The Catholic Letter

The Letter From Bishops To Parishoners

Catholic Bishops 'Step To Bat' Against Obama-Care And Conscience Violations

Several weeks ago, many of the bishops throughout the United States sent a letter to their parishoners regarding the new laws concerning contraception becoming a mandatory benefit.  Here is a copy of the letter, which was sent to the Cincinnati Archdiosese from Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr (cut and pasted from the The Catholic Telegraph).

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith.

The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people – the Catholic population and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to Contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

While I applaud the bishops in America for finally taking a step, any step, in our culture, I can't help feeling this entire matter was mishandled from the very start.  Further more, it would seem that the bishop's plea to Americans is somewhat ambiguous.

At first, they say that "we cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law."

What exactly does that mean, and who is "we"?  Do they mean parishes and other Catholic institutions?  That they will refuse to offer their employees such benefits?  Or are they talking about business owners who employ thousands of people?

And what about the fact that the employees (not necessarily employers) are really the ones being forced to pay for something they believe is evil?  After all, every person who buys the insurance, whether they use all the services or not, are the ones actually contributing.  Insurance is not something 'provided' by an employer.  It is a form of payment for work rendered.  And every person who accepts such insurance as payment adds to the overall money going to the insurance company... who is ultimately being forced to include contraception now.

In short, I think the Bishops' letters over-simplify the situation.  But it should have never gotten this complicated to begin with.  The bishops in America have been taking a back seat for such a long time (doing very little to fight the culture of death over the past thirty years, if not actually nurturing it along) that a simple, "we will not comply" seems kind of... well, like a lot of hot air.  Is the Church in America really ready to back this up?  Are they going to actually practice a little civil disobedience?

The final plea to "pray, fast, and write to your congressman" seems like a pretty good start.  But those first two (the fasting and prayer) are ultimately going to make the difference.  And most of that letter should have been concerned with these.  Not the indignant anger they want to portray.

I am hoping to contribute more on this subject, here and on a new site dedicated to promoting 'fast and prayer' for changes in this country.  You can see the website here: