Why certain Catholic leaders make life difficult for Catholics
President Barack Obama, who is moving ahead with a regulation that forces observant American Catholics to act against their consciences and the teachings of their faith, will be one of the keynote speakers at an Oct. 18 white-tie fundraiser hosted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Mitt Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts determined that Catholic hospitals in that state would be required to distribute Plan B abortion pills to rape victims, will join Obama as a keynote speaker at the white-tie dinner.
Obama is outspokenly and unambiguously pro-abortion. He is also the only sitting president in U.S. history to expressly support same-sex marriage.
In Illinois in 2001, Obama was the only state senator to speak on the senate floor against legislation that would have simply said a born baby is a “person,” a “human being,” a “child,” and an “individual” and thus entitled under the 14th Amendment to equal protection of the law.
In June, under Cardinal Dolan’s leadership, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously approved a statement condemning a regulation issued under the Obamacare law by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that requires virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover, without cost-sharing, sterilizations, artificial contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
The unanimous statement cited the bishops’ “vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate.” It pointed out that the regulation not only failed to exempt Catholic institutions such as hospitals, charities and universities, but also attacked the free exercise of religion of individual Catholic laypersons.
The bishops unanimously called the regulation a “violation of personal civil rights.”
On May 21, Cardinal Dolan’s Archdiocese of New York sued HHS Secretary Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner arguing the regulation violated the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
The lawsuit said the Obama administration was attempting to use a federal regulation to make Catholics act against their faith and was specifically designed to discriminate against the religious institutions, such as Catholic institutions, that oppose both abortion and contraception. The Archdiocese of New York’s lawsuit also suggested President Obama himself had been duplicitous.
“The legislative history of the Act [Obamacre] also demonstrates a clear congressional intent to prohibit the executive branch from requiring group health plans to provide abortion-related services,” the lawsuit said. “For example, the House of Representatives originally passed a bill that included an amendment by Congressman Bart Stupak prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion services. The Senate version, however, lacked that restriction. To avoid a filibuster in the Senate, congressional proponents of the Act engaged in a procedure known as ‘budget reconciliation’ that required the House to adopt the Senate version of the bill largely in its entirety. Congressman Stupak and other pro-life House members, however, indicated that they would refuse to vote for the Senate version because it failed adequately to prohibit federal funding of abortion. In an attempt to address these concerns, President Obama issued an executive order providing that no executive agency would authorize the federal funding of abortion services.”
“The Act was, therefore, passed on the central premise that all agencies would uphold and follow ‘longstanding Federal laws to protect conscience’ and to prohibit federal funding of abortion,” said the archdiocese’s lawsuit. “That executive order was consistent with a 2009 speech that President Obama gave at the University of Notre Dame, in which he indicated that his Administration would honor the consciences of those who disagree with abortion, and draft sensible conscience clauses.”
Nonetheless, the New York Archdiocese’s lawsuit alleges, the Obama administration swiftly turned around and violated the assurance Obama had given Rep. Stupak to get Obamacare passed. It did so by forcing all health-plans—including those that would be bought or provided by Catholics—to cover abortion-inducing drugs.
“In less than two years, Defendants promulgated the U.S. Government Mandate, subverting the Act’s clear purpose to protect the rights of conscience,” said the lawsuit.
– Well, it may be a clear purpose to you. But we’ll have to wait and see what John Roberts sees when he looks through his magical, severely conservative / federalist X-Ray specs.
But I digress.
In stump speeches this summer, President Obama has repeatedly defended and boasted about this HHS regulation that the archdiocese of New York is arguing in federal court was designed with the “purpose” of discriminating against “organizations that oppose abortion and contraception.”
CNSNew.com contacted the the Archdiocese of New York on Monday and Tuesday to ask about the reported invitation to President Obama to keynote the Al Smith dinner, but did not get a response.
Late Tuesday, however, the New York Times posted an article with an explanation from the archdiocese on the invitation to Obama.
“It is the tradition of the Smith dinner to invite the presidential candidates in the presidential election years in the spirit of nonpartisanship, good humor and good fellowship,” archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling told the Times.
In 2004, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on “Catholics in Political Life.” It said: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
It seems odd that an agnostic like me would have to make this clear to the Catholic Church, but I very much doubt that the idea of Christian charity and turning the other cheek was meant to be read as a willingness to tolerate and even embrace what to your faith is, in fact, the Devil — no matter that such a toleration is in keeping with the politically-charged false piety of “nonpartisanship, good humor and good fellowship.”
Because when you do, you invariably get some of that Beast stink all up in the fibers of your robe, and all over your sweet giant hat.