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White House tells US bishops: listen to liberal Catholics

March 02, 2012

The Obama administration has made it clear that it will not back away from a mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health-care plans, reports Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the US bishops’ conference.

Rather than attempting to reach an agreement with the Catholic hierarchy, the Obama administration is telling bishops that they should take their lead from other Catholics, Cardinal Dolan says. White House aides urged the bishops to listen to liberal Catholics who have accepted the administration’s plan, such as the editors of America magazine.

In an update on the political battle over the Obama mandate, Cardinal Dolan writes:

And a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff ended with the President’s people informing us that the broader concerns of religious freedom--that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption--are all off the table. Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent hardly-surprising but terribly unfortunate editorial in America.

Cardinal Dolan says that the US bishops will continue to seek a reversal of the Obama plan, urging Congress to broaden conscience protections. However he added that a more promising approach might be a court challenge. The cardinal observes that the recent Supreme Court decision in the Hosanna-Tabor case was “a a dramatic rebuff to the administration, but one apparently unheeded by the White House.”

“This has not been a fight of our choosing,” Cardinal Dolan says. “We’d rather not be in it.” But he promises that the bishops will continue their battle to rescind the Obama mandate.


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Show 15 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 05, 2012 6:20 PM ET USA

    Cornelius. The elephant in the room is the ongoing persistence of the USCCB to provide loopholes in Faithful Citizenship documents so that their liberal friends can "in conscience" continue voting for their liberal friends. To analogize an old political saying: "It's the voting booth stupid." Simply complaining and contacting our politicians isn't the answer. Mere feelgoodism. Voting the pro-abortion anti-morality politicians, especially the "Catholic" ones out of office is the solution.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 04, 2012 5:32 PM ET USA

    Cornelius--you are right. Obama has picked a fight he will eventually lose, because he is messin' with the Lord Sabbaoth. In the mean time, the Bishops can ease the process by preaching the truth they should have preached all along. Nothing like a good dose of repentance to bring blessings back to this country. And the same goes for each of the rest of us, as we are well reminded by this site.

  • Posted by: the.dymeks9646 - Mar. 04, 2012 8:43 AM ET USA

    I'm trying to recall any fight the bishops have chosen or even engaged in. There has been very little zeal except for things of this world - In my archdiocese, building the kingdom is mostly about new, impressive buildings and the adoption of liberal positions on the poor, the environment and rights. I pray that the irony of this is taking place during Lent is not lost. It's time for discerning truth and proclaiming it. The time for sentimental gibberish is over.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Mar. 03, 2012 9:36 PM ET USA

    @ElisabethD. I agree that America reliably dissents from Catholic teaching.However, to take the side of the Obama administration in this case must surely require deliberate misrepresentation as well. (I am still trying to find a link to the editorial). I feel more outraged as an American than as a Catholic. And my outrage is at the stench coming from the wreckage of the Society of Jesus. Obama you expect, frevvins sake.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2012 3:23 PM ET USA

    ELISABETHD Thanks.As a Catholic,I feel,America got a wrong President. Can a free people accept anti-religious commands,destroying freedom of belief for Christians ? Every American must defend their rights or they will not know where it will end.

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 03, 2012 12:48 PM ET USA

    In essence the White House said, "Now you bishops, you shouldn't worry your heads about things you don't know about, listen to the Jesuits!" We all know that the Jesuits do feel that way, but to have a bunch of politicians put it in your face.... How does Dominus ac Redemptor sound to you now?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 03, 2012 9:30 AM ET USA

    I think Obama has picked a fight that he will eventually lose. He has united the Bishops against him, and that is very bad politically for him. Honestly, this attack is only weeks old and I'm already tired of hearing the "Bishops had it coming" line. Perhaps they did, but now is not the time for "I told you so" but rather uniting with our Bishops and resisting this assault in any and every way we can. We're in this together.

  • Posted by: thx1688 - Mar. 03, 2012 9:08 AM ET USA

    Indeed, it was not a fight of your choosing Cardinal Dolan, but it was a fight of your making. It is almost impossible to imagine the leadership of the U.S. Bishops (with several notable exceptions) on the issues of abortion, pro-abortion politicians, contraception, ordaining homosexuals, child sex abuse, catastrophic to non-existent catechesis, heretical theology at "Catholic universities, being worse then it actually is. You claim Obama deceived you, but you so easily let yourself be deceived.

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 03, 2012 4:00 AM ET USA

    I hate to say it, but you could see this coming. The bishops have ignored what has been happening. The priest scandals gave impetus to politicians to take on the Church. The bishops proclaimed refusal to impose Canon 915 gave Catholic politicians cover to act politically to protect their jobs and their campaign contributions. (Look how much money flows from Planned Parenthood and the gay crowd to political coffers.) Legal recourse takes time and the results uncertain. Bishops, ACT now!

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 02, 2012 7:38 PM ET USA

    Obama wet his finger and stuck it up in the air. Seems like he has read the Bishops very well They have listened to the liberals and continue to do so. Perhaps one should just join the parade. Even those who know better prefer not to hear the truth or at least not to publish it.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 02, 2012 7:07 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Dolan can huff and puff but he is operating on obama's turf -politics and Obama has done the math. Catholics overwhelmingly use or approve of contraception. The American bishops have sown the seeds of this assault on religious liberty by their 44 years of silence on humanae vitae. I think God is using the HHS mandate to get the church's attention on contraception. Question is - is anyone listening?

  • Posted by: normnuke - Mar. 02, 2012 6:19 PM ET USA

    The effrontery of the Obama administration simply exceeds all bounds.

  • Posted by: Deacon2477677 - Mar. 02, 2012 6:09 PM ET USA

    Obama is like Henry VIII setting himself up as head of the Church by telling the bishops to listen to the liberals. What hubris, what colossal nerve!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 02, 2012 5:46 PM ET USA

    The mask is off--the White House aims not to make the Catholic Church irrelevant, but to destroy her.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Mar. 02, 2012 3:41 PM ET USA

    America Magazine is notorious for publishing dissent against Catholic teaching. The Bishops are a source of authority; America Magazine is not at all. Advising the bishops to be more like dissenters against Catholic teaching is offensive nonsense. I personally am offended, because Cardinal Dolan and our other good bishops do speak for me and my own deeply held views as a Catholic. I have NO greater treasure than my Catholic faith, my fidelity and Communion with Christ and His Church.