Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican’s highest court, has given Catholics a clear signal, affirming what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been saying for some time now. To put it plainly, the Obama mandate is wrong and it cannot be obeyed, regardless of what the government dictates. Below is an excerpt from a recent interview given by Burke:
Thomas McKenna: “So a Catholic employer, really getting down to it, he does not, or she does not provide this because that way they would be, in a sense, cooperating with the sin . . . the sin of contraception or the sin of providing a contraceptive that would abort a child, is this correct?”
Cardinal Burke: “This is correct. It is not only a matter of what we call “material cooperation” in the sense that the employer, by giving this insurance benefit, is materially providing for the contraception, but it is also “formal cooperation” because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”
While we have said that such a Gestapo-like edict would literally force Catholic employers to violate their consciences, not everyone has been in agreement. Ever since the debate started, Catholic people have been grappling with the question of cooperation and there have been conflicting voices providing contradictory responses to the question at hand. What is even more perplexing is that such mixed signals are coming not only from the media, but from Catholic “experts” as well.
Pro-life writer, mother of nine, registered nurse, and activist Jennifer Giroux put her finger on this precise problem when she stated,
There are many liberal Catholics and Obama supporters who are trying to divide and confuse the faithful on the issues surrounding this attack on religious liberty and the impending mandatory requirement for employers to provide insurance plans which provide free contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization. . . . Still others that oppose the mandate are advocating that the issue of contraception should be separated from the discussion of religious liberty all together. The reality is that these issues are quite inseparable as it relates to the practice of Catholicism and the moral burden that is placed upon the conscience of employers who provide contraceptive services. Only those who understand the grave moral evil of contraception and abortion understand that the Catholic Church will never compromise on these issues because to do so would lead to eternal ramifications for those involved.
This is why Cardinal Burke’s statements have not only been welcome, but affirming when it comes to the actual moral responsibilities of Catholic employers and others who are looking for clarity during this difficult time. Below is a list of steps every Catholic can take to learn more and get involved in efforts to stop the maddening mandate before a religious liberty becomes a footnote to America’s history:
• St. Gianna Physician’s Guild is sponsoring a Stop the Birth Control Mandate petition, which has been endorsed by Cardinal Burke.
• The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is providing Catholics with fact sheets, bulletin inserts, and prayer resources designed to stop the mandate from being enforced in the first place.
• American Life League has filed an amicus curiae brief against Obamacare with a focus on the mandate. In addition, American Life League joined 15 other organizations and concerned elected officials in a second amicus curiae brief expressing concerns similar to those raised by Cardinal Burke and the USCCB.
Time will tell whether or not Catholic employers must choose between truth and government intrusion. In the meantime, we can be prepared by educating ourselves, we can be grateful for Cardinal Burke’s clear guidance in this matter, and we can pray to God for the victory we seek.
The demon of doubt no longer stands in our way.