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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

New HHS Mandate must truly eliminate complicity

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 23, 2014

It will be interesting to see what the White House comes up with next, now that the HHS Contraceptive Mandate in its present form has been shot down. The most likely outcome would be a proposal which keeps contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilizing procedures covered by medical insurance without construing it as coverage provided by employers who object.

One would like to see active resistance stop the Mandate altogether. One would also like to see religiously-committed organizations find ways to continue to challenge it until they succeed in stopping it altogether. That is unlikely, but the lesser goal is also important. I mean the goal of exempting those with moral objections in a manner which truly does ease the burden on their consciences.

In yesterday’s On the Culture essay, I wondered whether “our Catholic maneuvers” under such pressures would “be truly ‘deft’ or just plain ‘shifty’.” This is not an idle question. It is not enough to be “shifty” in accepting a proposed solution that finally succeeds in hiding the truth about what is actually happening. Thus far, either the Obama Administration has not understood Christian objections sufficiently to offer a solution which looks good on paper, or those who object have not been willing to settle for something that looks good only on paper.

There is some evidence for each of these two possibilities. But only one can constitute an acceptable outcome. What is necessary is a solution which does not merely save moral face but actually makes a moral difference. What is necessary is a solution which, however little it may change the frequency with which these immoral services are used, really does enable good Christians to avoid complicity with the evil.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: filioque - Jul. 25, 2014 11:23 PM ET USA

    The problem is not that the Administration does not understand moral objections. It doesn't care. It did not stumble inadvertantly into this mess and it has made NO effort to get out of it, only to tweak and change as little as possible and only when forced by the courts. When they came up with their "accommodation" two years ago, they consulted their friends at the Catholic Hospital Association, not the Catholic bishops. They want religion to be irrelevant in public life, period.