New York City, N.Y., Mar 30, 2012 / 15:08 pm
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York says that although opponents of the federal contraception mandate face a difficult struggle, religious groups can achieve victory through persistence.
“We have to be very vigorous in insisting that this is not about contraception. It’s about religious freedom,” said the cardinal, who is president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.
He said the debate is a “tough battle” because proponents of the coverage mandate have chosen an issue they know the Catholic Church is “not very popular on.”
The cardinal made his remarks in an interview with television talk show host Bill O’Reilly, which was excerpted on the Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor on March 28 and broadcast on the March 29 edition of “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan” on SiriusXM’s Catholic Channel.
His comments focused on the Health and Human Services mandate, announced on Jan. 20, that requires almost all employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs. The Obama administration has billed the mandate as an increase in “preventive care” for women’s health.
The mandate has caused problems of conscience for Catholics and others who have moral and religious objections to providing the required coverage.
Cardinal Dolan said that the bishops will “vigorously” continue their advocacy against the HHS mandate and will continue the “very effective interreligious and ecumenical coalition that we’ve got fighting this.”
“This is not just a Catholic issue. It is certainly not just a bishop’s issue,” the cardinal told O’Reilly.