The Obama administration's mandate to health insurers to provide contraception benefits at no cost to patients has brought us a controversy that seems an anachronism. The Catholic Church renounced artificial birth control fifty years ago. The hierarchy adheres to the Pope's teaching while the faithful largely ignore it. We now face a partisan controversy over forcing Catholic institutions as employers to do something the bishops oppose but their employees and measures members overwhelmingly support.
The editors of Commonweal, the Catholic newsmagazine, urge upon both the Obama administration and the bishops compromise and toned-down rhetoric. - GWCBad Decision | Commonweal magazine:
"The Obama administration has rejected appeals to exempt religious-affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from the mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services requiring all health-insurance policies to include free coverage for contraceptives and other “preventive” services such as sterilization.
This was a serious mistake (see “An Illiberal Mandate,” December 20, 2011). The administration’s decision raises deep concerns about its understanding of the fundamental corporate and institutional nature of the Catholic Church and similar religious communities. The HHS decision comes perilously close to insisting that the government should determine what is or isn’t a religious organization or ministry. The reasoning behind restricting the exemption to institutions that primarily employ and serve coreligionists appears to be based on an essentially sectarian, and historically Protestant, understanding of “religion.” The Catholic Church, which understands its public presence to be vital to its identity and mission, should not be forced to abide by such restrictions."
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