President reaches out to Catholics on Ash Wednesday
February 22nd, 2012
11:29 AM ET

President reaches out to Catholics on Ash Wednesday

On this Ash Wednesday the president and first lady sent out the following greeting:

"Today, Michelle and I honor Ash Wednesday with Christians around the country and across the world. This is at once a solemn and joyous occasion, an opportunity to remember both the depths of sacrifice and the height of redemption. We join millions in entering the Lenten Season with truly thankful hearts, mindful of our faith and our obligations to one another."

The statement, aimed at the over 75 million Catholics in the United States, will likely also be welcomed by those in the Obama Administration including Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

Topics: Catholic vote • President Obama • The Buzz
White House offers an olive branch to Catholic voters?
February 7th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

White House offers an olive branch to Catholic voters?


WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – The White House appears to be softening its stance on the controversial rule forcing some religious organizations to provide birth control as part of their health insurance plans.

“The president's interest at a policy level is in making sure that this coverage is extended to all women because it's important,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.  “(On) the other side is finding the right balance…concerns about religious beliefs and convictions. So we will, in this transition period …seek to find ways to implement that policy that allay some of those concerns.”

More than two weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Service issued a mandate instructing all employers that provide health insurance to their employees include the option for paid birth control, the morning after pill and intrauterine devices. The rule, scheduled to go into effect next summer, excluded churches from participation.  The mandate did not exclude religiously affiliated employers like universities and hospitals creating a firestorm.

Tuesday’s softened rhetoric makes it appear the administration is willing to work with religious employers on a finding a compromise before the rule goes into effect.  But the White House still insists that women employed by these religiously affiliated employers must have access to insurance coverage that pays for contraceptives.

Some leaders in the Catholic Church say that compromise is not enough. FULL POST

Topics: Catholic vote • Health care • White House
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