Loading
Church could be forced to 'give up' public work, Cardinal George warns
By Benjamin Mann
Cardinal Francis George celebrates Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter during his February 2012 "ad limina" visit to Rome
Cardinal Francis George celebrates Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter during his February 2012 "ad limina" visit to Rome

.- The Obama administration is effectively telling Catholics to abandon their work in the public square, according to Chicago's Cardinal Francis E. George.

“This year, the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must 'give up' her health care institutions, her universities and many of her social service organizations. This is not a voluntary sacrifice,” warned the cardinal and former president of the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference.

In his Feb. 26 Catholic New World column, the cardinal said these public ministries may come to an end because of the “much-discussed Department of Health and Human Services regulations now filed and promulgated for implementation beginning Aug. 1 of this year.”

The rules in question, formulated as part of federal health care reform, force many religious institutions to provide employees with contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs, without a co-pay through their health care plans.

Unless the rule is halted, Cardinal George said, institutions may be forced to choose between dropping their religious identity or abandoning their work.

He offered a striking picture of “what will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded.”

“A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices,” he explained.

The first would be to “secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop.”

The second choice would involve paying “exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable.”

A ministry's only other choices would involve transferring ownership to a non-Catholic group or the government – or shutting down altogether.

In his column, Cardinal George also argued against tactics he said were being used to marginalize the Church in its opposition to the contraception mandate.

One such argument claims that “the majority of Catholics use artificial contraception,” and Church institutions should therefore be forced to provide it to employees.

But this argument assumes that the moral law should conform to human behavior, rather than the other way around.

“Behavior doesn’t determine morality. If it can be shown that a majority of Catholic students cheat on their exams, it is still wrong to cheat on exams. Trimming morality to how we behave guts the Gospel call to conversion of life and rejection of sin.”

Advocates of the contraception mandate also call attention to some Catholics' disagreement with Church teaching.

Cardinal George noted that there have “always been those whose personal faith is not adequate to the faith of the Church.” But this does not change the fact that bishops “are the successors of the apostles; they collectively receive the authority to teach and govern that Christ bestowed upon the apostles.”

The bishops, he said, speak “for the Catholic and apostolic faith. Those who hold that faith gather with them; others go their own way. They are and should be free to do so, but they deceive themselves and others in calling their organizations Catholic.”

The cardinal invited the Catholic laity, and other concerned citizens, to “step back and understand what is happening to our country as the church is despoiled of her institutions and as freedom of conscience and of religion become a memory from a happier past.”

“The suffering being imposed on the church and on society now is not a voluntary penance. We should both work and pray to be delivered from it.”

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom


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?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: