Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, February 13, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Novena of Grace 2016

Home : Faith/Spirituality : Columns
3/20/2012 2:23:00 PM
Federal mandates and the crushing of religious freedom

Fr. Tad Pacholczyk


On Jan 20, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate placing first amendment rights and religious freedom in the crosshairs.
The mandate, as a provision of ObamaCare, requires “preventive health services” to be covered by all health insurance issuers and all group health plans. Those insurance plans must provide (with no co-pay) the full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptive methods for women. These include not only surgical sterilizations, but also potential abortion-causing agents such as Plan B (the morning-after pill), intrauterine devices (IUDs) and another form of “emergency contraception” known as Ella. This drug, which the FDA acknowledges may also work against the life of the embryo “by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus,” can be taken up to 5 days after “unprotected” sex.
Essentially all employers would thus be forced — and therefore complicit in —  financially subsidizing pharmaceutical abortions, contraception and sterilization procedures for their employees. All these procedures represent sinful and damaging human choices, as the Catholic Church has never ceased to point out. 
The mandate constitutes a direct intrusion into the religious works and governance of the Church and represents a federally-sponsored violation of her members’ consciences. The Church, as the largest provider of not-for-profit health care in the US, operates roughly 600 hospitals and employs three quarters of a million people, in addition to employing hundreds of thousands of others in her educational and social service ministries.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago aptly described the authoritarian environment being created by the HHS mandate in one of his recent newspaper columns: “The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church.”
In the words of another commentator, “As is more and more obvious, ObamaCare has nothing to do with controlling healthcare costs. It has everything to do with government control. It's time to admit a mistake, repeal the law, and look at market-based ways to control health care costs.”
Critics of every persuasion have condemned the HHS mandate as a particularly egregious violation both of religious freedom and the rights of conscience. "I side with those who feel this was an insult to freedom of religion and a slap in the face of faith-based institutions," Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of Temple Menorah in Miami Beach said.
Rabbi Dr. Michael Korman of Congregation Anshei Shalom in West Palm Beach concurred: "The entire contraception policy was poorly instituted. It appears to be in violation of our first amendment."
Jessica Devers in a Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal perhaps put it most clearly when she wrote: "I am not Catholic. I am a social liberal and a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I've educated my children about birth control since they were young. Nevertheless, I am offended at the arrogance of our government ruling that the Catholic Church must provide a benefit that the church believes is immoral."
On February 10, after stormy reaction even from President Obama’s staunchest Catholic supporters, he announced a so-called “accommodation,” which — as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly explained — really changed nothing. When the government documents were made available, it became clear that there was no compromise at all but rather some slight procedural modifications that left the substance of the mandate entirely intact.
The day the "accommodation" was announced, in fact, the mandate was entered into the Federal Register with no changes, along with vague assurances of possible modifications at a future date (reminiscent of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s famous line when campaigning for ObamaCare: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.") 
Philip Rovner in the same issue of the Wall Street Journal sums it up this way: “The …premise in favor of the birth-control mandate is based on [its] being ‘essential to the health of women and families.’ I assume such items as food, housing, clothing and transportation are ‘essential to the health of women and families,’ as well. Therefore, I propose that the ObamaCare mandates be extended to cover food, shelter, clothing, autos, etc. In this scenario, everybody would be paying for everyone else's essentials…”
The real issue, of course, has nothing to do with access to particular “reproductive issues” (like abortion or birth control), and everything to do with whether someone else can be forced by the strong arm of a federal mandate,  in direct violation of their religious freedom, to pay for practices they recognize as morally reprehensible.
On Jan 20, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate placing first amendment rights and religious freedom in the crosshairs. The mandate, as a provision of ObamaCare, requires “preventive health services” to be covered by all health insurance issuers and all group health plans. Those insurance plans must provide (with no co-pay) the full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptive methods for women. These include not only surgical sterilizations, but also potential abortion-causing agents such as Plan B (the morning-after pill), intrauterine devices (IUDs) and another form of “emergency contraception” known as Ella. This drug, which the FDA acknowledges may also work against the life of the embryo “by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus,” can be taken up to 5 days after “unprotected” sex.
Essentially all employers would thus be forced — and therefore complicit in —  financially subsidizing pharmaceutical abortions, contraception and sterilization procedures for their employees. All these procedures represent sinful and damaging human choices, as the Catholic Church has never ceased to point out. 
The mandate constitutes a direct intrusion into the religious works and governance of the Church and represents a federally-sponsored violation of her members’ consciences. The Church, as the largest provider of not-for-profit health care in the US, operates roughly 600 hospitals and employs three quarters of a million people, in addition to employing hundreds of thousands of others in her educational and social service ministries.
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago aptly described the authoritarian environment being created by the HHS mandate in one of his recent newspaper columns: “The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church.”
In the words of another commentator, “As is more and more obvious, ObamaCare has nothing to do with controlling healthcare costs. It has everything to do with government control. It's time to admit a mistake, repeal the law, and look at market-based ways to control health care costs.”
Critics of every persuasion have condemned the HHS mandate as a particularly egregious violation both of religious freedom and the rights of conscience. "I side with those who feel this was an insult to freedom of religion and a slap in the face of faith-based institutions," Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of Temple Menorah in Miami Beach said.
Rabbi Dr. Michael Korman of Congregation Anshei Shalom in West Palm Beach concurred: "The entire contraception policy was poorly instituted. It appears to be in violation of our first amendment."
Jessica Devers in a Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal perhaps put it most clearly when she wrote: "I am not Catholic. I am a social liberal and a supporter of Planned Parenthood. I've educated my children about birth control since they were young. Nevertheless, I am offended at the arrogance of our government ruling that the Catholic Church must provide a benefit that the church believes is immoral."
On February 10, after stormy reaction even from President Obama’s staunchest Catholic supporters, he announced a so-called “accommodation,” which — as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly explained — really changed nothing. When the government documents were made available, it became clear that there was no compromise at all but rather some slight procedural modifications that left the substance of the mandate entirely intact.
The day the "accommodation" was announced, in fact, the mandate was entered into the Federal Register with no changes, along with vague assurances of possible modifications at a future date (reminiscent of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s famous line when campaigning for ObamaCare: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.") 
Philip Rovner in the same issue of the Wall Street Journal sums it up this way: “The …premise in favor of the birth-control mandate is based on [its] being ‘essential to the health of women and families.’ I assume such items as food, housing, clothing and transportation are ‘essential to the health of women and families,’ as well. Therefore, I propose that the ObamaCare mandates be extended to cover food, shelter, clothing, autos, etc. In this scenario, everybody would be paying for everyone else's essentials…”
The real issue, of course, has nothing to do with access to particular “reproductive issues” (like abortion or birth control), and everything to do with whether someone else can be forced by the strong arm of a federal mandate,  in direct violation of their religious freedom, to pay for practices they recognize as morally reprehensible.




Advanced Search






Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved