Loading
Bishops urged to imitate St. Thomas More in mandate fight
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Credit: Peter Zelasko/CNA.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. Credit: Peter Zelasko/CNA.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia has held up the 16th century's Saint Thomas More as a model of courage for bishops in the face of the federal contraception mandate.

“America's Catholic bishops cannot simply grumble and shrug, and go along with the mandate now, without implicating themselves in cowardice,” he wrote in a Dec. 19 column for The Witherspoon Institute.

“Their current resolve risks unraveling unless they reaffirm their opposition to the mandate forcefully and as a united body. The past can be a useful teacher. One of its lessons is this: The passage of time can invite confusion and doubt – and both work against courage.”

St. Thomas More, a leading politician of his day, lived at the time of the Anglican schism, when King Henry VIII made himself head of the Church in England. English bishops protested the move at first, but with time all but one, Saint John Fisher, acquiesced to the move.

In his final writing, “scribbled in the Tower of London and smuggled out before his death,” St. Thomas More reflected on the apostles' sleepiness at Gethsemane while Judas was betraying Christ.

Archbishop Chaput said that the saint “then applies the parable to his own day and the abject surrender of England’s bishops to the will of Henry VIII.”

St. Thomas could see the parallel between the apostles' sleeping and the surrender of English bishops in his time.

“More urges the bishops not to fall asleep 'while virtue and the faith are placed in jeopardy,'” Archbishop Chaput noted. “In the face of Tudor bullying, he begs them, 'Do not be afraid.'”

Archbishop Chaput believes this message is apt also for America in 2012, as next year the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act “takes force and the HHS contraceptive mandate imposes itself on Christian life.”

He writes that there are multiple ways for the bishops to respond: refusing to comply, closing Christian institutions, finding a compromise, or “they can simply give in and comply with the government coercion under protest.”

To choose the last option, Archbishop Chaput believes, would be “heavily damaging to the witness of the Church in the United States.”

The contraception mandate, announced by the Health and Human Service department, requires that employers offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization, and drugs that can cause early abortions, even if doing so violates their conscience and religious belief.

More than 110 business owners, non-profit organizations, and religious charities have sued over the mandate, arguing that it violates their constitutionally-guaranteed right to religious freedom.

The cases are making their way through the court system, and on Dec. 18 the District of Columbia Appeals Court decided in favor of two Christian colleges saying that the Obama administration must rewrite the mandate so that it will not harm religious organizations such as the plaintiffs Belmont Abbey College and Wheaton College.

The appeals court gave the government a deadline of March 31, 2013 to rewrite the mandate.

The administration has professed that it is working on an accommodation for religious organizations, but one acceptable to Catholic consciences has not yet been offered.

The U.S. bishops' conference is planning a second Fortnight for Freedom event to be held next summer. The Fortnight will emphasize “the need for conscience protection,” as well as faith and marriage, the conference stated.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Archbishop Chaput

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
27

Liturgical Calendar

November 27, 2014

Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 17:11-19

Gospel
Date
11/27/14
11/25/14
11/24/14

Daily Readings


Gospel:: Lk 21: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/27/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 17:11-19

Homily
Date
11/27/14
11/25/14
11/24/14