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January 30th, 2012
06:49 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."

"In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty," the letter continued and was read at all English and Spanish language Masses, the diocese said in a statement.

The policy goes into effect on August 1, but U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in a statement January 20 that religious organizations that do not provide contraceptive coverage based on religious belief will have until August 1, 2013, to comply.

"This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," Sebelius said in the statement.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a statement.

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their health care is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty," said Dolan who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States.

Just before the release of Sebelius' statement, President Barack Obama called Dolan to discuss the change in policy, Dolan's spokesman told CNN. Dolan expressed his disappointment to the president and asked if the measure could be changed to include more religious exemptions, to which the president said no. Dolan's spokesman said the two had discussed the measure earlier in November before the HHS policy was set.

A White House official told CNN's Dan Lothian late on Monday that "there are Catholics who support the administration's decision." The official also noted support from other religious groups for the policy.

A spokesperson for the conference said there was no way to tell how many parishes  addressed the issue this weekend, but said after receiving multiple queries from dioceses around the country, they posted a draft letter on an internal website for churches to adapt and read to congregants.

The Conference of Bishops is also urging congregates to reach out to the White House and members of Congress to express their disagreement with the measure.

The Food and Drug Administration first approved the birth control pill in 1960.  When  oral contraceptives first entered the market, theologians across the religious spectrum wrestled with how to the deal with new medication.  Many Protestant denominations said the use of contraceptives was OK for married couples.

The Catholic Church came out against the use of any type of contraceptives in 1968.  In an encyclical letter to Catholics entitled Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI outlined the church's teaching on the matter.

"Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children," the letter reads.

The encyclical also reiterated the church's ban on sterilization for men and women, either temporary or permanent, and left no room for interpretation on the new birth control medications.

"Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means," it reads.

Birth control is the most common type of medication taken by young and middle-aged women. Women’s health advocates said the new rules would affect millions of women. Currently, 32 states require insurance plans to cover contraceptives, but 16 of them provide a “conscience exception” for religious employers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Contraceptive coverage is one of several services that must be covered without co-pays or deductibles in the new Affordable Care Act, which critics have dubbed "Obamacare."  Other such services are annual checkups, mammograms, testing for HIV and breastfeeding support.

The Sebelius statement also said the rule won’t affect existing conscience laws, which allow doctors and hospitals to avoid providing services, such as birth control, that violate their religious beliefs.

CNN's Caleb Hellerman and Dan Gilgoff contributed to this article.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Health care • Mass • Politics • United States

soundoff (740 Responses)
  1. Midwestmatt

    The Catholic Church is large, wealthy, powerful and morally bankrupt. And it's closer to its demise than it could possibly imagine.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      That may be true. Let it be.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  2. Midwestmatt

    The Catholic Church is large, wealthy, powerful and morally bankrupt. And closer to its demise than it could possible imagine.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  3. ptmmac, athens, ga

    The Catholic Church's teaching is a ruling based upon what is best way for the church to keep all of its political power. More Catholics means more political power. There is no way that Christ taught his followers to hate based upon moral judgement passed by the powers in charge of them. Jesus is always on the side of the poor, weak, and disenfranchised, not the ecclesiastical power brokers that are only concerned with what is best for themselves. Justice is what results when we care for the downtrodden. Reproductive choice is a fundamental right that no religious, political, ethnic or social group has the right to deny. The Catholic Church is just plain wrong here.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • George

      Why don't you tell us exactly what political power the Catholic church has in the 21st Century?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • I, Popey ! ! !

      Power? 68,503,456 Catholics is an enormous voting bloc. And Popey does give political direction . . . like this

      January 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Romney believes that the horn-blowing angel Moroni appeared to the con artist Joseph Smith. Not good for someone who wants to be president of any group !!! Obama "mouths" that he is Christian i.e. believes in gay Gabriel and war-mongering Michael the Archangel and Satan. BO's support of abortion however vitiates has Christianity as he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who are now the largest voting block in the country. Immoral Majority you ask??

      The 78 million voting "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb babies !!! (2012 -1973 Rowe vs. Wade = 39.

      39 x 2 million = 78 million.

      Abortion rate in the USA as per the CDC is one million/yr.

      And the presidential popular vote in 2008? 69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM. The population of the Immoral Majority in 2008? ~ 70 million !!!!!!

      And of course many of the Immoral Majority consider themselves "catholic".

      January 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • DragonPat1

      Poor George doesn't have a clue it seems; well, that's what you get by not keeping up in the world. The Catholic Church wields a lot of power over its subjects and has the money and political connections to achieve most goals it desires. The church doesn't operate so much in the open as it once did yet behind the scenes it has great sway. When the Catholic Church issues an edict its one billion subjects has a tendency to believe in and follow a papal decree. Remember, the Catholic Church is one of the largest corporations in the world and with that kind of money and people power it is mighty, to think it is impotent is imbecilic.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • notogop

      George, you need to remove your head from the sand or your a$$. You neck is surely getting tired.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  4. t.sarcastic

    Wouldn't we all love to live under a theocracy??

    January 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • George

      I would. Then we could prevent all of the non-Christians from procreating.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • George

      Wouldn't it be better than secularism?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • George

      Our country would be much better if we could stop women from voting and keep them home to raise the christian children. The non-christian women would make good maids.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Observer

      "Our country would be much better if we could stop women from voting and keep them home to raise the christian children."

      LOL. The smartest person in the world now is a woman who likely has twice our IQ, really. Tell us how she should be inferior to ANY man. LOL again.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • George

      God does not care about intelligent. In his infinite wisdom he appointment men to be the decision makers. Perhaps this woman you refer to is really an agent of the devil.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Observer

      George,

      Marilyn vos Savant likely has TWICE your IQ. Tell us how you are smarter and know better. LOL!

      January 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  5. Jimh77

    They do have the RIGHT to NOT accept the health insurance. And it is the first ammendment for us to also enjoy.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  6. mike

    Will somebody please explain to me how the Catholic Church gets to keep their tax exempt status when they are constantly elbow deep in politics?

    January 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • ex-Catholic

      Poorly written tax code by politicians who aren't man enough to stand up to the hand that feeds them.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Jimh77

      Mike, Catholic Church has been involved in Politics since the knights Templar. They were in fact responsible for death sentences the Knights carried out. And they are still very involved.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • RBN

      When you buy politicians, the laws always favor your direction.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • notogop

      The same way they avoid prosecution for child molestation and obstruction of justice. The have a lot of money and always scream separation of church and state when it serves their purposes. The same way they can submit fraudulent asset statements to the courts to hide their wealth from law suits.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  7. Observer

    Nearly every top religious figurefrom Jesus to the pope to nuns are revered and yet not one of them supposedly ever had s-x. It's all hypocrisy to talk about the Bible pushing having children.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  8. mel56

    I've been watching!!! Why do you think the earthquake broke the right arm off your crucified Jesus near DC?[Isaiah 56:1 KJV]

    January 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  9. paganguy

    I have not heard the religous groups opposing the crusades (Iraq, Afghanistan) where people get killed.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • WhinyLiberal

      I'm not a religious group, paganguy, but in the name of my savior Jesus Christ I support the abolition of these wars of hegemonic aggression.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "
      Continued below:
      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      January 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Jimh77

      Hey, Reality. Next time, Write a book!! Good stuff though. Althouhg I haven't validated all you have written yet.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  10. dlalum

    No problem Mr. Obama...the Catholic Church will just close their hospitals. Then where will be most of the US cities in healthcare and employment. Another grand idea President Obama!

    January 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • George

      Exactly. No one should be forced to violate their conscience.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Gary

      St Anthonys Hospital in St Petersburg, (non-proft). CEO 2.5 Millon.
      Ed White Hospital, (Profit) CEO 250K

      Go ahead shut them down. They will easily get picked up. AND better run.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • mike

      Ah, blackmail (with human lives no less), Jesus would be so proud!

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Theend

      "Defense of the faith" at the expense of the "assistance to the poor"...

      January 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • ex-Catholic

      This is precisely the type of blackmail that the church tried to use against the district of columbia. The church would easily find out that public black mail makes for really bad PR. But PR obviously isn't the RCC's strong suit.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • notogop

      They aren't going to close a single bed in a single hospital. These are money makers like no other for the Catholic sects. Look at the Mercy conglomerate out of St. Louis, MO. Do you really think they would jeopardize that golden egg laying goose? No way. Greed will always trump conscience.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  11. Hello

    the Catholic church is against birth control because they sell babies and like to use children as zex toys.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  12. Brian

    Nah what right do YOU have to directly force me to pay for the children people make, that they do not want, but had because they can't and won't practice birth control?

    January 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  13. Gary

    I hate the whole Catholic religion, wonder why??? Oh, Yah, because I was raised Catholic, and had to go to Catholic School.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  14. Michael

    What would you rather do, give someone a lesson on birth control or have to pay for their welfare baby for the next 18 years?

    January 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • George

      How about giving them a lesson on waiting until marriage and until they're ready to have a baby. S.e.x is for procreation.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • AK

      Why don't you do a little research on statistics on out-of-wedlock birth rates before and after the availability of contraceptives and liberalization of abortion laws?

      In theory, there shouldn't be any out-of-wedlock births. A pack of condoms only costs a few dollars and oral/injected contraceptives are available even to the poor through such...enlightened...organizations as Planned Parenthood.

      Something has gone wrong with your plan, in the past +40 years....

      January 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • George

      Oral se.x, however is fine. But no need to contraceptives there. I'll get on my knees tonight and pray that the lord fill you with his warm, loving wisdom.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • George

      So it seems that I have an impersonator, George #2. I'm flattered.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • in god we trust

      Catholics are self-righteous bigots, who will do anything to down play science, and discriminate against those who don't share their views or live by their "social" code. This makes no sense, the employer cannot ask you your religion then offer you a health plan based on religious views. Health plans offered by your employer are for the most part universal and all encompassing. This is a non issue. This priest is just trying to keep the pews filled. Sorry to say though, as Science progresses there is little need for religion. There is a direct correlation between the 2.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • jdoe

      @George: You're kidding, right? So married couples should only do it when they want children, and stop when they're done having kids? Amazing.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Nah

      ingod: "Catholics are self-righteous bigots, who will do anything to down play science, and discriminate against those who don't share their views or live by their "social" code."

      The irony and ignorance in your post is amazing, really. Bravo.

      First, the Church has been at the forefront of scientific advancement for most of its existence. The middle ages notwithstanding (do you know why the Church and modern scientists opposed heliocentrism?), the Church endorsed evolution from its beginning and the Big Bang. In fact, the Big Bang was proposed by a Catholic Bishop who was a mathematician.

      Second, it's ironic that you talk about discrimination when you want to force a church to pay for services they finally morally repugnant. Or are "you" allowed to force your beliefs onto others while no one else can do the same?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • ex-Catholic

      "the Church endorsed evolution"

      Anyone with a basic knowledge of the catechism would easily recognize this statement as 100% false. Either you are extremely ignorant on the history of the church or you are out-right lying.

      Lemaitre was a priest, not a bishop. Please get your 'facts' straight.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • TR6

      George, get a grip, do you think your god is that stupid? If god only intended $ex to be for procreation he wouldn’t have made it nearly so much fun

      January 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • TR6

      @Nah:”First, the Church has been at the forefront of scientific advancement for most of its existence. The middle ages notwithstanding”

      Why are the middle ages notwithstanding? Perhaps it’s because the churches persecution of science and scientists was so outrageous that even they (with their extensive practice) cannot come up with an excuse?

      Charles Manson is a wonderful human being (that little dust up of the Tate, Labiaca murders not withstanding)

      Adolf Hitler was a wonderful humanitarian (1935 -1945 notwithstanding)

      January 31, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  15. GBfromOhio

    Because health care service should be dictated by medieval, misogynistic, religous dogma.

    January 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      Hide the child molesters, elect a former Hitler Youth as Pope, encourage poverty by preventing contraception--that's our Catholic religion businesses.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • nah

      gb: "Because health care service should be dictated by medieval, misogynistic, religous dogma."

      Yeah, their money, coverage and health plans should be dictated by your modern, anti-libertarian dogma instead.

      Tell us, what right do you have to force another person to directly subsidize activities they find abhorrent? Because "you" think they should?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • LOL OKAY

      Yeah, I'm with "nah". It's ironic that you want to force another person (or organization) to do something merely because you think they should do it. Isn't that your principal complaint about religious morals in the first place? Religious people want "you" to do what they want you to do?

      Moron.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      What if I find blood pressure meds abhorrent because they extend a life artificially rather than accepting God's plan to have a heart attack? You okay with being denied that? How about emergency surgery? I could argue that God wanted you to die and thus allowed an accident – to provide health care would be abhorrent.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Nah

      false: "What if I find blood pressure meds abhorrent because they extend a life artificially rather than accepting God's plan to have a heart attack?"

      Alas, another swing and a miss for "false dichotomy".

      The question is whether or not a religious group can be forced to subsidize behavior that's contrary to the very core of their beliefs.

      It has nothing to do with religious beliefs being forced onto society, it has to do with society forcing itself onto religion.

      Or did you not realize that was the question here?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • ex-Catholic

      "Yeah, their money, coverage and health plans should be dictated by your modern, anti-libertarian dogma instead."

      No, it should be via the process we call democracy. If you don't like it, go somewhere else and form a theocracy.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  16. False Dichotomy

    How can anyone say anything against contraceptives in these days of AIDS and overpopulation?

    How can these hypocritical slimebags say anything at all after the rampant child r ape they have tolerated?

    Where the f k do they get off preaching about morality?!?

    January 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • George

      Contraception should be illegal because it encourages sin and divorces s.e.x from procreation.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      I hope you are being sarcastic as opposed to stupid.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Observer

      Fornication should be illegal as well. That is sin.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • George

      I'm not being sarcastic, and if you've ever read any of my posts, you'd know my position.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • George

      My position, of course, is on my knees. I've worn holes in my pants

      January 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Glad I haven't been reading your posts. I'll continue not to.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Observer

      You're close to the truth, False. The problem is we've tolerated immorality. If we set things straight there will be no more reason to talk of hypocrisy.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Truth be told

      Poor George is having to deal with for.nicators.George don't give up praying for the immoral.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Anti cool aid

      First do you people realize that the unwanted pregnancy rate actually has increased with the promotion of birth control??? so had STD's??? They have not gone down. You live in naivety. Do you also realize the myth of over population? If you read any reports filed by true demographer we are in population decline and Europe is actually already in a negative birthrate. This over population LIE is simply based on numbers of living people that has risen due the advances in heath care in the last 100 years allowing people to live longer yet actual birthrates have been steadily declining. In fact you can take all the people in the entire world and not only fit them in Texas but give them 1000sqft to move around in. Put that in your Liberal pipes and smoke it. Take some responsibility and raise your own kids, teach them yourself and stop expecting the world/government to owe you anything. Dig through the brainwashing or accept the communist take over, 2 child policy forced sterilization of this country that all you liberals find so sickening in China but seem yo be praising in this articles responses....

      January 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • False Dichotomy

      Anti cool aid – you are making those "facts" up. Totally making them up (or getting them from some garbage web site that is making them up)

      January 30, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  17. Monbois

    "The habit of religion is oppressive, an easy way out of thought."

    – Peter Ustinov

    January 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • George

      Yes, we all know that Peter Ustinov was an expert on religion.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • AK

      Just like Hollywood, where Ustinov made his living.

      Often in religiously-oriented Roman Forum epics.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Observer

      Wasn't Doctor Snuggles voiced by Peter Ustinov?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Here it is! I Knew it!

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hSuk8H3NV8&w=480&h=360]

      January 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  18. Laura LaVertu

    I don't understand. No one is forcing Catholics to use these services, so how is there a conflict? Frankly, this sounds like political grandstanding from the pulpit. No other explanation makes sense.

    January 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • nah

      laura: "I don't understand. No one is forcing Catholics to use these services, so how is there a conflict? Frankly, this sounds like political grandstanding from the pulpit. No other explanation makes sense."

      If that's what it sounds like, please refrain from having any type of opinion on any subject.

      Forcing any religious organization to subsidize an activity that they find morally and physical abhorrent is not only itself immoral, it violates the 1st Amendment by burdening an organization's power to exercise its religion in the way it chooses. Namely, here, in not providing coverage (i.e., paying) for abortions or contraceptives.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • I, Popey ! ! !

      As the Pope, high poobah of Catholocism, the world's largest religion, I demand that all people obey my orders, no matter how absurd. Yes, you might think that condoms would be a good idea in this age of HIV and herpes, but no. We want to stop those who want to stop the spread of those terrible diseases, and we want to increase the chance of abortions by being against condoms, and then be against that too.

      You see, power is not in saying "yes" to people. Power is displayed by saying "no." And it is all about power. Because I am Popey, better than you all, holier than thou, closer to God, and a former member of the Hitler Youth . . . ooops, I did not mean to mention that part.

      You know the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Jesus

      Youm don't want to use contraceptive devices? Then just don't, but don't force others to eschew such protection. Catholics have no right to dictate their dogma to nonbelievers!

      January 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Nah

      jesus: "Then just don't, but don't force others to eschew such protection. Catholics have no right to dictate their dogma to nonbelievers!"

      How ironic. But instead you can force your own dogmatic beliefs about how the world should be onto them. Namely by making them pay for services that are anti- thetical to their fundamental religious beliefs.

      A bit stupid of you, eh?

      January 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  19. Heather Halligan

    My best friend, who teaches catogism, had her marriage annulled, from Rome/Vatican, used birth controlled pills, cause she said, "The Pope won't pay to raise these children." She had three kids in 5 years and said "Enough was enough."

    January 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  20. John N Florida

    Health Care is for the employEEs, not the employER. The corporation / church has no health worries. Despite the Supreme Court, a corporation is not a person. It can't catch the flu nor take a tetanus shot. It's employees can and do.
    We know about the little boys the church harmed (though probably not all). The light has yet to be shined on how many girls were molested and how many of them may have been impregnated over the years.
    In my life I was never aware of the little boys who were molested until the news stories broke. I was, however, aware of at least 2 girls who were molested by priests (not 1st hand knowledge but from very trusted sources). When that scandal breaks it could bankrupt the church. Most priests are hetero.

    January 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Nah

      john: "Health Care is for the employEEs, not the employER. The corporation / church has no health worries. Despite the Supreme Court, a corporation is not a person. It can't catch the flu nor take a tetanus shot. It's employees can and do."

      And if the church, or a corporation, aren't "people", then how are the corporations and churches speaking? Is it because the people who own and control churches and corporations *gasp* are people?

      Or did you think these criticisms were coming out of a vacuum?

      "We know about the little boys the church harmed"

      I thought the church wasn't a person. So how could it have hurt anyone?

      Talk about being too clever by half.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jadugara

      Nah,...your comments are ridiculous... Corporations aren't people, and yet their policies hurt folks all the time.... Why, because an individual is more easily held to task for his or her poor ethical actions, groups of individuals allied together as an organization like a company or a church are not... It's harder to pinpoint which individual is at fault, and the fact that many very guilty members of the RCC go unpunished to this day as a result of the blind eye that the church as a whole has given to the issue of the child molestations within its own fold is a perfect example of what John N Florida is talking about...

      Regardless of how you'd like to interpret the First Amendment, it does NOT guarantee that a religious practice will be alowed if it flies in the face of common sense and begins to infringe on the rights of those who AREN'T a part of that particular religion... There are many out-dated and incredibly foul former religious "mandates" that are no longer allowed in this country, by law, DESPITE the existance of the First Amendment... And we should all be thankful for that...

      Our laws are made, and should exist, to best serve the members of our nation as a WHOLE and in general, not to foolishly pander to the archaic and outdated needs of a specific religious subset...

      I suggest you seek your god's aid in this matter and pray... If "he" feels this is a true injustice to "his" faith, well then I'm sure with "his" amazing omnipotence "he'll" do something about it... If nothing happens, then I guess all you Catholics who believe this is an injustice are just wrong then, aren't you?

      Blessed Be...

      January 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.