Archive | 10:01 pm

What You Need to Know About the HHS Mandate

6 Feb

The communications department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has offered some important clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, reproduced below:

1. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them “religious employers” worthy of conscience protection, because they do not “serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets.” HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society–a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

2. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs; forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs.

3. The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though commonly called the “contraceptive mandate,” HHS’s mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization. And by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as “Ella,” a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.

4. Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate. Even Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS’s decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne, Mark Shields, and Michael Sean Winters; Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins: and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association. Continue reading

Handling the Truth

6 Feb

Many of us who uphold the Church’s teachings, especially in questions of morals, have been told we’re not “compassionate.” How dare we tell couples they shouldn’t live together before marriage, or that they shouldn’t contracept, let alone abort their children, once they’re married? How dare we tell those with same-sex attractions to avoid acting upon these urges? How dare we bring up uncomfortable truths on a whole range of issues, from capital punishment and just wars to honesty, the rights of workers, and the Sunday obligation?

In other words, for many, truth is a hindrance to their conception of compassion and love. Yet truth and love are opposite sides of the same coin!

I’ve been to Confession many, many times in my life (good thing, too!). I have had confessors mechanically mete out an absolution and penance, perhaps in the process reminding me just how evil the sins I committed were. I’ve had other confessors tell me that nothing I mentioned was a sin, that I was a “good man,” and that for my penance I should “lighten up” and “do something just for me.”

The first type of confessor tried to communicate the truth about sin, while the second type tried to communicate “compassion.” While the grace of the sacrament is always present, my most fruitful experiences of Confession have brought together both elements. The priest affirmed the truth about sin, but also in a tangible way communicated the peace, healing, and mercy of Christ. Continue reading