Cardinal Francis George is the archbishop of Chicago and former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). His comments on President Obama’s recent ruling on contraception coverage at Catholic Institutions were posted at CNS News yesterday.
The bottom line on his comments:
He continued: “What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.”
This is an intentional effort to take the voice of religious people out of the public square. When you consider that the basis of the American legal system is the Judeo-Christian ethic, this is a rather amazing step by our government.
The Cardinal further stated:
“Liberty of religion is more than freedom of worship,” says the cardinal. “Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship — no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.”
It is my opinion that all Christian churches in America need to stand with the Catholic Church on this issue. The church (other than the Catholic church) stood quietly while the Catholic adoption agencies in Massachusetts were shut down due to Biblical standards upheld by the Catholic church on homosexuality. We can’t afford to stand quietly now as Catholic hospitals are denied their rights to be Catholic hospitals.