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Politics Hits the Pulpit


Clyde

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Diocese of Covington parishoners received this in the form of the homily today:

 

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the direction of the Obama Administration, mandated on Jan. 20 that religious-affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, among others, would be obligated to include contraception — including drugs that cause abortions — and sterilization among “preventive services” coverage in virtually all health plans offered to Americans. Despite clear requests from U.S. Catholic Bishops, other religious leaders and concerned Americans, prompted by the HHS’s initial decision in August 2011, HHS has refused to expand the exemption to include such religious-affiliated institutions.

 

In response to this ruling, the HHS has received widespread condemnation for its restriction on the free exercise of religion in the United States.

 

This condemnation is not without merit. Throughout our history, countless people have fled to America for freedom, especially the freedom to exercise their religious faith. They come knowing that one’s religion impacts all aspects of life. Faith helps them form their conscience so they may know right from wrong. Faith is the underlying truth that gives meaning to their actions. Faith guides them as they grow in relationship with God, as they discover that transcending happiness for which each of us longs. So important is this inalienable right of religious freedom to one’s pursuit of happiness, our founding fathers enshrined it in the First Amendment of our Constitution along with other precious rights including the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of assembly.

 

The role of faith is all the more integral in institutions established by people of faith to help the members of society. Whether it is education, health care, social charities, worship or another activity, each activity is an expression of faith. Each one has a unique quality flowing from that basis of faith. To deny that underpinning of faith is to change the very character of the institution and of the service it provides. This ruling by HHS denies this underpinning of faith. It ignores the diverse ways through which faith is expressed. It forces people to act against their free, conscious decisions made in the light of faith.

 

It is a decision symptomatic of the radical secularism gripping our society. Those who hold to this secularism believe that religion is a private matter, relevant only when members of the same faith gather together. Thus, they have no qualms telling people of faith that you must violate your conscience in everyday activities to do what we say is right. They strive to replace the values of life discerned in faith’s light with the unfulfilling values of radical secularism and the culture of death. They see religion as a burden on public life and hold that it should have no part in everyday interactions. Thus, they ignore the uniqueness that faith brings to the actions of an individual and of faith-based institutions.

 

It is indeed a sad commentary that, even as the Supreme Court unanimously rules against government restrictions on the exercise of religion in the recent Hosanna-Tabor decision, a department of the United States government is still actively restricting the free exercise of religion counter to the Constitution.

 

Every religion strives to know the truth of God. And, the right to freely pursue the truth of God is a treasured hallmark of our democracy. We will not idly stand by as this inalienable right is marginalized. Together with other Bishops and other Americans we will work to reform the law and change this unjust and intolerant regulation.

 

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.

Bishop of Covington

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I struggle with this one.

 

IMO the Church has bigger issues . If the flock is truly following the teachings then this ruling is moot. The ruling does not FORCE any employee of a Catholic-based institution to use contraceptive services. It's silly to think that employees of these institutions are not already violating Church doctrine.

 

The Church should place it's energies and priority on doing a better job of teaching and influencing . They should be worried more about the individuals that , in their view, are wrong and less time worrying about the institution itself.

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Diocese of Covington parishoners received this in the form of the homily today:

 

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the direction of the Obama Administration, mandated on Jan. 20 that religious-affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, among others, would be obligated to include contraception — including drugs that cause abortions — and sterilization among “preventive services” coverage in virtually all health plans offered to Americans. Despite clear requests from U.S. Catholic Bishops, other religious leaders and concerned Americans, prompted by the HHS’s initial decision in August 2011, HHS has refused to expand the exemption to include such religious-affiliated institutions.

 

In response to this ruling, the HHS has received widespread condemnation for its restriction on the free exercise of religion in the United States.

 

This condemnation is not without merit. Throughout our history, countless people have fled to America for freedom, especially the freedom to exercise their religious faith. They come knowing that one’s religion impacts all aspects of life. Faith helps them form their conscience so they may know right from wrong. Faith is the underlying truth that gives meaning to their actions. Faith guides them as they grow in relationship with God, as they discover that transcending happiness for which each of us longs. So important is this inalienable right of religious freedom to one’s pursuit of happiness, our founding fathers enshrined it in the First Amendment of our Constitution along with other precious rights including the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of assembly.

 

The role of faith is all the more integral in institutions established by people of faith to help the members of society. Whether it is education, health care, social charities, worship or another activity, each activity is an expression of faith. Each one has a unique quality flowing from that basis of faith. To deny that underpinning of faith is to change the very character of the institution and of the service it provides. This ruling by HHS denies this underpinning of faith. It ignores the diverse ways through which faith is expressed. It forces people to act against their free, conscious decisions made in the light of faith.

 

It is a decision symptomatic of the radical secularism gripping our society. Those who hold to this secularism believe that religion is a private matter, relevant only when members of the same faith gather together. Thus, they have no qualms telling people of faith that you must violate your conscience in everyday activities to do what we say is right. They strive to replace the values of life discerned in faith’s light with the unfulfilling values of radical secularism and the culture of death. They see religion as a burden on public life and hold that it should have no part in everyday interactions. Thus, they ignore the uniqueness that faith brings to the actions of an individual and of faith-based institutions.

 

It is indeed a sad commentary that, even as the Supreme Court unanimously rules against government restrictions on the exercise of religion in the recent Hosanna-Tabor decision, a department of the United States government is still actively restricting the free exercise of religion counter to the Constitution.

 

Every religion strives to know the truth of God. And, the right to freely pursue the truth of God is a treasured hallmark of our democracy. We will not idly stand by as this inalienable right is marginalized. Together with other Bishops and other Americans we will work to reform the law and change this unjust and intolerant regulation.

 

Yours devotedly in the Lord,

Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D.

Bishop of Covington

 

Our priest read this at mass yesterday, although it was all over the radio on friday. I'm with you Clyde (post #2), there are more bigger issues than this.

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I struggle with this one.

 

IMO the Church has bigger issues . If the flock is truly following the teachings then this ruling is moot. The ruling does not FORCE any employee of a Catholic-based institution to use contraceptive services. It's silly to think that employees of these institutions are not already violating Church doctrine.

 

The Church should place it's energies and priority on doing a better job of teaching and influencing . They should be worried more about the individuals that , in their view, are wrong and less time worrying about the institution itself.

I think you're missing the whole gist of what the Bishops are saying Clyde. They realize many Catholics are using contraceptives and they realize this ruling does not force any employee to use contraceptives. The issue is that Catholic based institutions should not be FORCED to PROVIDE these services, which violate Church doctrine.

I applaud the Bishops for their strong stand on this. Let's hope it gets resolved since the majority of our hospitals in the area are Catholic institutions.

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1) Is this preventing them from addressing bigger issues?

2) Agree or disagree that it is a restriction on free exercise of religion?

 

1. Could be. They only have so many people to deal with all of the issues so any dealings with this take away from other issues.

2. For me? No. I still get to exercise my religion as I see fit. No Catholic is having his/her religious freedom denied.

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I think you're missing the whole gist of what the Bishops are saying Clyde. They realize many Catholics are using contraceptives and they realize this ruling does not force any employee to use contraceptives. The issue is that Catholic based institutions should not be FORCED to PROVIDE these services, which violate Church doctrine.

I applaud the Bishops for their strong stand on this. Let's hope it gets resolved since the majority of our hospitals in the area are Catholic institutions.

 

Either I do not fully understand the ruling (always possible) or I disagree with your contention that a Catholic hospital will be "FORCED to PROVIDE these services." I took your comment as saying that the hospital must provide abortion/contraceptive services to ANY person who walks off the street even if they are not an employee or a person covered under that particular hospital's insurance plan.

 

I read the ruling as saying that a Catholic hospital that has their own healthcare insurance coverage for employees has to provide this as an option for its employees. Did I misread it?

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Either I do not fully understand the ruling (always possible) or I disagree with your contention that a Catholic hospital will be "FORCED to PROVIDE these services." I took your comment as saying that the hospital must provide abortion/contraceptive services to ANY person who walks off the street even if they are not an employee or a person covered under that particular hospital's insurance plan.

 

I read the ruling as saying that a Catholic hospital that has their own healthcare insurance coverage for employees has to provide this as an option for its employees. Did I misread it?

I understand the ruling to mean anyone who is covered by the health plan, not all patients in general, just as you stated.

My statement should have been: The issue is that Catholic based institutions should not be FORCED to PROVIDE these services to anyone covered under their health insurance plan, since they violate Church doctrine.

Sorry for the confusion. No matter how large or small the number of people involved is, the Bishops' point is that they shouldn't have to offer these services to even one person.

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I understand the ruling to mean anyone who is covered by the health plan, not all patients in general, just as you stated.

My statement should have been: The issue is that Catholic based institutions should not be FORCED to PROVIDE these services to anyone covered under their health insurance plan, since they violate Church doctrine.

Sorry for the confusion. No matter how large or small the number of people involved is, the Bishops' point is that they shouldn't have to offer these services to even one person.

 

Do Catholic hospitals receive Federal tax dollars?

Isn't this already a requirement in 28 states?

 

If the Church wants to truly take a stand then it should NOT let any Catholic hospital do ANY business with insurance companies that offer coverage for these services. That's not the case today so I find the argument a bit hollow.

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Do Catholic hospitals receive Federal tax dollars?

Isn't this already a requirement in 28 states?

 

If the Church wants to truly take a stand then it should NOT let any Catholic hospital do ANY business with insurance companies that offer coverage for these services. That's not the case today so I find the argument a bit hollow.

 

The tax dollar argument is lame. That's just like saying welfare recipients recieve tax dollars and should have mandatory drug testing.

 

Also, how many states have concealed carry. Shouldn't the rest of the states go ahead and do it?

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Do Catholic hospitals receive Federal tax dollars?

Isn't this already a requirement in 28 states?

 

If the Church wants to truly take a stand then it should NOT let any Catholic hospital do ANY business with insurance companies that offer coverage for these services. That's not the case today so I find the argument a bit hollow.

Yes ,Catholic hospitals receive federal tax dollars via Medicare & Medicade.

May be, but I'm sure no Catholic hospitals in those 28 states are providing these services.

Perhaps you are correct that Catholic hospitals shouldn't do business with any insurance companies who offer these services. Maybe that's something that will come out of all this.

Bottom line is, I support the Bishops totally on this and you are lukewarm at best. No big deal!

Headed to SB party now, thanks for your insights!

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The tax dollar argument is lame. That's just like saying welfare recipients recieve tax dollars and should have mandatory drug testing.

 

Disagree all you wish. My point is that if you want the Federal govt out of the Church stop partnering with them.

 

The bigger issue IMO is the disingenuousness of doing business with insurance companies that cover the service.

 

I will reiterate , though, that the bigger issue is the fact that the majority of the flock does not abide by Church teachings. THAT is where the time and resources should be spent.

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