To Hell With You

The Obama Administration Answer to Catholics: ‘To Hell With You’

By Bishop David A. Zubik

It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it.

Bishop David A. Zubik

Bishop David A. Zubik

In early August, the Department for Health and Human Services in the Obama administration released guidelines as part of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The guidelines mandated that by Summer 2012 all individual and group health insurance plans, including self-insured plans, cover all FDA-approved contraception, sterilization procedures and pharmaceuticals that even result in abortion.

A million things are wrong with this: equating pregnancy with disease;  mandating that every employer pay for contraception procedures including alleged contraceptives that are actually abortion-inducing drugs; forcing American citizens to chose between violating their consciences or providing health care services; mandating such coverage on every individual woman without allowing her to even choose not to have it; forcing every person to pay for that coverage no matter the dictates of their conscience.

Let’s be blunt. This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself.  In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.

This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone – not only Catholics; not only people of all religion.  At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens. It forces every employer to subsidize an ideology or pay a penalty while searching for alternatives to health care coverage. It undermines the whole concept and hope for health care reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats.

For our Church this mandate would apply in virtually every instance where the Catholic Church serves as an employer. The mandate would require the Catholic Church as an employer to violate its fundamental beliefs concerning human life and human dignity by forcing Catholic entities to provide contraceptive, sterilization coverage and even pharmaceuticals that result in abortion.

There was a so-called “religious exemption” to the mandate, but it was so narrowly drawn that, as critics charged, Jesus Christ and his Apostles would not fit the exemption. The so-called exemption would only apply to the vast array of Catholic institutions where the following applied:

  • Only Catholics are employed;
  • The primary purpose of the institution or service provided is the direct instruction in Catholic belief;
  • The only persons served by the institution are those that share Catholic religious tenets. (Try to fit this in with our local Catholic Charities that serve 80,000 every year without discrimination according to faith. It would be impossible!)

Practically speaking under the proposed mandate there would be no “religious exemption” for Catholic hospitals universities, colleges, nursing homes and numerous Catholic social service agencies such as Catholic Charities. It could easily be determined that the “religious exemption” would not apply as well to Catholic high schools, elementary schools and Catholic parishes since many employ non-Catholics and serve both students and, through social outreach, many who do not share Catholic religious beliefs. Such a narrow “religious exemption” is simply unprecedented in federal law.

Last September I asked you to protest those guidelines to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, and contact your political leadership in the federal government. I asked that you request that this flawed mandate be withdrawn because of its unprecedented interference in the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of the Catholic community, and our basic democratic process.

You did. And you were joined by Catholics throughout the country (and many others as well) who raised their voices against the mandate, raised their voices against a meaningless religious exemption.

On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration answered you and me. The response was very simple:

“To Hell with You.”

Kathleen Sebelius announced that the mandate would not be withdrawn and the religious exemption would not be expanded. Instead, she stated that nonprofit groups – which include the Catholic Church – will get a year “to adapt to this new rule.” She simply dismissed Catholic concerns as standing in the way of allegedly respecting the health concerns and choices of women.

Could Catholics be insulted any more, suggesting that we have no concern for women’s health issues? The Catholic Church and the Catholic people have erected health care facilities that are recognized worldwide for their compassionate care for everyone regardless of their creed, their economic circumstances and, most certainly, their gender. In so many parts of the globe – the United States included – the Church is health care.

Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.

  • To Hell with your religious beliefs,
  • To Hell with your religious liberty,
  • To Hell with your freedom of conscience.

We’ll give you a year, they are saying, and then you have to knuckle under. As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded, “in effect, the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs. And we are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation; to subsidize the imposition of a contraceptive and abortion culture on every person in the United States.

It is time to go back to work. They have given us a year to adapt to this rule.  We can’t! We simply cannot!

Write to the president.

Write to Secretary Sebelius.

Write to our Senators.

Write to those in Congress.

Use the PA Catholic Advocacy Network to send an email message, too.

I have included the addresses in a box accompanying this article. Here’s what you can write:

“Dear (Representative):

“In early August, the Department for Health and Human Services released guidelines that would force Catholic institutions to subsidize through their health care plans contraception, sterilization procedures and pharmaceuticals that even result in abortion.

“It was announced on January 20thby Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, that this mandate is affirmed and that non-profit institutions, including the Catholic Church, have one year to adapt to the mandate.

“This is a direct threat to the religious liberty of Catholics, freedom of conscience and the social service ministry of the Catholic Church. The so-called ‘religious exemption’ in the mandate is no exemption at all as it would require any Catholic institution (that serves non-Catholics or employs non-Catholics) to violate Catholic belief, discontinue to provide health care, or close its doors.

“I ask that you do all possible to rescind the ‘Preventive Service Mandate’ as an unprecedented federal interference in the right of Catholics to serve their community without violating their fundamental moral beliefs.”

This mandate can be changed by Congressional pressure. The only way that action will happen is if you and I take action.

Let them know that you and I will not allow ourselves to be pushed around (or worse yet) be dismissed because of our Catholic faith.

Let them know that you and I will not allow our religious freedom to be compromised.

Let them know that you and I will not allow our religious liberty to be rescinded.

Nobody, not even the president of the United States or anyone who represents him, has the right to say to you and to me as U.S. citizens, as Catholics, or as both: “To Hell with You.”

The president and our elected leaders need to hear from you and me and to listen to us NOW.

And if NOT now, HOW can we get the president to listen to us???

Contact your political leaders


P.S. – Would you do Courageous Priest a favor and share this info with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Email right now? We truly appreciate it. Or leave a comment, we would love to hear what you think.

10 comments to To Hell With You

  • Rezeda

    “Kennedy Catholics” snudos a lot like “Borgia Catholics”. Political power and money can buy lots of “indulgences”. It worked in northern Italy, it’s working in Boston.

  • Phil

    This is a real bad issue, not only on the grounds of morality, constitutionality and freedom.

    On morality, abortion and contraception should be outlawed from public funding because it will undermine our society. This is how:

    Public or prepaid abortion would encourage more illicit sex since it will be easy to destroy any unwanted result. Safer to rape women because rapist could use public paid condoms that could contain evidence. The more women raped or taken advantage of, the more women could be traumatized, the more health services will be required and more unnecessary public expense on top of burgeoning deficit. The more public funded (protected sex?) transpires, the more exposure to accidental disease transmission (have we forgotten AIDS?) or could be another mysterious disease (therefore more expense to find cure and care). More abortion equals more clinics, more people taking advantage for profit which will grow into an industry that does not do nothing except to decay our society. More and more consequence could be added here.

    On the issue of constitutionality, one of the president’s job is to protect the constitution and not undermine it. So, what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to talk and talk and allow him to trash this country?

    Freedom of religion? Other religion and even atheists are protected . How come Catholics are being singled out? Others are allowed to corrupt us but we are not allowed to keep ourselves clean?

    There is much ado about the Catholic religion, but we do not fully realize that this religion serves as guide for us today that we may avoid getting wounded tomorrow. We must remember that the Catholic religion was established by He who said “No one come to the Father except through me”.

  • Kathleen

    So well said and I agree with all of the points you have made. Thanks for articulating the issues so well!

  • Bill

    The unpleasant reality, for some, is that less that 25% of younger Catholics see Church leaders as the final authority on issues like contraception. If this trend continues, there probably won’t be a shortage of priests but rather a shortage of Catholics.

  • It’s too bad it took this to happen for the American Catholic Church and it’s leadership to stand up for the Truth.
    For too long our Catholic hierarchy has been in bed with the most liberal, evil, anti- Christian political party, The Democrats and other liberal, socialist politicians .

    Why our bishops are surprised Obama and his “Catholic ” administration have suddenly “turned” on them is amusing. Do they not know they want to dismantle all Christianity, especially the powerful, wealthy Catholic church?

    The Church itself has done so much damage from within with allowing homosexual seminarians and priests, leading to the decades of cover-up of pedophile priests and criminal behavior.

    The Church has allowed our schools, universities, hospitals to become liberally secular, there is nothing “Catholic ” about them. They allow lesbian nuns, gay priests and teachers to teach our children lies and anti- Catholic doctrine.

    The Church protects illegal immigrants breaking many laws including illegal entry, identify theft, social security theft, taking jobs from citizens and legal immigrants , bankrupting our hospitals, overcrowding our schools, increasing crime, murder, rape, drugs, creating children to be anchor babies to qualify for benefits and citizenship.
    The Church then provides services in Spanish, becoming an enabler to grow poverty. Immigrants, legal and illegal need to know English to be successful here.

    There are plenty of American citizens and legal immigrants that need help first. The Church thinks the illegals are the new future base of the Catholic church in the USA, good luck with that.

    Very few immigrants today are like the immigrants of 50 years ago. Today’s immigrants demand they are entitled to everything for free and don’t have to assimilate or learn English. Most Mexican and Latino illegal immigrants from the past 20-30 years are not practicing Catholics, they know how to work our system, live for free and send cash out.
    Still , they manage to create 2-3 more generations of poverty for the taxpayers to support. In Latino/ Hispanic culture, sexual abuse of young girls is very common, usually by men in their family or boyfriends of the mother. It’s a status symbol for teen boys to father as many children as possible. It’s always the women left behind to care for the babies because these young fathers end up in jail for drugs, violent crimes, gangs et. The Church says nothing about the huge amount of out of wedlock children in the Latino community. When we condone immoral behavior through silence, it continues as normal behavior.

    I know what I’m talking about, I’m from S. California and saw first hand the demise of my state when laws aren’t enforced and immorality runs rampant among Catholics without it being addressed by priests.
    The Democrats think the illegals will be another group to control in exchange for their vote. How cheaply our citizenship is sold. Since it’s assumed most Hispanic immigrants are good Catholics, the Church feels obligated to ” help” them break our laws and by working together with the Democrats for amnesty, they both get what they want.
    “Social Justice ” is not the redistribution of wealth , exchanging freedom for socialism or communism, the theft from one to give to another.

    Jesus said the poor will always be among us. As long as corrupt, greedy, evil men are allowed to control the governments all over the world, that will be true. God knows how selfish and evil mankind can be. We could print trillions of dollars and give it to the poor but it won’t matter because it never gets to the people in need, at best they are given a band aid.

    Priests and the Church need to get back to their business of saving souls and educating Catholics on their faith and WHY we believe what we do, the real consequences of our immoral actions ( look at our society! ) and for heavens sake talk about sin, we need to hear the Truth. We need to hear that divorced Catholics can’t date and remarry until they get annulments. We need to hear that if we’ve committed mortal sins, we need to go to confession before receiving Holy Communion. We need to hear that abortion is the murder of an innocent life and a life sentence for the mother. We need to hear that men need to be the moral leaders and set the example in their relationships, marriages, families and career.
    Sorry for venting but this whole situation is very upsetting and yet I feel the actions by many of the bishops and priests in this country are responsible for much of the demise of our Church and loss of souls.
    I pray that all the liberal theologians in the church will have conversions back to the True teaching of Church doctrine.

    54% of Catholics voted for a pro abortion Obama! That is a mortal sin! Yet the Church is closely connected to Democrats, the party of death! I think it’s time the Church start leading by example . Any Catholic politician that advocates abortion and other evils needs to be publicly called out and ex- communicated. The Church needs to demand countries like Mexico to take care of their people and clean up their corruption. We give billions a year to many poor countries and for what? It hasn’t changed in 50 years. Quit blaming America and hold other countries accountable for their actions.

    The Catholic Church and the American people have done more to help the people of the world than any other entities in history ( by God’s grace).

    We don’t need to be forced by government to help our brothers and sisters, we do so willingly through private giving . But we also expect them to help themselves and contribute, follow our laws and assimilate. We expect our Church to teach these values as well.

    I hope the Church organizes nationwide marches at every parish against Obama’s attack on our religious freedom. I doubt it though, most parishes today are about providing social events.

  • tg

    I already did everything the Bishop suggested. Ave Maria radio also has a website “www.stophhs” which is a petition to Obama. This isn’t an issue about contraception – it’s about religious freedom. Catholic organizations should not be forced to pay for services that are against Catholic teaching. If a non-Catholic works for a Catholic organization, they should abide by our rules. If they want their insurance to provide contraception, then quit and find another job with an organization that provides such coverage. I also think the bishop of the parish where the HHS Secretary attends Mass (if she does)should ask her not to receive Holy Communion.

  • Instead…….do not vote for Obama and do not vote for Romney because both will let the EVIL, Obama’s Affordable (false) Health Care bill survive and Obama is the culture of death. Vote for the culture of life….Vote Ron Paul or Rick Santorum 2012. Pray for this country that God will send one of His favored sons or daughters to be President, who will reverse all of the damage caused by the last 12 years of Progressiveism. thanks! jk

  • Gregg

    With all due respect, how about The Bishops unite in OVERTURNING Obamacare? I already know the answer Your Eminence; it is because a significant number of Bishops supported Universal Healthcare. See here:

  • Clement

    It’s an uphill fight against the culture of death in this world but we Catholics should not give up something that is worth our lives ! The American Establishment had deteriorated almost to the point of no return in areas of morality and human decency. Now among the very few remaining sources of light in this era of darkness is our Catholic Church. I give you my full spiritual support all the way from Singapore. May God bless the Catholic Church of USA.

  • Bill

    As might be expected, I agree with two of the three exemptions (The first and the second.) Many Catholic institutions employ hundreds of people (e.g. hospitals). A substantial number of people working in these institutions are not Catholic and should not have Catholic doctrine inflicted on them especially if they have employed by the institution for some time. It is totally appropriate for local Bishops to ban certain coverage for Catholics but not for non-Catholics.

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