January 30th, 2012
09:27 PM ET

Catholic clergymen come out swinging against HHS regulation

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) – Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken denounced the policy at Mass in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday and received a standing ovation, CNN affiliate WLUK reported.

“If we pay for those services for people who work for us, we are in effect saying don’t do it, but then giving the money to pay for it,” said Ricken.

In a letter read to congregants in the Atlanta Archdiocese, Archbishop Wilton Gregory called the policy “a matter of grave moral concern.”

To read the complete story go to CNN's Belief Blog.

Topics: Catholic vote • President Obama • The News

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soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    I don't want government in my religion and I don't want religion in my government. These Catholic hospitals are a business that offers benefits to their employees. If the employee want to follow Catholic teaching they do not have to purchase birth control or have abortion. If the Catholic Church wants to pressure their followers about politics that is fine but they must pay taxes as well. I don't want government in my religion and I don't want religion in my government.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • John

      Church's ran hospitals before Obamacare. Do you want those hospitals to close now? The issue is Obamacare and the insider issues it causes. Just like the auto industry – do you think if it were a Toyota instead of a governmnet owned Chevy that is blowing up the response may have been difference?

      January 31, 2012 at 6:10 am |
      • JB Sullivan

        Obamacare is good medicine. The catholic Church wishes to continue its traditional suppression of women and sexuality. As a Catholic, I oppose the clergy's stance on birth control and so do the majority of Catholic women. We will lead and the bishops will follow!

        January 31, 2012 at 9:01 am |
      • Trace

        ...and before Obamacare (in your hyperbolic little Tea Potty lingo), the catholic church had a huge problem with pedofiles. So which is worse...women taking birth control or priests abusing children?

        Hypocrisy knows know bounds with you and your vapid party

        January 31, 2012 at 9:15 am |
      • Ozymandias71

        And what about those Catholic hospitals that got tax monies from the government? I didn't hear you complain when Catholic hospitals were saying 'We'll deny you service because of our beliefs, but we'll gladly take your tax money.'

        January 31, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • gerald

        This issue is not just about hospitals. REad my post below.

        January 31, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • TellItLikeItIs

        JB Sullivan – two points:-

        [1] NOMINAL catholics can oppose if they wish; PRACTISING Catholics follow the church's teaching. The church doesn't "force" – it teaches. In that teaching it accepts that people have free will to accept or deny it. Don't pretend they are domineering because that is not true
        [2] "most catholic women are against the Catholic church's stance on contraception...." sweeping statement or just your opinion ? Either way, facts and sources, please.

        Trace – Abuse is a different thread, stick to the point, please.

        January 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • gerald

      You don't have the facts on the issue. The rules aren't just about hospitals. They are about ALL Catholic related services. As the new rules are stated a Catholic Church might have a protestant janitor or secretary. If they do they would have to provide things in their health care plan that are objectionable to the Catholic religion. THis is in fact government getting involded in religion and forcing it to go against it's conscience.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • TellItLikeItIs

        Abso-blooming-lutely, Gerald. Excellent post. Dominus vobiscum.

        January 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
      • frankweathers

        NARAL Wants to Make this A Petition Race? http://shar.es/fA9si

        February 7, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  2. mongopoo

    The clergy should come out swinging against the p3dophiles the church refuses to expose.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • TellItLikeItIs

      Stick to the point. There are other threads for that.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  3. Joey

    It'll be decided when the Supreme Court makes their ruling. Either the whole law stays or it crumbles like a house of cards.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Trace

      yeah....let's fight for the right to lose our insurance if we lose our jobs, let's fight so that senior's get caught paying a $1000 more for the donut hole/gaps in coverage, and here's an idea make sure those same seniors have to decided between medicine and food, also, while we're at it let's fight so that insurance companies can throw someone with a pre-existing condition (i.e. when they most need, wink wink)...and to make sure that kids up to 26 years old CANNOT stay on their parents insurance

      Yeah, thought sounds really good....FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANIES YOU IGNORAMOUS !

      January 31, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  4. Catholic_MD

    First of all, John and Joey, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with "Obamacare" this is the department of Health and Human Services making regulation about ... believe it or not ... Health and Human Services.

    Second, I am a practicing Catholic, and a practicing physician, so I can see this issue for what it truly is. As a Catholic I'm morally opposed to abortion and birth control. As a physician since I'm morally opposed to abortion I don't perform them, however that won't stop me from advocating for my patient. If she's dead set on terminating her pregnancy as long as its within the timeframe dictated by law I'll not stop her, and will point her toward a colleague whom I know performs them safely and legally. As far as contraception is concerned, while I don't use it myself, I'm not going to stop my patients from using it, and while I wouldn't go out of my way to suggest someone start on a birth control regimen, I'm also not going to go out of my way to not prescribe it for a patient that wants and/or needs it.

    As a Catholic I believe in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and therefore I believe that God has given us free will and moral guidance so that we can make the right choice, but he has also made us fallible so when we do inevitably make mistakes or sin there's a process to earn His forgiveness.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • gerald

      You have the issue right. I am saddened that you do direct people toward doctors who will help them murder their babies. I suggest you reconsider this practice as it is morally wrong.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • Catholic_MD

        My conscience can take the hit that a woman who decides she will abort her pregnancy, if she's done so over my counsel, she'll do so over most people's objections. In some places where the laws are more restrictive the practices that perform such procedures are less than reputable and quite frankly if you're seeking out someone to perform an illegal procedure and they do something that's clearly malpractice, how are you going to blow the whistle on them? Implicate yourself?

        I would much rather send this woman, one of God's children, to someone who will treat her as such and not someone who will treat her as a malfunctioning washing machine. I take my oath seriously to "First, do no harm", and someone who is in dire straits and might seek out a more dangerous course of action is more likely to do so if I simply shut my door to them. Now, as far as the women who use abortion as a form of birth control, I do have the ability to not accept them as patients.

        January 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
      • gerald

        If we have to justify, then it is not the truth. We can't in any way participate in a murder. If someone comes to us and says I want someone killed, will you do it for 100 bucks, do you say "no, I am against hit men and send him to another one"? You may say "well abortion isn't illegal". Do you stand up for your Catholic faith as a doctor or not? Do you believe it should be?

        February 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • Steveo


        I am not a Catholic but I appreciate your efforts in this battle!

        February 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • TellItLikeItIs

      I completely agree with Gerald.

      With respect Catholic_MD – you made a statement that non-catholics usually level at Catholics – Do whatever you like; go to the sacrament of Reconciliation ; then go home and do it all again because you're "safe"

      The Sacrament of Reconciliation is about being truly sorry for having offended God and for promising that you will not only try NOT to repeat the offence but AVOID all occasions where you might re-offend.

      You are misleading and damage the essence of the Sacrament. And that, my friend, is giving bad example and disloyal toyour Faith. I am not judging you; just questioning your own statement.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  5. XtianNation

    Obama must be impeached immediately!!!!! His only goal is to murder innocent babies and prevent life!!!! He is spitting in the face of the Creator and forcing his liberal anti-life agenda down everyone's throat!!! This is highly unconstitutional and immoral!!!!! Please, fellow Christians, fight for our God and our religion before Obama destroys it!!!!

    January 31, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Steveo

      No Christian I know uses the term xtian or xmas or x anything! The term is Christian not xtian!

      January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • TellItLikeItIs

        Steveo – It's not an ideal title, I agree but truly we don't need the grammar gestapo here; what's your comment about the subject in hand?

        January 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • TellItLikeItIs

      Steveo – The name isn't ideal but we don't need the grammar police here, we want comments on the subject in hand. Do try to keep your eye on the ball, there's a good chap.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • Steveo

        I stand by my statement! Lots of posers here hiding behind computers saying something stupid and causing a chain reaction! I know of NO christian who uses xtain in place of Christian! Do you? In fact read the comment Obama must be impeached. Ok! But if you and xtain were honest you would call for the impeachment of EVERY president since 1973. You did not do that, chap! You missed the ball!

        February 1, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  6. Mike

    When I heard "Catholic clergy come out swinging" I just assumed they were opening up about having multiple pedophelic encounters, and swapping victims and so on. The honesty would have been refreshing..

    January 31, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  7. Vince

    If its that big of a deal to Catholics...then quit your job. No one is forcing you to work and be covered under a plan.

    January 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Gerald

      Vince, clearly you don't understand the issue. It is not about working for a non-Catholic company who provides contraceptive services. It is about forcing Catholic agencies, even parishes who employ non-Catholics to provide contraceptive coverage for ALL their employees if one if them is not Catholic or even if they in some way minister to people who are not Catholic.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • TellItLikeItIs

      Vince – do yourself and us a favour. Read the article again. And this time get it right, please.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  8. Gerald

    I was manning a table on Sunday where we discussed the issue with parishioners and had letters for them to send to their representatives and Senators. Lot's of interest. Catholic layity are up in arms about this. About time the layity take the bull by the short ones.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Susan

      Your "church" should lose its tax exemption for politicking like this – you guys have no shame and no conscience. Why should taxpayers foot the bill for your politics? Pay your taxes like anyone else. Obama administration 100% right – if you have employees in America covered by health care *all* their care should be covered, including birth control. Period. If you don't want to abide by those rules divest your business.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • Steveo

        1. Why hasn't Congress changed the tax laws?
        2. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? The "state" is poking around in the church inviolation of its own rules! Why is that? Why is it ok to SELECTIVELY apply it? i

        February 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Glades2

    If the administration is going to try to force this down our throats they are in for a fight, because as any Christian knows a watered-down faith is unacceptable to God, and I'd rather be rejected by my own country in this life than be rejected eternally by God...

    February 1, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Steveo

      !00% with you!

      February 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  10. C-Lo

    This just highlights the wrongheadedness of the left. They scream for the false doctrine of "separation of church and state," taken from a Jeffersonian letter, ironically telling a church not to be alarmed at potential gov't intrusion, and as seems too typical, they flip it and tell the gov't not to be worried about church intrusion.

    So answer me this, if the left is so adamant about this "separation" why doesn't it apply here? I already know your answers, and as usual they will be something along the lines of "women's rights" and "equal health care" and "the law." I'll ask, this, where are the rights of the unborn to their future reproductive choices or good health care? You'lll hide behind the facade of the commerce clause, at least those of you who will debate the issue. Most, however, will resort to personal attacks.

    The issue here is a heckuvalot deeper than "reproductive" rights. It is the continued gov't intrusion into every facet of our existence, from the un-Patriot act to forced inclusion in private contract. This whole thing is staring you in the face and at the end of the day, you claim it's for "our own good."

    You will fall into one of two camps, either you are a direct beneficiary of "the system," or you think so poorly of you fellow countrymen that you don't believe we can make our own choices and suffer our own consequences without the daily aid of Lord President (whomever might hold that office at any given time).

    February 2, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  11. Steveo

    C-Lo, some people are allergic to the truth! Jefferson's letter addressed the concerns of PASTORS over the European model! The answer to your question as to why that separation does not apply here: HYPOCRISY! Plain and simple!

    February 2, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • C-Lo

      Yes, Steveo, I was just hoping to see how dizzy someone would get trying to spin this history again. I find it ironic that so many (as you say, on both sides) continuously scream for more freedoms for themselves while asking for more gov't intrusion (regulation and taxes) on everyone else. This is the fact that really chaps my hide!

      February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am |
      • Steveo

        I agree with you. What chaps my hide is the half truth, outright lies, and hypocrisy. I just read a blog from someone on the left railing against the right. The blogger accuses the right of calling names. Yet in that very same blog in was GOP clowns this and GOP clown that! One three occasions! Hypocrisy! The same blog called out the right for racism! The blogger had a point but NOBODY is faster in pulling the race card than the left! According to them even honest disagreement with this president is rooted in hatred and racism! Once against hypocrisy! I don't think they even recognize it! I am not sure if the extremists on either side can!

        February 2, 2012 at 11:52 am |