Managing Editor Rick Franusiak
The Health and Human Services mandate being forced on Catholic employers has created a lot of confusion. It’s no wonder there is confusion because the administration has put a spin on the issue that could make people dizzy.
After an initial outcry against the mandate, the administration came out with a weak compromise which really didn’t change anything. The mandate is still forcing the Catholic Church to be a part of something it teaches is wrong.
The administration has sought to make this a women’s issue and many have picked up on that slant. I know people who have used their Facebook page to talk about the controversy. Trouble is, these people talking about the mandate don’t usually go far enough.
The HHS mandate includes contraception, which is what drew the biggest reaction. The mandate goes further and also includes sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. These are all against Church teaching.
Respect for life is one of the foundations of the Church. It is safe to say the Catholic Church is the largest pro-life voice in the country.
The real issue is one of freedom. The first amendment guarantees freedom of religion. This is the first time in the history of the country that freedom of religion has been attacked in such a deliberate way. The mandate is essentially saying that the tenets and beliefs of the Catholic Church don’t matter.
American Church leaders have obviously come out strongly against this mandate on religious liberty. Cardinals and bishops are shepherds of their dioceses. They are teachers. Pastors and priests have supported the bishops in their stand against the mandate.
The Church has always taught that life begins at conception. There is no gray area. No apologies are necessary for these Church leaders and men of God. On the contrary. These men of God have stood strong against adversity and denigration. They have been prime targets for comedians and women’s advocates looking to condemn. These Church leaders would sooner say prayers for their antagonists as they would come out with a derogatory word.
It is hard to understand the attacks because Church teaching has always said that life begins at the moment of conception. The Church has always done what it believed is best for people morally, spiritually and physically.
The 10 Commandments weren’t given as a stern “do this or else” threat. They were given by a loving God who knows that if these and other Biblical directions in the New Testament were followed, it would make people their happiest.
The Church believes and has always taught that God, together with a husband and wife, are partners in bringing new life into the world. Church leaders know that God’s way is the best way.
When there is no contraception, there are no chemicals or side effects to worry about. It is puzzling that during the mandate debate nothing of the harmful effects of contraception has been mentioned. Studies have shown some of the side effects of the pill run from migraines to blood clots to cancer.
The Church believes that the natural way is part of God’s plan and teaches Natural Family Planning. Couples who use Natural Family Planning extol its benefits such as bringing a special closeness and a deepening of the relationship.
Other religions have recognized the seriousness of the mandate and offered support. A panel which took place in February at a Congressional hearing included a Baptist minister, an orthodox rabbi and the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
This administration does have a record of funding abortion providers and human embryo-destroying research, also against Church teaching. But this is the first time the Church has been forced to go against its own teachings and beliefs. We should be concerned not only as Catholics, but as Americans.
The bishops have pledged to continue to work against the mandate. They have called on the Catholic faithful and all Americans to join in the effort to protect religious freedom.
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