Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Wake of the HHS Mandate

We're coming upon about a month since the HHS Mandate announcement that has rocked the Catholic world. Lawsuits from across the country have been filed and our Bishops have spoken. See what they have to say here.

Over the last few weeks, and on more than one occasion, I've heard a number of people around my diocese in discussions regarding the HHS Mandate and the subsequent insult compromise by the White House make a rather disturbing statement. It goes something like this: "I understand the Bishops' position, and I applaud their defense of the 1st amendment; but isn't this really an issue about religion. The decision has been made, the government should deal with matters pertaining to health care, and we're free to agree or disagree."

First let's tackle the obvious. If a person says "I am Catholic" but disagrees with Catholic teaching, are they really Catholic? The answer is simply, NO. To claim the Catholic faith as your own means you believe and accept ALL of her doctrines. It's not a smorgasbord, and the pertinant commandment is "Thou shall not kill." There's no black and white here. Abortion and birth control are both immoral. We are not, therefore, free to disagree.

Next we'll tackle the not-so-obvious. To institute a nationwide program that provides Americans with taxpayer- and insurance-funded resources premiums that allow them to kill is simply a violation of our faith. I believe everyone understands this point, yet still claims that there is freedom to disagree.

Not so.

A disagreement on a moral issue for which I have no tangible recourse is not "freedom to disagree". In other words, if I disagree with this issue, I can't just simply "opt out" and not pay. I MUST PAY ANYWAY, or suffer the consequences. That's right, if I disagree, I can't do diddly about it. I can say it over and over, I can write my congressmen, I can shout it from the mountaintop. It won't matter, though, because in the end, the money that I earn and for which I should have the freedom to spend wherever I choose will be taken from me and used to pay for something to which I am morally opposed.

Consider this excerpt from our Bishop's letter to our diocese on the mandate dated January 31, 2012:

"...the mandate will allow a Catholic institution one of three options: 1) violate its beliefs by
providing coverage for medications and procedures we believe are immoral; 2) cease providing health care
insurance for all of their employees and face ongoing and ultimately ruinous fines; or 3) attempt to qualify for
the exemption by hiring and serving only Catholics."

Is this your idea of freedom? Pay or suffer consequences regardless your beliefs?

What's next, armbands and ghettos?

Think about it. This is a critical juncture for faithful Catholics, and this issue--this PROBLEM--is not going to just go away easily.

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