weekly”) published an editorial  http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=13277  chiding the bishops. Bishop Lori’s reply follows. Responding to the gravest threat to religious liberty in American history, this statement may long be remembered for its urgency, boldness and intelligence as well as its skillful use of well-directed irony and humor almost never seen in past statements of its kind. We are now witnessing US bishops at their finest as they address the Administration’s unprecedented attack on religious liberty.

Bishop Lori’s Reply:

The March 5th America  editorial takes the United States Bishops to task for entering too deeply into  the finer points of health care policy as they ponder what the slightly revised  Obama Administration mandate might mean for the Catholic Church in the United  States. These details, we are told, do not impinge on religious liberty. We are  also told that our recent forthright language borders on incivility.
What details are we talking about? For one thing,  a government mandate to insure, one way or another, for an abortifacient drug  called Ella. Here the “details” would seem to be fertilized ova, small  defenseless human beings, who will likely suffer abortion within the purview of  a church-run health insurance program.
What other details are at issue?  Some may think  that the government’s forcing the Church to provide insurance coverage for  direct surgical sterilizations such as tubal ligations is a matter of policy.  Such force, though, feels an awful lot like an infringement on religious  liberty.
Still another detail is ordinary contraception.  Never mind that the dire societal ills which Pope Paul predicted would ensue  with the widespread practice of artificial contraception have more than come  true. The government makes the rules and the rules are the rules. So, the  bishops should regard providing (and paying for) contraception as, well, a  policy detail.  After all, it’s not like the federal government is asking  bishops to deny the divinity of Christ. It’s just a detail in a moral  theology—life and love, or something such as that. And why worry about other  ways the government may soon require the Church to violate its teachings as a  matter of policy?
More details come to mind. Many if not most church  entities are self-insured. Thus, Catholic social service agencies, schools, and  hospitals could end up paying for abortifacients, sterilizations, and  contraception. If the editorial is to be believed, bishops should regard it not  as a matter of religious liberty but merely policy that, as providers they teach  one thing but as employers they are made to teach something else. In other  words, we are forced to be a countersign to Church teaching and to give people  plenty of reason not to follow it. The detail in question here is called “scandal”.
Then there is the detail of religious insurers and  companies that are not owned by the Church but which exist solely to serve the  Church’s mission. The new “accommodation” leaves them out in the cold. And if I  really wanted to get into the weeds I’d mention the conscience rights of  individual employers.
Have I forgotten any other details we bishops  shouldn’t be attending to? Well, I guess we’re policy wonks for wondering if the  government has a compelling interest in forcing the Church to insure for  proscribed services when contraception is covered in 90% of healthcare plans, is  free in Title X programs, and is available from Walmart (generic) for about $10  a month. Pardon me also for wondering whether the most basic of freedoms,  religious liberty, isn’t being compromised, not by a right to health care, but  by a claim to “services” which regard pregnancy and fertility as diseases.
And didn’t President Obama promise adequate  conscience protection in the reform of healthcare? But maybe it’s inappropriate  for pastors of souls to ask why the entirely adequate accommodation of religious  rights in healthcare matters that has existed in federal law since 1973 is now  being changed.
Oh, and as Detective Colombo used to say: “Just  one more thing.” It’s the comment in the editorial about when we bishops are at  our best. Evidently, it’s when we speak generalities softly and go along to get  along, even though for the first time in history the federal government is  forcing church entities to provide for things that contradict church teaching.  Maybe Moses wasn’t at his best when he confronted Pharaoh. Maybe the Good  Shepherd was a bit off his game when he confronted the rulers of his day.
But those are just details.
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Bishop of Bridgeport
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee on Religious  Liberty
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Posted in America Magazine, Bishop William Lori, Catholic, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Jesuits | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why The Catholic Church Will Not Comply

In the following article from Catholic World Report, a professor of moral theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio  discusses why the Catholic Church must refuse to comply with the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization health insurance mandate:

 From Catholic World Report:
We Must Not Comply
February 28, 2012 – Catholic World Report
The HHS mandate: Assessing the current situation and looking to the future
Msgr. Kevin T. McMahon, STD
On January 20, 2012, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized its August 2011 mandate requiring ….
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Posted in abortifacient, abortion, birth control, contraception, contraception mandate, freedom of religion, health care compromise, Health care mandate, religious liberty, STD, The Catholic Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dutch Euthanize Woman Despondent About Macular Degeneration; No Evidence of Routine Intervention to Address Depression

The rise in euthanasia in The Netherlands, allegedly voluntarily at the person’s request, has raised questions about the state of medical ethics in that nation. The latest case being discussed is that of a woman who was killed by her physician because she was feeling depressed about her macular degeneration.

Wesley J. Smith, J.D., a lawyer and bio-ethics expert consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture, said the woman, in her eighties, was euthanized because of her impaired vision and other typical symptoms of advancing age. A 2010 annual report by the five regional euthanasia review committees in the Netherlands stated that the patient, a woman in her eighties, could no longer do many things that she once enjoyed [Note: I don’t know any senior citizen who can!]. “She lived on her own. She had always enjoyed intellectual challenges in her life” and had used the computer, emails and liked “reading, philosophising, debating, politics and art.” But she began feeling depressed as she felt like she was deteriorating due to macular degeneration, bouts with dizziness, poorer hearing and occasional incontinence. 
Smith writes that these depressed states in the elderly are treatable with routine geriatric psychiatric interventions but that there was no indication whatsoever that her geriatric psychiatrist even attempted that type of help.  In fact, as Smith sees it, the psychiatrist “might have killed her.”  See Smith’s recent discussion of the euthanasia epidemic in the Netherlands in First Things: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2012/02/22/euthanizing-the-mentally-ill-in-the-netherlands/
Another independent psychiatrist who was also consulted by the state noted that despite the patient’s poor hearing he was able to interview her successfully. “She was lucid and was well oriented to time, place and person,” the report said. “The interview did not reveal any memory problems. The patient was coherent and responded appropriately to questions. She was able to explain why her disabilities (deafness, impaired vision and dizziness) prevented her from living her life as she had always done….” According to the report, she wanted to end her life (or have it ended) because she was “suffering from being alive.”
The Dutch have reported a 19 percent year-to-year annual increase in assisted suicides in 2010, rising from 2,636 in 2009 to 3,136 in 2010. Their “guidelines” allow doctors to euthanize not just the terminally ill, but also the chronically ill, such as those with diabetes or heart disease. The emotionally and mentally ill can be killed, as well as infants with serious disabilities.
Also included in the 2010 numbers were 21 early-stage dementia patients who were euthanized by lethal injection, calling into question whether “guidelines” which require a patient’s ability to make an informed choice and to voluntarily request death could possibly have been met.
Despite these sad statistics, advocates of euthanasia refuse to acknowledge the problems and some groups in The Netherlands now want to legalize “dying assistance” for those 70 and older to encourage them in their desire to die for reasons of “humanity.”
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Posted in euthanasia, macular degeneration, medical ethics, Netherlands, Wesley Smith | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberal Catholic Pawns in Political War Against Religion

“The Obama religious wars”: neither words of hyperbole nor an empty epithet but an apt description of an unfolding crisis that encompasses the United States Constitution and fundamental religious liberty. Just last month, in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the United States Supreme Court unanimously (yes: 9 to 0!) slapped down the Obama Administration’s attempt to countermand a Protestant congregation’s choice of its own minister. Now the Administration is telling the Catholic Church that it must either compromise its conscience or close its hospitals, universities and tens of thousands of outreaches to the poor and the vulnerable of all faiths and of none. As in Hosanna-Tabor, the Administration even claims for itself the right to intrude upon a most fundamental right of any religious body:  to decide who it is who speaks for a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious entity and its members.

By its manipulation of the media message, the Administration has been saying, in effect, that its own dissident Catholic allies — not the bishops — are the legitimate voice of the Catholic Church. And, as a corollary, they even seem to suggest that their collaborators are entitled to impose their views on both the Church itself and also on other Catholics: namely, those whose consciences won’t let them become complicit in the Administration’s mandated health insurance for contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization. Even people of other faiths who don’t share the same Catholic moral objections are sounding the alarm. As in the Hosanna-Tabor case, the Administration’s principal adversary in these religious wars is not the Catholic Church but, rather, First Amendment religious liberty itself.

Despite this developing solidarity among people of diverse faiths against the threat to religious liberty, vocal and well-positioned Catholic dissenters on the left are serving as the Administration’s willing pawns in this war. In the following article in First Things Magazine, George Weigel argues that the credibility of these Catholic collaborators of the Administration is becoming the first casualty in these religious wars, as these Administration apologists reveal the “utter incoherence into which post-conciliar liberal Catholicism in America has tragically fallen”:

George Weigel

The Catholic Diaspora and the Tragedy of Liberal Catholicism

February 29, 2012
George Weigel

In a February 14 note to his people, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., the archbishop of Chicago, commented on the question of “who speaks for the Catholic Church,” which had become a subject of public controversy thanks to the Obama administration’s “contraceptive mandate”—which is, of course, an abortifacient and sterilization mandate as well. The cardinal noted the administration’s crude attempt to play divide-and-conquer with the Catholic Church in the United States, a ploy to which some nominally Catholic groups quickly acquiesced. . . . Continue Reading »

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Posted in abortifacients, birth control, Cardinal Francis George, Catholic colleges, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Hospitals, Catholic nuns, contraception, contraception mandate, George Weigel, health care compromise, Health care mandate, Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC, John Courtney Murray, Jr., Obamacare, religious liberty, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2012, Sister Carol Keehan, The Catholic Church, United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From the National Catholic Register: Crossing the Rubicon

‘We Are Crossing the Rubicon’: House Tackles HHS Mandate  Threat   (143)

Bishop Lori, legal and policy experts raise concerns; a  representative of the Institute of Medicine defends the federal rule.

by  JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND02/29/2012 Comments (1)

WASHINGTON — Yesterday a full House Judiciary Committee hearing provided opponents of the HHS contraception mandate  with a forum to explain why President Obama’s “accommodation” failed to address

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/we-are-crossing-the-rubicon-house-tackles-hhs-mandate-threat/#ixzz1nmOU4br3

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Posted in abortifacients, abortion, birth control, Bishop William Lori, Catholic, Catholic Health Association, Catholic Hospitals, Conference of Catholic Bishops, contraception, Deus et Patria, freedom of religion, National Catholic Register, Obamacare, politics, pro-life, religious liberty, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2012, Sister Carol Keehan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment