Friday, February 10, 2012

Video and Text: Bp Slattery's response to Obama's "accomodation"

In the meanwhile, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma has released his own statement, and we may see other bishops doing the same.

Here is video; below is the text

My response to President Obama's HHS mandate "accommodation"
2/10/2012 - Bishop Edward J. Slattery
February 10, 2012
Saint Scholastica

Today, the President of the United States has issued what he referred to as an accommodation on the mandate from Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued on January 20 of this year. This mandate would have required - among other things - that religious institutions provide through their insurance policies hormonal contraception, abortifacients and direct sterilization, even though such a mandate violates our conscience and run counter to the 1st Amendment guarantee for the free exercise of Religion.

We are grateful that the President has begun to listen to the voices raised in opposition to this intrusion on our first amendment rights, and we are encouraged that he understands the urgency of this matter. However, we are dismayed that he does not understand the root issues which are involved here.

There will be a time, there must be a time, when Americans of good will and strong conscience discuss these points in a rational and non-idealogical conversation.

• First, no one is asking why it is that the Catholic Church is opposed to artificial birth control, direct sterilization and abortifacients. For two thousand years, the Church has understood that all of these methods that prevent life damage marriages and thereby weaken the fabric of society.

• Secondly, in describing artificial birth control, direct sterilization and abortifacients as “Preventive care” it is apparent that the ideology which underlies this governmental intrusion is that pregnancy is a disease and that the conception of life should be prevented.

• Thirdly, the question of who ultimately pays for this immoral coverage has remained unanswered by the President. Free coverage is never free; someone will have to pay for this coverage in their premium.

These three points will have to be addressed at some time, but what I want to address here is the constitutional issue. President Obama agreed that religious institutions would not compelled to directly pay for coverage which betrays their religious tenants or violates their conscience. This would include churches and those charitable institutions, schools and hospitals by which churches fulfill their mission.

However, the Constitution of the United States does not merely guarantee the freedom of religion to institutions, but to every American.

This includes every businessman or woman who willingly provides health insurance to his or her employees. It includes every single mother, every married couple, and every individual who does not wish to cooperate in this sin. No one should be required to betray their religious and moral beliefs or violate their conscience.

I want to encourage people not to be afraid of the sacrifices which are required to love one another with a genuine, faithful and life-giving love. Through these we are made holy and are formed more fully into what God wants us to be. Thank you.

The USCCB has issued a statement, which is, to my mind, a pass on making a more formal statement at this time. I'm perfectly fine with Dolan issuing his statement for the USCCB on Monday.  It will give him time to get buy-in on the language from other bishops.  I just hope he puts something out as good as what Bishop Slattery offered.

Before everyone gets upset thinking that +Dolan is giving in, you need to read very carefully.

February 10, 2012

New opportunity to dialogue with executive branch
Too soon to tell whether and how much improvement on core concerns
Commitment to religious liberty for all means legislation still necessary

WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sees initial opportunities in preserving the principle of religious freedom after President Obama’s announcement today. But the Conference continues to express concerns. “While there may be an openness to respond to some of our concerns, we reserve judgment on the details until we have them,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of USCCB.

“The past three weeks have witnessed a remarkable unity of Americans from all religions or none at all worried about the erosion of religious freedom and governmental intrusion into issues of faith and morals,” he said.

“Today’s decision to revise how individuals obtain services that are morally objectionable to religious entities and people of faith is a first step in the right direction,” Cardinal-designate Dolan said. “We hope to work with the Administration to guarantee that Americans’ consciences and our religious freedom are not harmed by these regulations.”

First, I don't think it's all bad for a more formal statement to come out early next week. 

What I want to point out here is that the USCCB, in this, "we'll talk to you when we're ready" statement, Dolan talks about it being a "step in the right direction". Well, pay attention to the "it" he is talking about. I don't believe he is talking about the President's words, but the fact that Obama is recognizing something needs to change. Further up in the statement he says that the USCCB continues to express concerns. Stay tuned early next week for a more thorough response.

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