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Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama's contraception rule
A growing chorus of progressive Catholic activists say the American bishops, above, don't speak for all Catholics on public policy matters.
February 15th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama's contraception rule

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - America’s Catholic bishops have criticized the White House’s mandate for insurers to provide free contraception coverage to employees, but plenty of other Catholic groups have endorsed the plan - some taking swipes at the bishops in the process.

“The Catholic bishops and their allies in the Republican Party are increasingly isolated,” James Salt, executive director of a liberal group called Catholics United, said in a statement over the weekend supporting the White House’s contraception rule.

“The bishops’ blanket opposition appears to the serve the interests of a political agenda, not the needs of the American people," Salt continued, e-mailing his group’s support for the White House to tens of thousands of Catholics nationwide.

Another Washington-based Catholic operative, John Gehring, e-mailed reporters over the weekend to knock the bishops for criticizing President Barack Obama, even after his administration revised its contraception rule Friday to mandate that insurers - not Catholic institutions - pay for birth control coverage.

"You have to ask why the bishops can't take yes for an answer," wrote Gehring, who works with the progressive group Faith in Public Life.

On Wednesday, Gehring helped organize a call with reporters to discuss a congressional hearing this week at which some bishops are expected to testify against the contraception rule. "I believe everything my church teaches," Nicholas Cafardi, a prominent Catholic lawyer, said on the call, voicing support for the birth control rule. " I don’t consider this as a question of dogma, but of how we apply Catholic teaching in the real world."

For the White House and Democratic Party, such expressions of Catholic support have been helpful, providing political ammunition against conservative allegations the administration and party are anti-religion and are at war with the Catholic Church.

But the support has not come easy. It reflects a years-long campaign by liberal Catholic activists to push back against the leadership of their church on controversial political matters - and years of White House bridge-building with a spectrum of Catholic groups.

In an election year in which Catholics will constitute one of the nation’s biggest swing voting blocs - and in which the bishops are likely to continue slapping the White House - the political heft of a new generation of progressive Catholic groups and the White House’s Catholic outreach efforts are about to face a huge political test.

Groups such as Catholics United and Faith in Public Life got off the ground during and just after the 2004 election when a Catholic Democratic presidential nominee - Sen. John Kerry - was hard-pressed to find Catholic support in the face of condemnations from some Catholic bishops over his support for abortion rights.

Kerry, the first Catholic presidential nominee since John F. Kennedy, wound up losing the Catholic vote to George W. Bush, who made Catholic outreach a priority.

“For too long, the far right owned the values debate and there were very few progressive and religious groups willing to speak out in specific and strategic moments to help shape that debate,” Catholics United's Salt said. “But since 2004, there’s been a turnaround.”

The emergence of progressive Catholic groups such as Catholics United helped Obama handily win the Catholic vote in 2008.

And such groups provided Catholic support for the president in 2009, when he faced conservative Catholic criticism over his commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, and in 2010, when the bishops opposed Obama’s health care law, alleging that it left the door open to taxpayer-funded abortion.

Some activists from the new progressive Catholic establishment have been hired into the Obama administration, including Alexia Kelley, who started a group called Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good after the 2004 election, and John Kelly, a Catholic outreach liaison for Obama’s 2008 campaign.

“This will be a surprise to some, but this has been an extremely Catholic friendly White House,” said Stephen Schneck, a Catholic University professor involved with a handful of progressive Catholic groups. “It probably has more Catholic members than just about any presidency I can remember.

“That’s partly been the way that the administration has been able to court Catholic progressives,” he said.

Since its early days, the Obama White House has heavily courted Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities, USA and the Catholic Health Association, which voiced support for the revised contraception rule, upsetting some bishops.

That support was politically important for the White House because the administration doubted it could ever win support from the bishops, even after Friday’s revision.

“Unfortunately, the White House knew all along that there was no chance in reaching the bishops - Richard Doerflinger, John Carr and the Bishops Conference staff are far too cozy with right-wing politicians on the Hill to have any real negotiation,” says a senior Democratic official, referring to influential bishops conference staffers.

“Until a bishop shows some leadership over their own staff, it’s going to be hard to negotiate,” the official said, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss White House negotiations.

A spokesperson for the bishops said the White House never consulted them on the contraception rule.

“When the President called Cardinal Dolan… it was merely to tell him what the White House had already decided,” the spokesperson said, referring to Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops’ conference. The spokesperson also insisted on anonymity because the bishops don’t typically speak on dealings with the White House.

“Never was there an attempt to collaborate or learn what kind of accommodation might have been acceptable,” the spokesperson said.

A survey released Tuesday from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that among Catholics who have heard about the issue, 55% support giving religious institutions that object to birth control an exemption from the federal contraceptive rule, while 39% oppose exempting those institutions.

 

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bishops • Catholic Church • Culture wars

soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. Wyliem

    let us not forget that Catholicism is not the only religion in this country...if their believers go against what their religion professes that is between them and their god...if the government wants to provide for all people then so be it...even after the revision put the onus on the insurers there were still complaints...talk to your followers...people are going to do what they want to do regardless of what their church says

    February 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  2. message 1!

    I am an adult, fully capable of making my own decisions about birth control! Please stop trying to confuse contraception with abor*tion. They're 2 completely different issues. Just because one supports contraception doesn't mean that same person supports abor*tion. Contraception is a good thing. An abor*tion could be a life saving tool, making it useful in certain situations (e.g. If the the mother's life can be saved, and the baby's life will not survive with or without an abor*tion). Then that (to me) would be sufficient evidence for a justified abor*tion. however I dont believe an abor*tion is okay, simply because you did not use contraception, or your means of contraception failed!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Credenza

      Actually contraception and abortion were BOTH mentioned when Obama put his foot in it.

      His publicity machine, you may have noticed, has now REMOVED abortion from the equation. It;s a lie. The Insurance being discussed for employees covers BOTH.
      Removing it is limiting damage control by the shifty Left!

      February 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • message 1!

      Obama didnt right the laws, he's just upholding them!

      February 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • message 1!

      Then you (like i am) should be advoc*ating to change abor*tion laws, which is something I, as a "lib*eral" could support. Instead of making it entirely impossible to get in any situation. Nothing is black and white, so I turn from abso*lutions. There are always special circ*umstances for which an abor*tion becomes a necessity. I personally believe youre a mur*derer if you sp*read your l*egs (with or without preca*utionary contr*aceptive measures) and get preg*nant, then have an abor*tion, simply because you can't afford to raise the child you've created. Or it will limit your studies, or for whatever numb*nutt reason one may give for justifying a "mur*der". It is fundamentally wrong in my opinion to get an abor*tion simply because you think you've made a mistake, it then is without question, a mur*der

      February 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  3. so blessed!

    Jesus said – god save me from your followers, for they do not understand compassion!

    February 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Mercydivine

      How is it compassion to condone giving women drugs which cause blood blots, strokes, breast cancer! And real compassion is not forcing religious groups to fund drugs which are anti-life and promote disunity in marriage.....Outside of marriage they promote promiscuity, diseases and depression, in other words sin. And the wages of sin are always death.....

      February 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  4. William Hurley

    I am astounded at how vehemently many of you argue about the tenents of Catholicism and at the same time display a deep lack of understanding of the faith.

    More importantly, the issue isn't contraception or abortion; the issue is whether a government has the right (power) to FORCE a braodly based religious group to act in defiance of the long held, established basic rules of their faith.

    BTW, Catholics who violate the rules of Catholicism are NOT excommunicated (with some rare and rarely used exceptions)... get some facts ... God Bless

    February 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • J.W

      This is not about religious freedom. It is about these bishops want control.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      " the issue is whether a government has the right (power) to FORCE a braodly based religious group to act in defiance of the long held, established basic rules of their faith."

      Taxes paid by Catholics and Catholic-run businesses finance wars. Why aren't similar arguments made for funding the defense department? Does the first amendment only have relevance in the bedroom?

      February 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • so blessed!

      Im astounded that you just can't grasp the conceptual legalities of all this.
      he isn't forcing your church to do anything. Let me say that again, because clearly you dont understand. He isn't forcing your church to do anything!
      but what he is doing is preventing business corporation, from denying particular healthcare coverage to their employees!
      If you dont want to take contraception then dont take it. But you can't force your 2000 year old beliefs on a society that wishes to live with their heads above these dangerous deity laws!

      February 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • William Hurley

      To So Blessed; The legalities are simple and not what you are saying ... The Catholic Church is NOT being forced to do anything. It's Catholics that are being forced ... Let me put it simply for you ... Under Obamacare I must have insurance, or pay a fine and have NO insurance. The HHS mandate (empowered as part of Obamacare ) manadates all the insurance must have birth control as part of the plan (free meaning you don't get a reduction in premium if you elect no coverage, which of course you can't anyway). Therefore since there is NO exemption for individuals or small businesses, I as one or the other must choose between no coverage and a fine ... or violate my consience and support birth control ... That is NOT a choice for a practicing Catholic. Next they will tell you you must by bread and the kind that HHS finds healthy ... a slippery slope!

      February 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  5. sarah mcdaniels

    HELP PROTECT OUR CHILDREN!

    MAKE IT A LAW THAT YOU MUST BE 18 TO ATTEND A CHURCH.

    THIS WILL PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM BRAIN WASHING CHILD MOLESTING CHURCH LEADERS!

    PLEASE SAVE OUR CHILDREN!

    February 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Credenza

      What a Diva!

      Let me clarify.--You want to keep all children out of CathoLic Churches to protect them from paedophiles????

      Catholic [ and as a Catholic I say DEGENERATE] priests were responsible for 0.7% of all paedophile abuse.

      But you'd like ALL kids to be kept at HOME and in SCHOOL or in CARE where 99.3% of abuse takes place?????

      How concerned ARE you about child abuse? I worked with Social Services for years. FAMILIES is where MOST abuse takes place. And families are the places where victims are also physically abused if they threaten to "SHOP" dad, brother or other BREADWINNER to the police.

      You dear – need to take off the glasses of bigotry and LOOK ahe world as it really is. Not how you THINK it is.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Mercydivine

      Help protect our children? I think you have it alittle backwards. Abortion kills children, contraception provents children from coming into existence and the moral law protects you from going to Hell when you die....Help protect children from the deception of calling good evil and evil good...

      February 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  6. Frank

    I am Jewish so I don't understand any of this.
    Of course I wasn't born Jewish, and I certainly don't believe any of the things that the Jewish religion believes. But I am still a Jew and would like to comment and give advice to all Jews on everything Jewish, including all the changes I think the Jewish religion should make.
    I am also Muslim.

    February 16, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • father bendemover!

      What? Your a Jewish Muslim? I guess that makes you catholic? You're so bright, I bet your daddy called you sun. Am I right? Your rhetoric is ridiculous!

      February 16, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  7. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    The nitty-gritty of the situation:

    WARNING!!! WARNING!!! WARNING!!!

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate, one million unplanned pregnancies/yr) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate, another one million unplanned pregnancies/yr) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:
    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, Planned Parenthood, parents and educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • ......

      hit report abuse on all reality copy paste garbage

      February 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • guess who?

      Reality needs a reality check!
      If your solution to a condom is that it only protects 82.6% (in actual reality its 98%)of its users. Then I have to ask you, how you think getting rid of condoms or contraception is a better alternative? also rightwing nutbaggers don't support the HPV vaccine. And "the pill" is 99.9% effective. so your conservative answer would be no contraception, and HPV vaccine. That would really over populate the country very quickly. And would nearly double the cost of healthcare due to preventable shared diseases? Check your reality, take your Prozac, and maybe you won't seem like such an idiot when you post a comment!

      February 16, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Reality

      "Facts on Contraceptive Use

      http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html
      January 2008

      "WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

      • 43 million women (and men) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a con-traceptive method.[2]

      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use cont-raceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

      WHO USES CON-TRACEPTIVES?

      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men)

      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)

      WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?

      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice con-traception use reversible methods, such as oral con-traceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

      FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES

      Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

      Method……………..Typical

      Pill (combined)……… 8.7
      Tubal sterilization ……0.7
      Male condom ……….17.4
      Vasectomy…………… 0.2

      Periodic abstinence.. 25.3 (RCC approved)
      Calendar 9.0 (RCC approved)
      Ovulation Method 3.0 (RCC approved)
      Sympto-thermal 2.0 (RCC approved)
      Post-ovulation 1.0 (RCC approved)

      No method 85.0" (RCC approved and important to women and men wanting to get pregnant)

      (Abstinence) 0 (RCC approved)

      (Masturbation) 0

      More facts about contraceptives from

      guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

      "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE

      Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

      Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
      Pill………….. 11,661……………. 30.6
      Male condom 6,841……………… 18.0 "

      i.e.
      The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

      i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
      x 62 million (# child bearing women)
      x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
      x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

      1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
      during the first year of pill use.

      For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

      1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

      The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
      (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

      o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      February 17, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  8. John

    So...does a liberal catholic goes straight to confession right after a pro-abortion vote? My point is a liberal is a liberal and has nothing to do with his/her faith. So u libs dont call yourself catholics please...you disgrace our church teachings. JFK is ur ultimate example...

    February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by John is an instance of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#H6

      February 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      I agree. If all the catholics who disagree with the unreasonable rules of the church decide to leave the church, there won't be much of a catholic presence in the US. I could live with that.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • durundal

      no, by your logic and your faith jesus was a liberal, or a 'socialist' (your pick). Either stop grossly misslabeling because you are too intellectually lazy to learn, or accept the fact that you have mutated your faith into a shield for the clueless, selfish, and callous

      February 16, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • durundal

      hey fallacy, thats a new one, good find

      February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Primewonk

      So why hasn't the Catholic church excommunicated the 90%+ of their members who use or have used birth control?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  9. Jon

    There are a lot of folks out there who like to call themselves Catholic without practicing or even believing in the faith.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Ivy

      Jon, there are plenty of people out there who claim to follow Jesus, yet their words and actions contradict His teachings (many so-called "Christians" included). Yes, there are many disenfranchised Catholics, particularly women. We are mostly disenchanted with the Church and it's good-old-boy club leadership.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  10. lifeknight

    This mandate is a law that ALL should be opposing. One of the posts mentions that the use of abortifacient birth control (early abortion-causing drugs and devices) is a privilege and not a right. That is correct. Secondly, another post accurately states that those who promote abortion and contraception "are not Catholic". While they are separated from the Church by believing that contraception IN ANY FORM is acceptable, they are still Catholic –but living in MORTAL SIN.
    As a Catholic in UNION with the Faith, I believe it is time we look at the fruit or LACK thereof of a society promoting contraception/abortion. Marriages are failing, if they even get that far. Children grow up in one parent families. The true destruction of FAMILY LIFE is the result of the inherent evil of contraception. Remember, abortion is a symptom of a contraceptive mentality. (Fr. Paul Marx, RIP)

    February 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Bob

      Re "marriages are failing", funny, isn't it then, that divorce rates are much higher among Christians, especially conservative Christians, than for atheists and for many other religions.

      See e.g. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm and many other sources for this.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/</b

      February 16, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  11. Talking Mouse

    Mr Salt forgets that the bishops do not serve the American People, and therefore do not have to take orders from the American People. Our elected officials server the American People, and rightly take orders from them. The bishops server the Head of the Church, Christ Jesus the Lord.

    Even if not one person obeys it, the teaching of the Church can not be changed because people don't like it or don't follow it. A person, who of their own free will, has been confirmed as a member of the Roman Catholic Church, has promised to obey the magisterium – the teaching ministry of the Church. The magisterium has said ,unequivocally, that using contraceptives with the primary intent of avoiding pregnancy is a sin.

    The Church is not a democracy - Mr. Salt does not get to vote on what things he thinks are sins and what things he does not think are sins. Mr. Salt does get to vote, with his feet, on where he worships. There are numerous churches that do not have any problem with their members using contraceptives, nor with their health insurances paying for said contraceptives. However, if Mr. Salt believes that the Roman Catholic Church is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, then he needs to understand that his job is to bring his reason and understand in line with the magisterium. If he is unable to do so, he needs to talk to his priest, continue to pray that the Lord reveals His will and wisdom to Mr. Salt, while he stays quiet not giving scandal to others, waiting for the Lord's timing to enlighten his mind with His wisdom.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Primewonk

      Well Mouse, in that case, Why hasn't the "church" excommunicated the 90%+ of Catholics who use birth control?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • durundal

      so if the chruch does not serve the people, and is not beholden to the people why are they playing at providing health and human services and restricting the choices of people they do not even pretend to serve?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Talking Mouse

      If all the Church here on earth consisted of was people who did not sin, the only members would be people before the age of reason (ability to tell right from wrong) andr people who did not mentally have that ability. The Church on earth is not supposed to be a gathering of saints (that's heaven) but a place where sinning people learn to become saints.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Talking Mouse

      Because God, who the Church does serve, has given His followers some broad ranging instructions on how they are to treat people, both fellow believers and people who we want to become believers (ie everyone who is not currently a believer). Catholic schools and hospitals are just a part of the way those instructions are being filled.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  12. Sage

    This is a non-story by CNN meant to promote liberalism. Even the most liberal Catholics are unified with Cathlic bishops on this issue, escept for a tiny, tiny exception. This article wants to lionize that miniscule population, on account of its advocacy of liberalism. Far more people challenge gay marriage laws than liberal Cathlics challenge these bishops, but you won't see them touted here. I call political partisanship.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Primewonk

      90%+ of Catholics use or have used contraception. Doesn't seem like a tiny percentage to me.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  13. Tom

    The REAL issue in the mandate is that Obama has NO AUTHORITY, NONE, to mandate what insurers MUST provide for free. Congress makes laws, niot the President. Neither does Obama have the right to tell Ford, you can sell Fusions but you MUST give away Mustangs for free.

    Obama is behaving like a tyrant, period. You'd have to be an idiot to reelect this guy.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • durundal

      I would disagree, he is doing everything he can with mandate and directives to try to push the country into actually being productive and doing something – instead of allowing for the republican generated deadlock to run the clock out. Religion opened its mouth on a health issue where it had no prerogative to do so. I pay for plenty of things that I dont always agree with – and am not forced to consume. Welcome to society, we share the costs to reduce the burden rather than stack individual services on our backs – something that intelligent people discovered a long time ago was key to being able to provide for a wider range of services to the public. Get over it

      February 16, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • father bendemover!

      Your church is the tyrant, your church wants to make citizens live under the "man made" catholic law! This is the U.S.A, we are not a catholic society. So if you dont want to use contraception then don't. But your church can't dictate how civilians can or can not live.
      Obama isn't telling insurance companies what they can or can't offer their buyers. Every insurance in the country, already offer contraception coverage. Obama is simply telling the church they can't take that away from, those who do not share their belief!

      February 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  14. Ronnie12345

    What bothers me about the bishops is there suppose to be holy people and yet they try to control everything with money.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Bob

      Shouldn't surprise you, Ronnie. The church has long been in bed with money and power.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo

      February 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  15. Menace2Sobriety

    Why does this "anonymous" White House staffer think that a anyone should negotiate their faith? The ability to practice your faith, or lack thereof, is guaranteed by our First Amendment. It's also suspect that in an article discussing so-called religious groups that were only formed in 2004 after losing an election Mr. Gilgoff would quote another "senior democratic official" accusing Richard Doerflinger, John Carr and the Bishops Conference staff of being far too cozy with right-wing politicians. Birth control is a privilege not a right, and it is a privilege that is afforded to everyone. Rights are intangible and do not have costs that must be borne by others. This debate serves no purpose but to divide the American people.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  16. Darth Soetoro

    Welcome to the Dark Side!

    February 16, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  17. michael corleone

    To be a liberal, you must reject the teachings of the Church.

    Liberals believe in immorality generality– they support using government to steal from some and give to others, to kill babies, and support gay marriage. Why do we care what liberals think? They are not Catholic.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Yes, Liberals support giving to the poor. Supporting those in need. If that's anti-Catholic, your Savior is probably anti-Catholic, too.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      I remember doing some projects with folks from Catholic Worker House back in the 70's. Back then, the biggest liberals were Christians. Do you know the origin of the phrase "Bleeding Heart Liberal"? Hint – it has to do with your Christ.

      Sadly, you fundiots (fundamentalist ldiots) have co-opted the image of your Christ to be a cross between Chuck Heston and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the 10 commandments in one arm and an Uzi in the other.

      If your Christ walked into a talibangelical teabagger rally today, not only wouldn't you folks recognize him, you'd kill him all over again.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by "michael corleone" contains the persuasive definition fallacy, the circu-mstantial ad hominem fallacy, and the No True Scotsmen fallacy.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • durundal

      and you wonder why people look down on you.....troll at best, village idiot at worst

      February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • IreneNY

      Michael Corleone, you're justmessing with us right. No reasoning person could really believe the drivel you just wrote about liberals.

      February 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    @stop2think – apparently you didn't stop to think before you posted! This whole issue has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment rights NOR socialims – which BTW we've had in place in one way or another for 60+ yrs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.)
    Had you done your homework, you would have learnt that the ruling was to ensure that EMPLOYERS provided the necessary coverage. If the Catholic Church is an EMPLOYER, they need to follow the rules. There was no infringement of any personal liberty, nor did it force ANY Catholic to use BC (which most already do) not have an abortion. It stated that EMPLOYERS under federal rules were require to provide healthcare coverage for those items. The amendment to to the ruling was to have the insurance company (not the Church) pay for the coverage.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  19. stop2think

    Never heard of these groups, but rest assured CNN made sure to contact them. This is about First Amendment rights not about contraception. This president needs to be stopped before we "all socialists now", as Newsweek stated in 2009

    February 16, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  20. Cachorro6

    To talk about "young progressives" is very funny. Anybody who has eyes to see will notice that "catholic progressives" are dying out, swept awayby the new evangelization.

    February 16, 2012 at 10:03 am |
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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.