As the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Timothy Dolan outlined last Friday his many concerns about the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) directive mandating that the insurance companies of religious employers pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization. For the most part, his letter has been met with stunning silence.
Dolan made it clear that the bishops will not budge in their demands for religious liberty. Neither the January 20 initial HHS Rule, nor the amended February 10th directive, satisfy religious liberty concerns. He correctly noted that “We’ll still have to pay” under the so-called accommodation provisions.
It was revealing to learn that when members of the USCCB recently met with the White House staff, they were told that the HHS Rule is set in cement. So much for dialogue. Moreover, the Obama staff informed the Catholic officials that they should follow the “enlightened” voices at America magazine (the Jesuits agree with the administration). Dolan was pointed in his criticism: “The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.”
Catholic News Service never commented on, or posted, Cardinal Dolan’s letter in its “News Stories” section; instead, it relegated it to its blog postings, never highlighting the USCCB-America dispute. The liberal Catholic media—America, Commonweal and the dissident National Catholic Reporter—have gone mute. Dolan’s challenge deserves a response.
See Cardinal Dolan's letter here.