I Owe You an Update

Over the last six months or so, the Catholic Church in the United States has found itself in some tension with the executive branch of the federal government over a very grave issue:  religious freedom.  Can a government bureau, in this case the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it can be exercised?  Can government also coerce the church to violate its conscience?

I wanted to let you, the great people of the archdiocese, know how we’re doing in this fight.  Thank you for your extraordinary unity, support, and encouragement.  Throughout all the archdiocese, our people – both as patriotic citizens and committed Catholics — have been very effective in letting government know that we are not at peace at all with this attempt to curtail the  freedom of religion and sanctity of conviction we cherish as both Catholics and Americans.

This has not been a fight of our choosing.  We’d rather not be in it.  We’d prefer to concentrate on the noble tasks of healing the sick, teaching our youth, and helping the poor, all now in jeopardy due to this bureaucratic intrusion into the internal life of the church.  And we were doing all of those noble works rather well, I dare say, without these radical new mandates from the government.  The Catholic Church in America has a long tradition of partnership with government and the wider community in the service of the sick, our children, our elders, and the poor at home and abroad.  We’d sure rather be partnering than punching.

Nor is this a “Catholic” fight alone.  As a nurse from Harrison emailed me, “Cardinal, I’m not so much mad about all this as a Catholic, but as an American.”  It was a Baptist minister, Governor Mike Huckabee, who observed, “In this matter, we’re all Catholics.”

And it is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception.  Pure and simple, it’s about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our constitution, of any Church to define its own teaching and ministry.

When the President announced on January 20th that the choking mandates from HHS would remain — a shock to me, since he had personally assured me that he would do nothing to impede the good work of the Church in health care, education, and charity, and that he considered the protection of conscience a sacred duty — not only you, but men and women of every faith, or none at all, rallied in protest.  The worry that we bishops had expressed — that such government control was contrary to our deepest political values — was eloquently articulated by constitutional scholars and leaders of every creed.  Even newspaper editorials supported us!

On February 10th, the President announced that the insurance providers would have to pay the bill, not the Church’s schools, hospitals, clinics, or vast network of charitable outreach.  He considered this “concession” adequate.

Did this help?  We bishops wondered if it would, and announced at first that, while withholding final judgment, we would certainly give it close scrutiny.

Well, we have — and we’re still as worried as ever.  For one, there was not even a nod to the deeper concerns about trespassing upon religious freedom, or of modifying the HHS’ attempt to define the how and who of our ministry through the suffocating mandates.

Two, since a big part of our ministries are “self-insured,” how is this going to help us?  We’ll still have to pay!  And what about individual believers being coerced to pay?

Three, there was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon renowned Catholic charitable agencies, both national and international, and their exclusion from contracts just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.

So, we have given it careful study.  Our conclusion: we’re still very worried.  There seem far more questions than answers, more confusion than clarity.

Now what to do?

Well, for one, we’ll keep up advocacy and education on the issue.  We continue to tap into your concern as citizens and count on your support.  Regrettably, the unity of the Catholic community has been tempered a bit by those who think the President has listened to us and now we can quit worrying.  You’re sure free to take their advice.  But I hope you’ll listen to your pastors who are still very concerned.

Two, we’ll continue to seek a rescinding of the suffocating mandates that require us to violate our moral convictions — or at least a wider latitude to the exemptions so that churches can be free — and of the rigidly narrow definition of church, minister, and ministry that would prevent us from helping those in need, educating children, and healing the sick who are not Catholic.

The President invited us to “work out the wrinkles,” and we have been taking him seriously.  Unfortunately, this seems to be going nowhere: the White House Press Secretary, for instance, informed the nation that the mandates are a fait accompli (and, embarrassingly for him, commented that we bishops have always opposed Health Care anyway, a charge that is simply scurrilous and insulting). The White House already notified Congress that the dreaded mandates are now published in the Federal Registry “without change.” The Secretary of HHS is widely quoted as saying, “Religious insurance companies don’t really design the plans they sell based on their own religious tenets,” which doesn’t bode well for a truly acceptable “accommodation.”  And a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff ended with the President’s people informing us that the broader concerns of religious freedom — that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table.  Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent hardly-surprising but terribly unfortunate editorial in America.  The White House seems to think we bishops are hopelessly out of touch with our people, and with those whom the White House now has nominated as official Catholic teachers.

So, I don’t know if we’ll get anywhere with the executive branch.

Congress offers more hope, with thoughtful elected officials proposing promising legislation to protect what should be so obvious: religious freedom.  As is clear from the current debate in the senate, our opponents are marketing this as a “woman’s health issue.”  Of course, it cannot be reduced to that.  It’s about religious freedom.  (By the way, the Church hardly needs to be lectured about health care for women.  Thanks mostly to our Sisters, the Church is the largest private provider of health care for women and their babies in the country.  Here in New York State, Fidelis, the Medicare/Medicaid insurance provider, owned by the Church, consistently receives top ratings for its quality of service to women and children.)

And the courts offer the most light.  In the recent Hosanna-Tabor ruling, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically defended the right of a Church to define its own ministry and services, a dramatic rebuff to the administration, but one apparently unheeded by the White House.  Thus, our bishops’ conference and many individual religious entities are working with some top-notch law firms who have told us they feel so strongly about this that they will represent us pro-bono.

So, we have to be realistic and prepare for tough times.  Some, like America magazine,  want us to cave-in and stop fighting, saying this is simply a policy issue; some want us to close everything down rather than comply (In an excellent article, Cardinal Francis George wrote that the administration apparently wants us to “give up for Lent” our schools, hospitals, and charitable ministries); some want us to engage in civil disobedience and be fined; some worry that we’ll have to face a decision between two ethically repugnant choices: subsidizing immoral services or no longer offering insurance coverage, a road none of us wants to travel.

Sorry to go on at such length.  You can see how passionately I feel about this.  But, from what I sense, you do too.  You all have been such an inspiration, and I owe it to you to keep you posted.  We need you more than ever!  We can’t give up hoping, praying, trying, and working hard.

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235 Responses to “I Owe You an Update”

  1. Kay says:

    Thank you for showing so much courage in standing strong and leading the fight against this outrageous violation of our religious freedom. So many people just don’t “get it.”

    My husband and I have added you to the list of people we pray for each night.

    It is terrifying to see what is happening to faith and morals in this country and to see that we are falling along the same path that has besieged other countries that used to be great. Prayer is our last best hope. God bless and keep you in your faithful ministry.

  2. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    Alright, enough with the praise and adulation and let’s get down to business. There are a few posters here who have hit the nail on the head about this war we are entering

    ” . . . against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Ephesians 6:12

    E. Kevin O’Connor says:
    “The bishops made a fatal error in the 1930′s by accepting federal money for anything.”

    How true this is. We the immutable Church which does not change began partnering with governments that do. Many in the past have warned us of this Faustian arrangement. We are witnesseing the fruits now.

    Thomas says:
    “The Church is in this position because bishops, priests and religious have failed to teach the faith in totality for the past 50 years. The result: an almost complete loss of the faith.”

    Thomas must have lived through this as I have. While we were pursuing a radical ecumenism, heretical Protestant Fundamentalists have been overwhelming neighborhood after neighborhood nationawide as they did to my childhood neighborhood. We were ABsolutely defenseless against these heretical onslaughts because we were never taught how to challenge these heresies.

    MARKRITE says:
    “THERE’S BEEN FAR TOO MUCH COZYING UP TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND OBAMA BY THE BISHOPS BECAUSE THEY WERE OBVIOUSLY FOOLED BIG-TIME BY THE FORCES OF EVIL. AND JUST HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?”

    And this one worst of all. Everyone but our leaders knew that candidate Obama would be the most radical abortionist, homosexual marriage proponent ever and yet the USCCB put out a “seamless garment” of a voters guide that practically ensured his election.

    That voter guide MUST be the first to go and be replaced by a truly Catholic one. We must use our pulpits to educate Catholics in the true faith via apologetic discourses. We must yank ourselves from the teat of public funding and partnering with any government.

    I know much of this happened before you became our nation’s Catholic leader but as I have told you before Your Eminence, you have been chosen for a reason. Lead us. There are millions out here just chomping at the bit, waiting to charge with Our Lady’s banner and the Word Himself. We are awaiting our Lepanto. I call myself Doria2 because I was born on the ocean liner Andrea Doria in 1953 which was named after Admiral Andrea Doria who fought so valiantly at the Battle of Lepanto.

    We await your orders.

  3. Joel says:

    Your Eminence, thank you for taking the lead and standing up to this administration’s attempt to muzzle the Church. You’re a better shepherd than most of us deserve. (Although I’m not actually from your diocese, and my own bishop, Joseph Tyson of Yakima, is also one to be proud of.)

    I really believe that the president’s intention is to keep us talking until the law goes into effect, then levy crippling fines and confiscate our facilities when they go unpaid. I know you know a great deal more about what’s happening than I do, but it seems to me that if the Church doesn’t shut down her charities and hospitals (or limit them to Catholic beneficiaries and employees) before 2013, then the state will take them and turn them into abortion mills and baby brokerages. I pray it doesn’t come to that, but I’m not optimistic. I think we must prepare for that eventuality.

    Meanwhile, know that most of the faithful are right behind you and you speak for us wholly. We’ll continue to hold you up in prayer.

  4. Bill Russell says:

    Prayers are with you, Your Eminence. First you must get the local scene in order. How many of the staff at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of New York (1011 First Avenue) voted for Obama – and how many will do so again?

  5. Your Eminence, we love you! We’re praying for you! Thank you for your generous “yes” to Jesus. Keep up the fantastic work!

  6. Ray Pongetti says:

    Cardinal Dolan, In your exchanges with ‘our brother’ (humanity is one organism) President Obama, please remind him of the Universal Principle (doesn’t necessarily stem from religious folks) ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

    President Obama and/or his administration have been VERY sensitive to the ‘Personal Feelings’ of some in our human family but chooses to be VERY insensitive to the ‘personal feelings’ of some others in discerning their decisions FOR the ‘Common Good’. Please ask ‘our President’, apologetically, that in setting his scales of ‘justice’ to be more ‘fair minded’.

    In his first speech to the Democratic National Convention (years ago) he seemed to want to be ‘fair minded’ in ‘reaching across the isle’, perhaps some of ‘that feeling’ remains where that came from.

    May our Father (of ALL feeling) be our guide as we live ‘our conscience’. I hope to do more than to simply write such pious words.

    His ‘want to be servant’,
    Ray

  7. Sue says:

    Thank you Your Eminence, for your leadership in this trying time for our freedom to worship and follow our conscience. We will prevail with our Lord’ s help

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    America Magazine has no authority and doesn’t speak for me, but you and our other good bishops DO. YOU are speaking are speaking up for MY deeply held beliefs, to the leaders of our country, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! May God give you grace, strength, courage!

  9. Monica says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan. Stay strong. I don’t know if we will will this fight (I pray we do) but we have to fight, to do the right thing, no matter the odds our even the secular outcome.

    I grew up in the 70s and saw a lack of leadership from the Bishops- we faithful were holding down the fort without the backing of our leaders. I’m glad y’all are leading again!

  10. Magdalene says:

    The bad dream is going to become a nightmare as our government becomes the enemy. History repeats itself. Communist dictatorship will bring many hardships. We are losing our freedoms!

    We must do all we can to push back the evil. I see the hatred against the Catholic church growing exponentially and threatening to become violent.

  11. I am proud of being Catholic and will defend my Church forever. I am praying and also writing letter, e mailing, etc but it goes on deaf ears. I do have a question? What happens to those Catholics in high office: Biden, Pelosi, HHS Sec? Does the Church have to recognize them as members when they have hurt Catholics everywhere.

  12. George Mason says:

    Your Eminence, this is a wonderful statement of clarity and truth. Thank you.
    Meanwhile, I humbly remind you that 106 West 56th Street, NY, NY is in your Archdiocese. That is the business address of America magazine. Perhaps you can remind them the make sure they remain Catholic or invite them to move elsewhere.

  13. John Cullen says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Don’t hesitate to take a strong stand. Let this administration know in no uncertain terms, that the Catholic Church will NEVER let ANY government dictate to them when it comes to faith and morals.
    I fear for the future of the church, but know that I will be praying for you and the holy See.
    John Cullen
    Medford, NJ

  14. My heart is heavy to learn that some Catholics members of Congress have voted against this amendment. This country was founded by brave men & women escaping
    religious oppression. We must not allow this Administration to deny our religious rights, not to mention the subliminal ommision of God in our nation. Look what has
    happened since non-demonitional prayer was banned from our schools. Wake up!
    Pray and ask God’s mercy on our country.

  15. Christine M. Roussel says:

    Cardinal Dolan: I do not for a moment doubt your sincerity but it really is time the Church’s hierarchy listened to the laity. It has been established beyond all reasonable doubt that over 90 percent of the American laity have or presently do use birth control. They have thought about it, weighed the arguments and decided in good conscience that birth control is not evil. This teaching has not been received by the People of God. Since the question of having and rearing children relates to the laity and not the clergy, the present situation of a relatively small number of celibate males preaching to the other 99 percent of the Church is, frankly, ludicrous. And holding the healthcare system of this country hostage to this non-received attempted tenet is wrong and potentially dangerous for many. Again, I do not doubt your sincerity but I hope and pray that you will re-examine this question independently and objectively.

  16. Bob Brady says:

    The Catholic Church’s silence on Humanae Vitae for the past 43+ years is yielding the current conflict over the HHS ruling. It is reported that in one parish the PreCana conference attendees only 50% even knew that the Catholic Church had a teaching on birth control. This ignorance is a direct result of this “avoiding” the message of HV.

    I am concerned by Cardinal Dolan’s statemet
    “We are still very worried.” The Titanic’s hitting the iceberg was more than “worring” and what we have is another disaster (interestingly in the year of the 100 anniversary of the Titanic sinking).

    With the press reporting that 60% of Catholics supporting the Obama contraceptive/sterilization rules, it ic beyond clear that action must be takes that is extraordinary. Special serimon on the subject of HV and the wrongness of contraception are a first step. Next we must press the courts and congress for relief. We must fight the fight, even if we end up a smaller, marginalized church. The truth is more important than numbers.

    Sincerely,

    Bob Brady

  17. Menchie Pascal says:

    Consecrating you, praying for you to God and His Mother

  18. Sandy H says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolon, Thank you for taking the time in letting us know what is going on. According to the news this is getting no where in the House or the Senate. Sounds as though the administration is going to stand their ground. I feel it is time the Catholic Church digs in their heels, and goes head on with the President, and his unlawful and unconstitutional mandates. He just wants to ruin the Church from within. If we as Catholics give in now, it will all come crumbling down, piece by piece, until the Church in America will be nothing. I feel God will not continue to Bless and protect the Church, if we give into these horrible mandates. But I feel sad, because with 57% of Catholics who voted for this president in 2008, they are clueless, and if he is re-elected, I feel that it will be just the beginning of the end, for all religions in America. Stay strong, and you and the Church will be in my prayers. I was wondering on your next update, if you could tell us, if anything, the Pope had to say about this situation, when you were there a few weeks ago?
    God’s Blessings Always…..

  19. Louanne Glennon says:

    I think Mr. Obama’s and the Senate’s hostility to Catholics and their unprecedented desire to marginalize a religious group will prove more ominous and devestating than we have previously thought, and especially devasting to women.

    I think all women at this point should be very afraid, as this “contraceptive mandate,” may easily become just that; a forced use of contraceptives to all girls and women of child-bearing age. Sebilious herself says contraception will not cost as much as maternity care. Eventually, young girls and women may sterilize themselves after prolonged use of contraception.

    Further, Americans could easily be on the first rung to a one-child policy, as China practices…..this is the slippery slope of women and their use of contraception. Women have been convinced that their bodies are their enemies and willingly plan, delay, and otherwise, mess up the healthy reproductive system God has designed by using contraception.

    Women, especially, need to fight hard agains this HHS mandate, otherwise they gain contraception and lose their souls and bodies to the government.

  20. Nick says:

    God bless, protect and speed you and yours, Archbishop Dolan. I will continue to pray for you. No question this is a huge issue of freedom for us, and only the start of the government attempts to deny our freedom in the name of “greater good”. Stay strong, we support you, thank you for your support of us!!

    I am not a Catholic, but I truly stand with you as a Christian.

  21. Irwin says:

    RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. HEALTHCARE FREEDOM. Freedom FROM our dictatorial HHS is the issue here. If abortion drugs are allowed what will HHS decree next? Euthanasia? No coverage for smoking, alcohol, or other “vices”? This obamacare insanity needs to stop now. I urge you New York Catholics to wake up to your blind following of the unAmerican Democratic party. Vote obama out!!!!

  22. Therese says:

    THANK YOU FOR BEING A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS! WE NEED A FAITHFUL, HOLY LEADER TO HELP US! GOD BLESS ALL YOU DO ON BEHALF OF CHRISTIANS EVERYWHERE. LET’S STAND TOGETHER AND BE HOLY CATHOLICS & CHRISTIANS!

  23. Your Eminence,
    We here in Canada, have been following your responses to the Obama administration closely. We are behind you with our prayers and support. We feel Canada may not be far behind in having to prepare for tough times as well.

    May, I , your Eminence, offer one area of even deeper concern. From the Senate’s vote we can see how openly professed Catholic politicians voted against religious freedom. On the level of the ordinary laity, however, at least in Canada, the widespread use of contraceptives among Catholics is something Bishops seldom address. We have much work to do in this area. It seems to me that the Obama administration capitalized on these circumstances much to our loss.
    Fraternally yours in Christ. Abbot John, OSB

  24. Jack Stillwaggon says:

    Thank you for the update. I have worried that the Church would cave in to pressure from the executive branch. Your strong stance on this issue could mean the survival of the Catholic Church. Many of us were appalled at the Church’s handling of the pedophilia cases and the declining attendance at Mass attests to what I’m saying. Now is the time for a heroic and principled stand. Church leaders need to be willing to use civil disobedience, including facing arrest and imprisonment, like in the days of ancient Rome in our fight against other foes of Christianity. I also think the Church ought to excommunicate the traitors to Catholicism who serve in the Obama administration or in Congress who openly support the President on this unconstitutional ruling.

  25. Brandon Suarez says:

    Cardinal Dolan,
    Thank you for all of your hard work to defend Religious Freedom, you are truly an inspiration and you definitely have my support.
    God Bless,
    Brandon Suarez
    San Diego, CA

  26. Dear Cardinal Dolan, Your Eminence – Peace be with your spirit. Have courage and faith in continuing to lead this fight against the forces of secularism and evil. I would respectfully suggest that you publish another statement from the USCCB, once again expressing our side of the issue/argument, and have this statement read and re-published in every parish in the nation. I also believe every Bishop should require that every parish at every Mass should address this issue in the homily. Some are doing so now, but others are not. I also think an appearance by you on The Fox News Cable and perhaps “Meet The Press” would go a long way toward leveling the playing field for our side of the story. Finally, those who call themselves Catholic but who are obviously/publicly on “the other side” (including Priests, politicians and public officials) should be admonished and told to re-join the team or find another belief to pledge their allegiance to. In closing, Good Luck and God Bless. The prayers and best wishes of myself and many like me are being said daily for you and the eventual success of this essential cause.

  27. I am so very encouraged to read and hear the words of Cardinal Dolan. However, I believe there are way too few leaders in our Catholic Church standing up to the evil in our times, and too few of the laity are being led well by their local leadership. I posted to my blog a response to a Knights of Columbus (WA) newsletter addressing this issue. You can find it here: http://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-kind-of-action-in-action-alert.html

    We are in serious jeopady in our country. I fear when we wake up it will be a living nightmare.

  28. Dennis Blay says:

    Your eminence, Portions of your letter were published in our bulletin this week. While we appreciate your efforts and join you in fighting this mandate, I am not surprised in the least regarding the attitude of the President. Barack Obama before he became President was an abortion rights champion, supported by such groups as Plannned Parenthood and Emily’s list. Yet a majority (54%) of Catholics voted for him. Why? The main reason I can think of is the lack of leadership from the Church. There was a clear choice in 2008 regarding the abortion issue, but what did we hear from the Church–The Sounds of Silence. I was told by some that this was because of the tax exempt status of the Church. My thought is WWJD as the kids say. The early Christians suffered torture and death for their faith and we are worried about our tax exempt status?
    Although the Republican candidate for President has not been selected yet, both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have come out in opposition to abortion. The choice is CLEAR in 2012 and the Church leadership should make it clear to its members. Unborn children can not take another 4 years of this President.

  29. F G Elliott says:

    Keep out of the secular politics… There is a reason for a definite separation of Church and State so if you want to wade in, just remember that so many of your tax exempt entities can be turned to a tax paying source – as they should have been originally.

  30. Pope John Paul II warned the catholic clergy not to involve themselves in politics, after Bishop Romero was assassinated. Mr. Dolan is being very irresponsiblie. First, it is recognized that Evangelical Ultra Right Wing Protestants listen to the latest USCCB’s hardline approach, and Catholics are turned off.

    Catholics need to see, that Dolan can’t speak for men and women with families. That he is only versed in religious mythology, and not a man with the experience of those who work, provide and organize society.

    I publicly challange this man to a debate on any topic of the Catholic Church, at any time, any venue. Superstition, Mythology and Religion do not provide answers to human kinds challanges. There is a reason that the educated world is abandoning these men, and that they are renewing their efforts to expand in 3rd world countries.

    Crying statues, Burning incense, and $2000 robes worn by celibate clerics is great theater. But, it is not the purpose of charity that people who financially support the church expect. The fact is, the church was part of government in Europe for over 1000 years, and it fomented warfare and killed people it called heretics. The history of the Church in Europe, Ireland and the Middle East, is not one of peace and prosperity.

    John Hargenrader

  31. I find it odd, how the discussion about employee benefits for those who work for non-clerical entities is such a ‘moral’ debate by celibate clerics, yet in the actual hiearchial church, benefits are handed out generuously to the male Priests, and denied female Nuns and employees by every Diocese in the U.S.

    Here in Livingston County, MI the Catholic Pastors all live in 3 and 4 bedroom suburban homes with 2 and 3 car garages that are the envy of the local neighborhoods they are near. They have housekeepers, maintainence people to mow their lawn and shovel their snow. They have fully funded defined benefit Pension Plans, lifetime housing, lifetime car allowance, and lifetime health care. Some of the Pastors here even own vacation homes.

    Yet, if you look at the plight of Catholic Nuns, there are 5 out of 6 that are over 70 and in need of basic housing and health care.

    If this is the way the USCCB’s cares for it’s ‘family’, then count me out. I say “NO WIVES, NO MONEY”. I urge all Catholics to force change by suspending all financial support until the Bishops stop living a lifestyle of the wealthiest 1%, and allow heterosexual men with wives to run the church.

    John Hargenrader

  32. Cardinal, are you familiar with the concept of separation of church and State. When the Catholic church employees folks it enters the public domain and is rightfully subject to the laws that govern employment. This is a public policy issue related to healthcare not a religious freedom issue.

    Catholics that don’t wish to practice birth control continue to have that choice. But that is not the churches agenda, you want to make sure women don’t have a choice. So typical of an institution that spend more time protecting it’s position than providing moral leadership.

    You owe us more than an update, you owe us an explanation. Why is the church such a dysfunctional, irrelevant institution?

  33. Joseph says:

    Your Eminence,

    Please tell us what we need to do to prevent this. Make it clear in all parshes. Have every priest announce it in every parish and put it in every weekly bulletin ! Every Catholic school parent, employee, teacher, secretary and cafeteria worker should be writing letters.

    We are being attacked much like our Lord was attacked.

    Thank you for all you do for your flock and for the continuation of our most precious church.

  34. Christine Zainer MD says:

    Dear Your Eminence,
    In “solidarity” and with “joy”…
    Are you (and all clergy) prepared to go without health insurance?
    Are you (and all clergy) prepared to refuse to pay the fines?
    Are you (and all clergy) prepared to suffer imprisonment?
    Are you (and all clergy) prepared to pay out-of-pocket for healthcare?
    Are you (and all clergy) prepared to go without healthcare?
    That is the witness that may very well be asked of you,…and each of us.
    Coraggio!

  35. Sydney says:

    Thank you so much Your Eminence! I and my husband will continue to fast and pray this Lent (how fitting) for your strength, as well as the strength of other clergy! May God continue to bless you in the endeavor, and may Our Lady of the U.S. hear our cry for help!

  36. Marie Denver says:

    Excommunicate Nancy Pelosi. She does not represent Roman Catholics. Please let her know that if she believes that contraception is medicine she has declared herself as not accepting the teachings and beliefs of our church.

    Excommunicate Nancy Pelosi.

  37. John42086 says:

    Your Emminence,

    I was wondering what (if any) inter-religious initiatives are currently being worked on? For instance, are Muslim institutions exempt from this health care bill? What do they think of this?

    It’s becoming ever more apparent that you guys are not dealing with people of good will. I think it would be extremely beneficial if you guys did some outreach to Muslim leaders ( put out a message or video) stating clearly what they are doing to us could very well happen to them. This could very well be the type of pressure that would get this administrations attention.

    God Bless.

  38. Cheryl Sulzer says:

    Your Eminence, I want to encourage you in your battle against the evils of this President, his party and his administration. I have read through the many posts and there is certainly a divergence of opinion on cause and effect as well as interpretation.

    I, too, have an opinion that is a culmination of much of the above on when and how this slippery slope started and the ultimate goals of this administration. You can disagree with Rush Limbaugh in his handling of the situation of the Georgetown Law student but he has been spot on when it comes to stating the timing and purpose of this mandate and the resulting controversy. Obama is fighting to stir his base and to rally a large voting block, women. The contraception issue was deliberately inserted into a Republican debate by a Democratic operative turned journalist. With regards to this woman, I find her actions abominable! To further learn the law student researched the coverage at Georgetown for birth control and opted to attend with the intent to change it three years ago suggests an element of conspiracy. I just don’t believe in co-incidence, just as God sets the stage for us to receive His graces so does the evil one set the stage for those who are compliant in his efforts.
    This past week we had a three day Lenten Parish Mission with evangelist, Hector Molina. Our pastor, Fr. Charlie Goraieb is new to our parish (St. Timothy, Mesa, AZ) but it did not take long for the Lord to lead him to the decision that our parish which has always been one to evangelize needed some direction and tools for the mission ahead. Hector was incredible in sharing that message and showing us that we need to lovingly share the truth of our faith and to stand firmly for our beliefs and our religious liberty. He also answered our reluctance with the call to holiness, the call to live as the saints not schooled in theology, highly educated but barely schooled but most importantly called by God through an open heart. This message of his and the conviction of Fr. Charlie gives me pause. I cannot help but believe that this type of evangelization needs to be shared with every bishop and priest in our nation.

    Hector spoke of reluctant priests who fear to speak forcefully the truth of our faith and fear the reaction of parishoners if they do not remain “politically correct” in their approach.

    I converted to Catholicism in 1969 and I fell victim to the priests of the time who put their own interpretation into Vatican II but by the grace of God, I discovered a man name John Paul II who changed everything.

    Your conviction and courage gives me hope that the bishops and the priests recognize the danger we are currently facing. I firmly believe had the bishops and priests at the time of Roe v Wade been as united and outspoken then with the support of the laity as they are now and had they been teaching a unified message from the pulpit it would have never passed into law. It was unimaginable at the time but it happened! It’s a mistake we cannot afford to have happen a second time. Now is not the time for political correctness in the pulpit or pulling our punches in fighting the good fight against the evils of secularism.

    If that offends the “c” catholics and “c” catholic politicians then offend away! In 1 Timothy 3:16, Jesus, says “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Do we not all have a responsibility to those who have heard the truth and reject it? We counsel and evangelize them until they come around or excommunicate themselves from holy mother church. That has to come in a reasonable amount of time to reduce the scandal to the church. If it is our cross to bear then let us bear it joyfully and with courage. History is full of examples of people who could not believe the worst could happen, the European Jews and the Nazis come to mind. Can we afford to delude ourselves like they did? Too much is at stake, our Church, our faith and our nation!

    I hold the Holy Father, you and all the bishops, priests and religious in prayer that when we meet our Lord, He can call us “good and faithful servants”.

  39. Tom Perna says:

    Your Eminence – Thank for you standing up against this horrific mandate and the true issue behind it all – religious freedom. You have my full support in all that you do! If you need me, a small time high school theology teacher, you have my prayers and my “sword” (Ephesians 6:10-17). I would be blessed to stand side-by-side with a man like yourself. Since January 29 of this year, I have been writing on my own blog to assist in the education and catechesis of the lay faithful in the New Evangelization. I have written about you too. You are in my prayers and have my full support in Austin, Texas.

  40. Laurence White says:

    You speak of a “freedom of religion battle,” and say we “live in an era that seems to discover new rights every day” – as if discovery of new rights was a bad thing rather than a sign of enlightenment. The Catholic Church needs to learn some humility; you need to lay off the incendiary language.

  41. Carmen says:

    Thank you for leading and protecting us. Our priests have such a heavy load to carry.

    Dear Lord and Blessed Mother protect our priests and sisters and all those who serves you!

  42. Dear Cardinal,

    Will the Church protect us when we stand for life? Not in the nygulag (Roosevelt Island) I was a stand alone pro Life Conservative campaigner there, subjected to intense harassment over the years which culminated in two attempts on my life by obamanut thugs there. God bless the NYPD who stopped the crimes in progress, but there was no investigation or prosecution and abusive, dismissive treatment by the DAs. They were followed by harassment, stalking, threats, intimidation, etc.

    It was the Protestants who gave me a “refuge” there, a place to worship on Sundays, and some of the Franciscans at 32nd St. St. John the Evangelist was courteous, but formal and not too interested in justice denied.

    Realise sisters and brothers in Christ, that when you stand for Life, you stand for Christ, and we all know where His footsteps led…Praise and Glory to Him!

  43. Brian says:

    Your Eminence,
    Why does having insurance companies cover certain preventative medicines violate religious freedom? Before you answer I would like you to consider that most Catholic universities and provide viagra, a drug with no medical purpose, without qualms. This apparent hypocrisy weakens the faith of your flock every day.
    Thank you,
    Brian

  44. David and Susan Johnson says:

    Cardinal Dolan, We are so thankful and inspired by your courage and leadership. We are Protestant and are praying for all that you are doing for our country as an American. If someone with authority isn’t willing to take a difficult stand ,and stand firmly, our way of life and freedoms as Americans will cease to exist.

  45. Jerilyn Felton says:

    Thank you for providing the audience who surfs the net with your insightful comments. It is unfortunate but many of us (me included) because of time, get most of our news from the secular media that, many times, presents the side of a story that will “sell.” More often than not, the secular press presents not the news but the side of an issue that will keep people engaged and viewing, e.g. the Limbaugh fiasco. We will keep you in our prayers as you go forward and please keep us apprised through your blog. Blessings!
    Jerilyn
    PS I got this link from an article on ZENIT

  46. Dr. Frank Marotti says:

    I recently read an article by historian Dr. Mary Hershberger that reminded me of the current situation. President Andrew Jackson, declaring that he was trying to “protect” Native Americans, insisted on “removing” them to lands west of the Mississippi. Despite tremendous protests, notably petitions sponsored by women, Congress approved the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Georgia’s Cherokees then succeeded in winning the support of the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that treaties with the federal government had guaranteed them the right to remain in Georgia. Jackson’s response was to withdraw federal troops from Georgia, which, because it wished to drive the Chrokee from their lands, then passed a law requiring Christian missionaries to the Cherokee to be licensed by the state. To obtain this license, missionaries had to swear to obey Georgia law. Dr. Hershberger tells us that most missionaries refused to do so and were imprisoned. Protestant church periodicals vigorously protested. In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Georgia to free two imprisoned missionaries. Nevertheless, with Jackson’s support, Georgia defied the Supreme Court. And, of course, the “inconvenient” Cherokees ended up being “removed” in one of our great national tragedies.

    As horrible as “Indian Removal” and Slavery were, the slaughter of over 53 million innocent, “inconvenient” unborn children ( a disproportionate number of whom were African American and Latino) in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade is much worse. Indeed, in one of his first executive orders, President Obama made clear his international pro-abortion agenda. Yet, a majority of Catholics voted for him. Notre Dame and Georgetown welcomed him. Now many Catholics celebrate his “grand compromise” [sic] with the Church regarding health care.

    Cardinal Dolan is taking a courageous stand that potentially will make him one of the most prominent advocates for social justice in our history. How are we as the laity going to respond? Are we going to vote for President Obama again this November? Are we going to shrug our shoulders and go about our business? Are we going to defy our Church and continue to have abortions?

    We can alter the course of history. We can stop the slaughter if we have the will to do so. Even our popular culture (perhaps unwittingly), in films such as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Blade Runner” and in novels such as “Never Let Me Go,” and in our support of NY Knick Jeremy Lin, is urging us to be “pro-life.” The “slumdogs,” if President Obama had had his way, would have been “terminated” by their mothers with the assistance of U.S. foreign aid. The genetically engineered humans in “Blade Runner” and “Never Let Me Go” are on their way—note the President’s support for producing human embryos so that we can “harvest their stem cells. And, had Jeremy Lin’s grandparents lived in mainland China rather than Taiwan, perhaps his grandmother would have been “terminated” under China’s notorious one-child policy. (It is interesting to note that because of Mr. Lin’s strong Christian faith, mainland China’s government is wary of him.) In fact, had abortion been legal in the early 1960s, the President himself may have been “terminated” before he was born.

    In closing, we in the U.S. are in grave danger of becoming another China. That is, a nation with a puppet Catholic Church. I can envision a U.S. eco-state in which the federal government, through genetic testing, determines who can be born and when those born should die. I also envision vast “embryo plantations” in which the “crop” harvested is not sugar or cotton, but stem cells and human body parts. We are moving down this road now. Is this the legacy that we wish to bestow to our descendants?

    I am a descendant of the people who Margaret Sanger (Planned Parenthood’s founder) and her eugenics movement deemed “undesirable”. As a survivor Sanger’s agenda, I see it as my duty to vigorously plead for the lives of the unborn. As Catholics and Americans, we all should make this our top priority. Our future depends on it. Our eternal life depends on it.

  47. Dennis M. Welch says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan:

    The remark in your recent talk in Hicksville that you and the Catholic Church are “not trying to impose. . .teachings on anybody” is more than a little puzzling, for that is precisely what you are trying to do. And to express your opinions in the language of battle and war is particularly appalling, alarming, and extremist. If you and your church are entitled to extremism, then by your language and logic so are any other churches and religions. Can you see what irreligious and harmful results your dogmatic position can lead to?

    Regarding contraceptives (which the vast majority of Catholic couples use and are not sinful) and health insurance (which every family needs and deserves), the effort by the Obama administration to compromise, which is what democracy–not dogmatism–is all about, does not impose on any churches or synagogues. Indeed, the policy and practice that the compromise reflects are already on-going in over half the states in the union.

    All Maryolatry aside, your dogmatism reflects unfortunately the Catholic Church’s long-standing disregard for women, especially wives and mothers.

    Such dogmatism has not and will not serve the church’s interests well.

  48. Geraldine Koomen says:

    I am a Canadian; so this matter doesn’t concern me, right? Wrong! We lost this battle by default – I applaud you and the other bishops for not doing the same. Our Catholic hospitals may not provide OB/GYN services because they will not do abortions. Every Canadian taxpayer pays for abortions and all the other horrors you are fighting. I believe the day is soon coming, in your country and mine when the Church will be outlawed; and practicing our faith may cost imprisonment or death. Obama is hastening this day by his dishonourable conduct. I hope you defeat him in the courts. But that will win, at best, a reprieve. Your Presidential election this year may be the most pivotal in your history for your country – and for all freedom-loving people (including me!) Fight on, beloved – you and the other bishops. It is a most worthy battle; and you are in my prayers.

  49. Patricia says:

    It is time for an interreligous-ecumenical alliance.” We , the laity, need to be in the square and on the streets with Relgious leaders of all faiths…Jewish, Orthodox, Evangelical, and yes Cahtholic….demanding that Our First Amendment be honored! We need to educate through a passionate and energetic display of our love of the creator and the freedom He endowed us with. This mandate violates the core of who we are as Americans. It should send chills up and down our American spine. It should remind us of how dictators can be elected in a democracy! The March 23 rally is a good beginning to the laity leading a large campaign of non violent resistence to this mandate. Mahatma Gandhi has alot to teach us! So does Blessed John Paul II.

  50. Linda Daily says:

    Now let’s consider the bishops’ adherence to earliest apostolic teachings.  The first written apostolic instructions appear in a 1st century A.D. document called the “Didache.”  Written before the four gospels, it was a training manual for Christians.  Its directives were alarmingly counter-culture, instructing the faithful to exercise profound levels of forgiveness and vulnerability, following Jesus’ example.  Here are some excerpts from its first and second rules:

    Speak well of the ones speaking badly of you, and pray for your enemies, fast for the ones persecuting you

    If anyone should strike you on the right cheek, turn also the other, and you will be perfect

    If anyone should press you into service for one mile, go two

    If anyone should take away your cloak, give also your tunic

    If anyone should take from you what is yours do not ask for it back

    To everyone asking you for anything, give it

    You will not swear falsely, you will not bear false witness, you will not speak badly of anyone, you will not hold grudges

    You will not be covetous, and not greedy, and not a hypocrite, and not bad-mannered, and not arrogant.

    Regardless of if the HHS ruling is just or unjust, constitutional or unconstitutional, from reading the Didache’s apostolic instructions, I would expect the bishops to respond by exceeding government requirements, praying for the Spirit’s healing touch, and fasting, while willingly giving their employees requested healthcare coverage.  I certainly wouldn’t expect them to lead a widespread campaign in every diocese and parish disparaging the U.S. President, his administration and his policies.