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American bishops say they need time to study final contraception mandate rules

By on Monday, 1 July 2013

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York (AP)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York (AP)

The final rules issued last Friday by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implementing its mandate that employers provide coverage of contraceptives “will require more careful analysis”, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has said.

The cardinal, who is president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the 110-page ruling is “long and complex” and the bishops will “provide a fuller statement when that analysis is complete”.

The HHS final ruling updates proposed rules the department had issued in February and left open for comment throughout April.

The HHS contraceptive mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act, will require most employers, including religious employers, to provide coverage of contraceptives, sterilisation and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge, even if the employer is morally opposed to such services. It includes an exemption for some religious employers that fit its criteria.

Cardinal Dolan said that he appreciated the “five-month extension on implementing the complex proposal”, meaning the government extended its “safe harbour” period to January 1 2014, protecting employers from immediate government action against them if they fail to comply with the mandate. Before the final rules were released, that period was to end on August 1 of this year.

The Becket Fund, a non-profit, public interest law firm that has represented Catholic and other religious institutions in a number of the lawsuits against the HHS mandate, said the new ruling is not much different from the proposed rules the HHS issued in February.

Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said: “The news about the final rule is pretty simple: it’s more of the same.”

Mr Rassbach told reporters that the HHS final rule “is not very different from the inadequate rule” the HHS issued in February and updated after the 60-day comment period. He said that although “HHS tinkered with some aspects of the rule”, the agency failed to tackle “fundamental religious questions”.

“Essentially, we’re where we’ve been all along; the change now is it is final,” he said, adding that unresolved issues will have to be addressed by the courts.

  • JamesH

    What did Cardinal Dolan expect to get out of all those dinner dates with Barack Hussein?

    One is reminded of this:

    ‘The Scorpion and the Frog.

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”‘

  • paulpriest

    No they don’t – They just need time to say “Mr President: Go Forth & Multiply!”

  • NatOns

    Ah! Time to reflect, ponder over the small print, and come up with a morally reasonable response .. substantially, yes, the right course to pursue. Essentially, however, here it would seem to be: is this ruling just the same old same old, and, if it is final – this time – is it really “final”, or can challenges in the court of world-led regulation resolve what worldly opinion demands in “truth” .. by law. That, unfortunately, is the drowning man’s vain grasps at straws; the Catholic Church in America does not have even so much as the merest fig leaf of a Concordat with the Holy See to defend the most basic rights imposed by our Living Faith .. so it cannot protest even pointlessly against any flagrant breach of a valid treaty.

    This issue rests instead solely on some magnanimity from any prevailing state of tyranny or liberality, not least that of democratically elected leaders seeking only what they define as the best for their commonwealth – according to their own lights. Of course no treaty is worth more than the value of the spirit in which it is signed, be that even less than the paper on which it is written; nonetheless, it does draw a line without relying on the changeable moods of governments, media interest and public opinion. So, whether it pleases or displeases, if the Catholic Church in US America desires to offer social services via paid employees – schools, care centres, hospices, hospitals, adoption agencies et al – then it shall have to continue to abide by (and enforce) the rules set out by the State not the Faith .. or it must withdraw from such public service (and even voluntary service where this places state regulations over discipleship of Christ).

  • bluesuede

    NEW YORK, May 30, 2013 (
    – The Archdiocese of New York must fund abortion-on-demand and
    contraception”. As part of the terms of its contract with its employee health care coverage provided by its membership in the SEIU union. “The archdiocese of New York acknowledged that it funds the morally
    objectionable services for 3,000 medical workers in the Catholic Health
    Care System, known as ArchCare, under a contract negotiated with the
    Service Employees International Union (SEIU)” (a huge Obama supporter together with a ring of powerful financial thugs).

    “The Constitution and other provisions of federal law prohibit the
    government from imposing the mandate on the Archdiocese,” responded
    Joseph Zwilling, Archdiocese communications director….” Then why didn’t the Archdiocese do more during the 10 years of coverage? Well, in fact they did, they said they, “must furnish coverage under protest”. What about the HHS mandate then?

    They did not object much to the employee’s Catholic Health Care System, that permitted abortion and contraception by saying they couldn’t deprive their employees of their health care benefits. Now the feds are coming after all Catholics and their institutions with the HHS mandate bulldozer. The feds’ inevitable implementation date is 1/1/2014. Not much time for the USCCB to ..”require more careful analysis” and “provide a fuller statement when that analysis is complete”. Much less time to file a law suit or anything else.

    Even the enemies of the Church, S.Lubet of the ACLU said, “I can’t begin to understand the argument that coverage that has been part of the plan for however many years is suddenly anathema.”

    There has been a lack of definitive and timely action from the NY Archdiocese and the USCCB on critical moral issues.
    If you don’t know what’s in it by now, I sincerely doubt you will come to any better informed conclusion by the end of the extension of several months that will place it in effect on 1/1 2014. After which you can, “furnish coverage under protest.”

  • guestguy

    Is it just me, or is Obama the worst American president ever in terms of respecting religion? He is certainly the lamest excuse for a christian president.

  • Agnus

    “will require more careful analysis”, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has said.

    Can’t he just say “No!” -and then get ready to face the Lions in the arena – like they used to in the old days. At least he’ll get to Heaven.

    Christ covered THIS beautifully in the Gospel of St. Matthew 10

    “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. [17] But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. [18] And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: [19] But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. [20] For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.

    [21] The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. [22] And you shall be hated by all men for my name’ s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. [23] And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come. [24] The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. [25] It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?

    [26] Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. [27] That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. [28] And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. [29] Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. [30]But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

    [31] Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. [32] Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. [33] But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. [34] Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. [35] For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

    No nonsense. The clarity is amazing. Don’t deny He is God to others -even if people say it isn’t P.C to exalt Him to that extent. ( Our Lord does NOT appreciate “False Ecumenism” even if we are more popular with others when WE practice it. He died for US – and to prove we are worthy of His great Sacrifice, we must be prepared to do the same if necessary.

    Whilst we are doing all we can to keep none-Catholics happy by compromising His Truth, Christ is getting annoyed with us, because He wants us to face martyrdom (like they used to), rather than to alter a single syllable of what He said. There are those who wish He had not said certain things, but HE remembers He said them and he’ll not be happy with us – if we pretend He did not.

  • Defenderofthefaith

    No it is not just you. Obama would be the last one to defend christians faith/believes but he would be the first to accommodate Muslims believes and their rights.