Crisis Magazineby Paul Kengor
Americaâ€™s Catholic bishops are princes of diplomacy, highly educated, erudite, men of tact, propriety. Theyâ€™re asked to shepherd the flock with a long historical timeframeâ€”like, say, eternity. They tend not to have knee-jerk reactions to issues of the moment.
And so, itâ€™s not often when a paragon of decorum, namely, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik, publishes a letter in his diocesan newspaper with a title like, â€œTo hell with you.â€
Gee, what could have provoked that? The answer is the Obama administration via its horrendous mandate to Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacientsâ€”that is, birth-control drugs that induce abortion. The Catholic Church defines these things as â€œevil.â€ The Church and its members are now being told they must provide them. By fiat, the Obama administration has issued that decree.
It sort of flies in the face of that old freedom of religion thing weâ€™ve always had in America. And itâ€™s certainly of concern not merely to Catholics but all Americans.
Hereâ€™s what happened:
Last August, the Obama administrationâ€™s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidelines for implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as, â€œObama-care.â€ The guidelines mandated that by summer 2012 all health-insurance plansâ€”yes, all of themâ€”must cover any and all FDA-approved contraception, sterilization procedures, and pharmaceuticals, even those that produce or result in abortion. Every employer and employee must pay for these things, even if they violate the dictates of their conscience. The employers include all Catholic institutions, from colleges to hospitals to nursing homes to social-service agencies to charities â€¦ to whatever else. â€œAllâ€ means â€œall.â€
Howâ€™s that for â€œsocial justiceâ€?
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