Archbishop Chaput published his thoughts following a Feb. 10 announcement by the administration regarding religious institutions and what the government calls “preventive services” – a category including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs.
A rule announced Jan. 20 required many faith-based organizations to provide insurance coverage of these drugs and devices despite their moral objections. After three weeks of protest led by the U.S. Catholic bishops, the administration announced a change to the rule on Friday.
Under the revised rule, insurance companies would be forced to offer the “preventive services,” without a co-pay, to employees of religious ministries. The administration maintained that under the new policy, “religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost of contraception.”
Several critics of the move, including Princeton Professor Robert George and Catholic University of America President John Garvey, responded by pointing out that the new rule accomplishes the same goal – forcing employers to underwrite policies covering the offensive services – by a different means.
In his column, Archbishop Chaput highlighted this “withering criticism” of the new requirement, and said the “'accommodation' offered by the White House did not solve the problem” of the original mandate.
“Quite a few Catholics supported President Obama in the last election, so the ironies here are bitter,” he noted. “Many feel betrayed. They’re baffled that the Obama administration would seek to coerce Catholic employers, private and corporate, to violate their religious convictions.”