Feb 13, 2012
A quiet, closed-door meeting in Washington next month will be of crucial importance in shaping the Church’s response to the nation’s biggest church-state crisis in decades.
When some 40 bishops of the administrative committee of the national bishops’ conference gather March 14-15 at conference headquarters, they’ll be looking at the Obama administration’s January mandate to Catholic institutions to violate Catholic teaching as well as the problematical “accommodation” of religious concerns unveiled by the president February 10. A series of ugly events sets the stage for the bishops’ deliberations.
Flash back to early November. Obama and Archbishop (now cardinal-designate) Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the bishops’ conference, met to discuss topics including tensions in the religious liberty area. “I left the meeting somewhat at peace,” Archbishop Dolan later said.
That meant he believed Obama was likely to give church-sponsored institutions a comprehensive exemption from a Department of Health and Human Services rule requiring virtually all private health care plans to cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception under the new national health plan known as Obamacare.