To the Members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops:
It may have taken a few days to sink in, but by now you should all have realized that President Obama has opened a massive assault on the Roman Catholic Church in America the likes of which none of you have ever experienced and for which few of you have prepared.
My guess is only a handful of you believed it could come to this. This is America, after all, where the "first freedom" listed in the First Amendment is religious freedom. When next you gather you might usefully conduct a poll as to how many really believed such a thing could happen.
Most of you are good men, and some extremely good men, but you have never been in a struggle with the government the likes of which your brothers in other places have endured. The American government has always been at least an ally of the Church's social teachings, right? Sure, there is the problem of some Democrats pushing for late-term abortions, and of some academics arguing that the tax exempt status of all churches is an unconstitutional "establishment of religion."
But you just laughed off the idea that the government could actually threaten your very existence.
That is, however, what has happened with the promulgation.
"What came down was the most sweeping and restrictive set of regulations that we’ve seen,” Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said of the new Health and Human Services Department regulations mandating that all health insurance plans provide for contraception, including sterilization and the "morning after" pill.
"We cannot --we will not-- comply with this unjust law, declared Archbishop Olmsted in Phoenix, in a bold letter to his flock that implied what former United States Senator Rick Santorum openly declared the only option on my radio program Wednesday: "Civil disobedience." Here is my full exchange with Senator Satorum on the subject:
HH: I read the letter from Archbishop Olmsted of Phoenix on the air. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has written a new article in First Things. It’s shocking, actually, what’s going on. Should this be a centerpiece of whoever the nominee’s campaign is?
RS: I talked about it in every speech I’ve given today. And here’s what I said, though, Hugh. I said that I took issue with the Catholic Bishops Conference, because Hugh, you may remember, they embraced Obamacare.