By Dave Andrusko
If you want an in-depth, thoughtful discussion about virtually any issue NRL News Today readers would be interested in, chances are you could not do better than Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Last week I wrote about his tender, loving speech to students prior to the March for Life [“Children with disabilities: ‘A doorway to the real meaning of our humanity’”]. I also addressed an op-ed he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer in which the Archbishop confronted head-on the Health and Human Service mandate compelling Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities to paying for health insurance that covers sterilization and contraception [“The HHS mandate, including its latest variant, is belligerent, unnecessary, and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief”].
Archbishop Chaput revisited the mandate in his weekly column (http://catholicphilly.com/2012/02/archbishop-chaput/current-hhs-mandate-is-not-a-real-compromise). Many of his comments were specifically addressed to Catholics, but many were equally applicable to people of all faiths and to those who respect religious liberties as an intrinsically important part of the social fabric.
He begins with the importance of being polite and never degrading opponents. (Of course, that is a courtesy that pro-abortionists rarely, if ever, extend to pro-lifers, a point Archbishop Chaput deals with at length.) But that is not an excuse (my word) for standing idly by in the face of an HHS mandate that “is coercive and deeply troubling in its implications for the rights of conscience.”
Archbishop Chaput reminds his readers that this is not “accidental. The administration, despite the good will it has enjoyed from many Catholics, has taken a path that it knows to be unnecessary and knows to be hostile to Catholic belief.”
Archbishop Chaput directly confronts the demeaning, sneering assault on the Catholic Church for its resistance to the Obama/HHS mandate. “The contempt dumped on Catholic teaching in our mass media over the past few days of debate tells us quite a lot about our critics,” he writes. “It also underlines the need for fighting respectfully but vigorously for what we believe.”
He makes the critically important point that people are “free to criticize Catholic belief in any way they choose.’
“But they’re not free to force Catholic institutions, organizations and individual employers into violating their religious convictions. They’re not free to mislead the public about a flawed and dangerous HHS mandate. And they’re not free to ignore the concerns of Catholic citizens who are rightly angry about the current administration’s indifference to religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”
No matter how many times we read that the current HHS mandate is a “compromise,” it isn’t. “It’s bad law with very dangerous implications,” the Archbishop writes. “It needs to be rescinded, and it doesn’t matter how ugly or deceptive our critics choose to be.”
If you have a chance, read, “It’s not a ‘compromise,’ and it needs to be rescinded” at http://catholicphilly.com/2012/02/archbishop-chaput/current-hhs-mandate-is-not-a-real-compromise/
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