Catholic Bishops: Paper Tigers or Roaring Lions?

February 7, 2014 09:00 AM

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has consistently voiced opposition to the infamous Obama contraceptive mandate. This government directive obliges employers to include sterilization and all forms of “contraception”—most of which can abort a preborn child—in employee insurance plans. This requirement imposes an undue burden on Catholic entities and violates Catholic moral and ethical standards. 

To this date, at least 90 lawsuits have been filed in opposition to this mandate, including 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations around the country.

But we find something really fishy if we scrape beneath the surface of the bishops’ demand that the government respond to their plea for religious liberty. The smell emanates from Catholic hospitals that already dispense contraceptives including, but not limited to, the morning-after pill. The morning-after pill can abort a preborn baby prior to implantation just as the birth control pill does.

But even if this were not the case, the use and distribution of contraception by Catholics is evil; it is a sin and should never be done! 

Just in the nick of time comes a newly released survey of Catholic hospitals that exposes the ugly truth about these hospitals as they are today. This study shows that, even without the Obama mandate, there are pharmacies that carry and fill prescriptions for contraceptives. Still there are others that do not do so, but that readily make referrals to locations—including Planned Parenthood—where the patient can get contraception.

This study suggests that far too many Catholics either have an improperly formed conscience or they are not willing to resist the temptation of being involved with contraception.

Not only that, but past informal surveys have found Catholic institutions that already provide contraceptive and sterilization insurance coverage to their employees. In most of the cases reported, even after the facts were revealed publicly, the policies at such institutions did not change.

So now comes the Obama mandate to a Catholic healthcare network already in disarray.

Last year the Catholic Health Association, which allegedly speaks for Catholic hospitals and other such entities, announced that it was pleased with the Obama mandate compromise involving the creation of a buffer zone between the Catholic hospital and the provider of birth control. 

The USCCB opposed this proposal. Thus the Catholic Health Association is at odds with the bishops. Or is it?

What we see in this chain of events is the exposure of a hypocrisy that pervades Catholic healthcare institutions today. Rather than standing and leading Catholics and the Catholic healthcare institutions under their guidance, the majority of bishops have chosen instead to ignore the facts. This is not about the Obama mandate. This is about the ethical and moral dam that has already been burst in Catholic healthcare. 

It is obvious that the very hospitals and agencies under the bishops’ guidance are already doling out pills, sterilizing women and, even in a few cases, giving hospital privileges to abortionists. 

Where will it end?

The USCCB’s paper tigers need to begin roaring like lions. 

We pray they will take this most recent survey of Catholic hospitals, shine a bright light on the evils being provided, and make the tough choices that would end the madness. And we pray that they are inspired by these words of Blessed John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor: “It is always possible that man, as the result of coercion or other circumstances, can be hindered from doing certain good actions; but he can never be hindered from not doing certain actions, especially if he is prepared to die rather than to do evil.”

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