Letter on Healthcare Mandate

Let me share with you my letter regarding the healthcare mandate. This letter has been sent to parishes to be read at masses this weekend.

small image of PDF Icon  Letter from Cardinal-designate Dolan

small image of PDF Icon  Letter from Cardinal-designate Dolan (Spanish)


79 Responses to “Letter on Healthcare Mandate”

  1. Heather Wilson says:

    “And they will know we are Christians by our love”. What is more likely, reading these comments in this blog, is “and they will know we are Catholics by our self-righteousness, intolerance, hypocrisy and arrogance.” Jesus might call you all Pharisees and warn the rest of us about you. I converted to Catholicism more than 40 years ago. With deep regret I can no longer be a part of a Church that has been so thoroughly and completely politicized and co-opted by right wing extremists and racists. Where was the moral outrage at two illegal wars? Sanctioning the torture of prisoners? Rampant poverty and homelessness caused by out of control financial institutions? Cover-ups (that continue as we speak) of predator priests? The self-righteous, hate-filled and thinly veiled racist disrespect for our President is shameful and embarrassing (as an American and former Catholic). The fact that the USCCB is fanning the flames of Fox News and other hate-mongerers is reprehensible. President Obama is not “waging a war on religion,” “assaulting religious liberty” or any of the other divisive claims being made. As usual, President Obama is the only adult in a room filled with screaming children who don’t stop to take a breath and try to work with him. Instead it is all about demonizing him. It is outrageous that the USCCB does nothing to help people understand the complexity of the issues, nothing to encourage rational or thoughtful discussions trying to look at issues from the perspective of others (also known as empathy – a generally good, moral concept I would think). It would be helpful if the USCCB would help people in the pews deal with the fact that they live in a country where there are many different viewpoints and beliefs and that Catholics need to show respect for others (and maybe especially the President), even if they do not agree with him. Seems pretty basic. But then again, people in the pews unfortunately follow the leader and clearly the USCCB has little respect for the fact that there are thousands and thousands of individuals employed by Catholic institution of various kinds who are not Catholic or do not share the Catholic beliefs regarding contraception. Oh well. Too bad for them. Their beliefs/religious freedom does not matter. Get the point? It is not about religious freedom. It is about applying the law equally to all people. I must admit I feel a tremendous amount of relief in renouncing my conversion to Catholicism. It was becoming increasingly impossible trying to defend the indefensible – to others, but more importantly in my own heart.

  2. Theresa in Alberta says:

    I really really REALLY enjoying listening (and watching) you with Father Benedict on EWTN on sunday Feb 12. Stand strong because whatever the US government mandates, us Canadians are not far behind.

  3. Barry K Ward says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    Thank you for leading what I hope is the beginning of the Faithful standing up to a government/culture in America which more and more has decided that human rights are granted by government rather that God. God Bless you all.

  4. Hector says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan;
    We need for the church to lead us in the fight against Obamacare. The reason is that any Catholic who owns a business and offers insurance benefits to his or her employees will not want to be supporting abortions and any other abortive and contraceptive services by paying them through insurance premiums for insurance policies. From a responsible and consciencious and Christian perspective it would be the same as paying for them directly. We are at the edge of a precipise and we cannot allow Obama to push us over the edge. These are the sins of omissions which we pray about at the begining of every mass we attend. Father Pio (St. Pio of Pietrelcina) said that the most common sin found in this world (besides Pride) was Hipocracy. We cannot confuse Christian Charity for the so called “Social Justice” of Democrats hiding behind the vail of Marxist socialists. They are not one in the same. You have had to live within socialism or communism to realize the difference.
    Thank you for having the courage to stand up to Obama. God bless you.

  5. Maria says:

    Contraception: Fatal to the Faith and Eternal Life by John Hardon SJ

    ” I make bold to say that the Catholic Church, the real Roman Catholic Church, will survive only where her bishops are courageous enough to proclaim what the followers of Christ have believed since apostolic times. But the bishops are frail human beings. They need, Lord how they need, the backing and support of the faithful under their care. ”

    We are with you, your Excellency!! We have your back. We thank you for your courageous witness to the Truth. Go get em.


  6. Maurice F. Curran says:

    I applaud Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan’s strong and clear leadership against the President’s imposition of the sterilization, contraceptive, and abortion-inducing mandate as part of “preventative medical care” under the Obama Care law. The First Amendment of our U. S. Constitution protects all citizens against the federal government mandating that any citizen violate its religious beliefs. The practice of sterilization or using abortion-inducing drugs or contraceptives violates the Natural Law and the Moral Law adopted by the Catholic Church for over two thousand years. Who gave President Obama the right to tell the Catholic Church, or any other church or follower of the Freedom of Religion decree of the U.S. Constitution, that their fundamental constitutional protection to follow their religious belief and code has been preempted and taken away by his presidential decree? Not the Constitution; not the U. S. Congress; not Secretary Sibelius; not Planned Parenthood; and not the New York Times. As Archbishop Dolan has forcibly and unconditionally pronounced, this is a fight to to the death. President Obama and his cohorts may impose fines in the millions of dollars and may even try to imprison those who resist the Obama mandate on the grounds of civil disobedience. No doubt President Obama thinks that this firestorm will quickly pass and his stamping out the First Amendment will have no repercussion in the 2012 general election. If he is sadly mistaken in his usurpation of our religious freedom, he will reap the whirlwind, and he has only himself to blame.

  7. Jonathan S says:

    Your Eminence,

    Thank you leading us in the fight for religious liberty and holding strongly to an unpopular dogma of the Church. Know that the faithful are praying for you and for all our bishops.

  8. Ron Gizzarelli says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan, Thanks you for fighting the subtle forces of evil in our government. It is a constant erosion of our morals, values and religious freedom that is being perpetrated.

    I was reading the final letter in ROMANS 16: 17-20, and it couldn’t be any
    truer today! Please carry on your important work in Christ Jesus name.
    Amen. Ron

  9. Karen says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I do hope that we can fight this contraceptive mandate by the “government”, but I have to say, it is the “Bishops'” FAULT. You all wanted the OBAMA “all-inclusive” “health” care crap and now guess what we have?

    We knew who this “man” was BEFORE he was elected. If the Bishops’ had gone out and told the Catholic population to vote “PRO-LIFE” and ONLY Pro-Life we “may” not have voted this “man” into office – 54% of Catholics (I see an Obama bumper sticker on car in line at Catholic HS!!!!!). Then right after he was in office he turned around the Mexico City policy and started on the Obamacare heath care “reform”. He hired Sabilius (KS governor – we knew who she is!).

    Really, the only “reform” we need is to get the government out of “government”, “healthcare” and “education”. These three things, government puts tons of $$ into and guess what? They keep rising way above all other expenditures, wasting 100’s of billions in $$. We are taxed to the hilt and trying to pay for Catholic HS and college have been VERY difficult. I’m scared that our family will eventually lose our health care and any “pre-existing” conditions will force us to not have health care.

    Government is intrusive, over bearing, and we cannot have a guarantee that they will be “nice” to us. Look, we have 5 Catholics on the Supreme Court and that still doesn’t help us.

    My other problem with the Bishop’s is this: What would their attitude be if the people of Mexico were all Muslim? Would they want them coming over the boarder in hoards as the people of Mexico do now? Mmmm. I don’t think so. Think about that. I do want people to come to US, but legally. I have in-law from Venezuela and it took her forever to go through all the hoops to come and then to become a citizen.

    Anyway, I’m not impressed with the USCCB. Pedifile priests and the “bishops” that allowed them to carry on (including in my parents’ parish) have turned members of family away from going to church – not going to other denominations, just not going to Catholic church! Grrrr.

    I’m thankful for a faithful Bishop where I live and 2 good priests in our parish. That is all that I can ask for as of now.

  10. Theresa Clemoms says:

    I hope you realize how many Protestants are also looking to the Catholic church to lead the way in this debate. The simple fact that we have so many denominations and so few cooperative leaders that it is impossible for us to have a united front in the face of such adversity. This is also the reason that the C atholic church leads the most effective pro-life movement in the U.s. today. As one Christian to another I must say thank you for showing us the way. We must always strive to follow in the footsteps of God and the righteous. Each day our individual rights are slowly being diminished and most of us remain silent. We cannot afford to be silent any longer. Thank you.

  11. Nancy Gibson says:

    Thank you Archbishop Dolan for stqnding up for our Catholic beliefs. We all need to pray for our country and even more for this president.

  12. Leslie M says:

    I’m another Protestant who thanks God for you and other Catholic leaders who are standing up to the growing anti-Christian mindset in our country. Keep up your good work. We’re all rooting for you.

  13. SUSAN GORDON says:

    I am an american first and catholic second and I have been very disappointed to see how the religious community is trampling the 1st amendment and bashing our president for his attempts to uphold it. Our country was based on the separation between church and state. Religious freedom is a given in this country which I have never contested. The church has been one of the luckiest institutions in this country for centuries, by their continued tax exempt status. At a time when our country is experiencing such financial hardship I feel a true and loving church community would be stepping up to do their part to help, especially if they expect to voice their views in the political arena. If you expect to have your voices heard than you need to start by offering up your tax exempt status and financially contribute to this country before your voices should be heard. Church income and property tax payments alone would offset federal and state deficits enormously. It’s time the church puts its money where its mouth is.

  14. Steve McPartlin says:

    Heather Wilson:

    It seems to me that you have more of an issue with your country than you do with your Church.

    Steve McPartlin

  15. Pamela says:

    Your Eminence, I am not Catholic but wanted to add my gratitude for your efforts to protect religious freedom. When I first heard about this mandate I was appalled. Not only on a moral basis, but on a constitutional basis overall. What gives the government the authority to dictate such mandate? How could they mandate this of any organization/business/insurance company? The issue really isn’t limited to the Catholic faith – it effects ALL citizens in this country.

    No one objecting to this is taking away anyone’s access to contraception. Just trying to rescind a mandate which exceeds constitutional authority.

    Keep up the good work!

  16. BostonPat says:

    Your Emminence Cardinal Dolan,
    Please know that local prayer groups praise God daily for your appointment as President of US Bishops. We are praying as Our Lady in Medjugorje is asking us every month in her messages….”Pray for your shepherds”…..We wanted you to see the latest posting on spectator.org and the piece on Sister Carol Keehan who is responsible for ObamaCare being accepted…..as the author states: “Follow the money”…..
    God’s care and protection for you and your brother bishops…..You will be in our prayers, sacrifices and fasting intentions this Lenten season…..

  17. Aida Cordano says:

    Your Excellency —

    Thank you for your courageous stand regarding the HHS mandate and religious freedom. I know there are many, many Catholics who are grateful for all that you are doing.

    With my continuing prayers for you —

    Aida Cordano
    San Mateo, CA

  18. Vency says:

    Bravissimo Your Eminence Cardinal Dolan. Your leadership is remarkable. Thank you for fighting vigorously for the principles of freedom of religion embodied in the first
    amendment of our Constitution.
    I pray for Heather Wilson who decided to change her mind and leave the Church of us weak sinners. The very first Pope, St. Peter was weak and a sinner. But the Church is Holy and keeps us sinners in her tight loving and caring holy embrace.
    By the way, there has not been , to this date, a single racist statement or remark made by the Holy, Roman Catholic Church or USCCB about our President Obama.
    Heather please reconsider coming back to the true Church. I will pray for you, a sinner.

  19. John Manchester says:

    We must be very vigilant and vocal. As you have seen over the last week, this issue is still very present in the daily news coverage. But … be careful of the almost subliminal shift that the Obama administration and his liberal minion press is trying to achieve.

    They are trying to shift this debate to a national referendum on contraception. They especially want to try to force the Catholic Church into an open public debate on contraception. No Christian Church (or any real Church) should allow itself to be forced into a public defense of any of its teachings. We know that both Moslems and Jews refrain from eating pork as part of their traditional beliefs. Are these religions asked to defend their beliefs in a public forum? Are Hindus asked to defend their abstinence of slaughtering beef for the ingestion of meat? Never!

    Christians are entitled to their beliefs and should not even engage in a public debate. Unfortunately, many Christians do not know or understand the teachings of their own Church with regard to abortifacient contraception* and other issues of human life. And we need to do something about that.

    (* Most do not know this characteristic of “the Pill” see http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/untold.htm)

    We, as Christians, (by-and-large) had a strong role in putting Obama in the White House. This is a very sad truth. It is, however, a sin that can be redressed. How do we do that? We do it by knowing what our beliefs are … and … by standing strongly for our beliefs … and our Church! For, as they say, if you do not stand for something … you stand for nothing!

    “fighting for Life”
    John W. Manchester

  20. Heather Wilson says:

    To Steve McPartlin – with regard to my country, I have a problem with right wing extremists like Santorum who has the audacity to judge President Obama’s theology, or the angry haters like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I have a real problem with what they have done to spread misinformation and divisiveness. But I left the Church when I realized how it has become politicized, inserted itself in the electoral process (for example when the archbishop of St Louis grabbed headlines saying he would not give Senator Kerry communion). I also was thoroughly disgusted when Sr. Margaret McBride was excommunicated for her role in a life saving medical procedure that was deemed an abortion by the bishop in Phoenix. This good and kind, decent woman was excommunicated. Have any of the hundreds (thousands?) of priests who raped children been excommunicated? One? Nope. So Steve, I have a much bigger issue with being a part of this Church. The Church is in a huge uproar now regarding this contraception issue – sanctity of life etc – I get it – but the silence was quite deafening last September when Troy Davis, likely an innocent man, was put to death. So much for the sanctity of his life. . The inconsistencies, the lack of regard for women, making political statements and forcing letters to be read from the pulpit that assert a political agenda – it makes you wonder which Super PAC bought the Church? It is sad.
    And to Vency – thank you for your prayers. I am sure you are sincere. Obviously I know I am a sinner, I understand the church is imperfect due to all the imperfect people in it. I worked for a very long time within the Church (even taught religion in a catholic school for many years) but have had to come to realize I have no power to affect any change, as a woman it is highly unlikely I would be heard. Revering life as I do, it is way too short to be spending precious time and energy continuing to fruitlessly work for change from within.

    And with regard to racist remarks – I was not accusing the USCCB of making them – they are rampant throughput the posts on this thread and others – anti-Obama rhetoric from the fox news play book. What I resent is the fact that the USCCB seems to collude with and promote divisiveness with rhetoric such as a war on religion, an assault on religious liberty etc. It is not about that at all – it is about living in a pluralistic society where not everyone shares the same beliefs but everyone has to follow the same laws. Instead it is blown into his whole huge drama.
    Enough. Again – thanks for yOur prayers but I can’t imagine ever coming back. Just as I thought very long and hard and with much prayer regarding joining the church those many years ago, it has been a gradual , prayerful and sad process of recognizing I can’t be a part of this anymore. I am ashamed of what the church has done and continues to do.

  21. Sandy H says:

    Your Eminence,
    More and more I hear about obama, I truly fear for all Americans, and our freedoms in all areas, if this man is re-elected. Please, please, I beg of you not to back down on this matter, no compromise at all. period!!! All religions will suffer the consequences if we give in to the bullying of this regime. It seems as those he is more worried about apologizing to the islamic extremist about the mistakenly burning of the koran, than what the conscience and views of his own people are, in America. I have a suggestion, and it is from scripture. Jesus who healed the mute boy, and the disciples could not heal him, so they called upon Jesus to do it, and the scripture says…..Mark 9:28&29 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”….fasting and prayer was mentioned by Jesus many times. My suggestion for you to consider, is to have a National day of fasting and prayer in the Catholic Church, over this matter, and all religions can join in if they so choose. We need some strength, and spiritual help in this matter, and what better time, during Lent, to set aside a day, for fasting and prayer, for this matter. I hope you will take my recommendation to heart. I pray for you for strength, and perseverance. Stay strong, and don’t back down, our spiritual lives are at stake here. Thank you and may the Lord Bless you always!!

  22. David Casper says:

    Heather Wilson:

    I agree that the bishops have not taken as strong or as public a stance as they probably should have on many issues. But mistakes made on the part of the bishops is no reason to renounce the Catholic Church as a whole. Belonging to the Church involves believing in her doctrines, especially such things as the True Presence in the Eucharist. Could you actually justify disavowing your belief in the Eucharist for any reason whatsoever, let alone mere human imperfection? If the Eucharist actually is Jesus, then how can you grow closer to Jesus by leaving the one faith that possesses the Eucharist?

    Your reaction here is similar to the reaction of Martin Luther when he observed things that were going wrong in the Church: he decided to leave the Church and start his own.

    The proper reaction to these problems is that of St. Francis of Assisi: rather than leaving and renouncing the Church, he sought to transform it from the inside out through prayer and hard work (and it worked).

    I am ashamed of certain things in the Church’s history as well, and of things the Church is doing now. But the fallen, imperfect humans in the Church are transcended by the Church herself, because she is the Body and Bride of Christ. Leaving that is to leave Christ, and to leave the pure, unfettered intimacy you have with Him in the Holy Eucharist. Distancing yourself from the Church Christ founded is no way to draw nearer to Him. I pray you will reconsider, and seek reconciliation. We need passionate people such as yourself to help transform these shortcomings into areas where the Church shines and excels above all others. Here, where you see a problem, is your moment to act to correct that problem, not to throw everything away wholesale.

  23. Heather Wilson says:

    David Casper – thank you for your very kind and thoughtful response. I managed to function as a “cafeteria” Catholic (take what I like and disregard the rest) for many many years. For whatever reason, I just can’t/won’t anymore. The peace I have felt since finally saying thus far and no further is that grace-filled peace that you know comes from beyond your own being.
    If I am appalled by the hypocrisy of the Church hierarchy, as I am, how can I possibly continue to collude with it by taking what is dear to me (the Sacraments) and putting aside the rest? I can’t put it aside anymore, I won’t. I am certain my leaving the Church has zero impact on changing anything – just as staying wouldn’t make a shred of difference either. However, for my own integrity, it makes a huge difference in my own heart. I am no Saint Francis. Regardless, the likelihood of a lay woman ever having even a remote possibility of correcting problems or being heard by the church hierarchy is almost laughable. I can’t think of one woman, in recent memory, or even not so recent, ever making any changes to the Church “from within.” Can you?
    Thanks again David. I appreciated your comments.

  24. Thomas says:

    If everyone held the same blind devotion and defensive stand for Jesus Christ as some seem to have for President Obama, we would not be on the verge of moral and economic collapse as we are today. But then, President Obama would not have been elected president by the same standard.

  25. Thomas says:

    “The foolish man of little faith may say it is a natural animal instinct to reproduce, degrading man to the level of a thoughtless beast. How foolish can intelligence render a man? For animals have no conception of love nor emotions, no pleasures derived from their day to day witness of their children as they grow and interact in their parent-child relationship; they cherish no memories and they know no guilt for wrongful acts a husband or wife may commit in offense to their loved one. They have no thought or desire in the willing commitment of a relationship with their beloved. Is it not true that man well knows his being is above all creation? Although many of My children have abused this precious gift I have bestowed upon them, there has never been a child conceived that was not My child. There has never been a soul brought into the world that I did not love, and never a child I did not wish to share in eternal life. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. It is because of these I have so long ago proclaimed, for every human life I will demand an accounting; even from animals I will demand an accounting of human life and from man I will demand it, for each and every one is My child whom I love. Yes, I love you.”

    Excerpt from “Meaning of Life” http://seekingdivinemercy.blogspot.com/2011/10/meaning-of-life-why-did-god-create-us.html

  26. Dr. John P Sprucinski says:

    I am appalled by your, and the majority of the “Catholic” hierarchy, talking a false witness position as to freedom of religion with the latest HHR . As a church and religion there is no threat to your brand of belief. False positions like yours foster the comments of irrational fear such as Sandy H has expressed and does us all a disservice. You know your position is a lie and yet you continue with it – that is why the Catholic church and members of it like you drive individuals away from God rather than closer. Kindly stop the lies!!!!

  27. Villa Ricca says:

    Citizenship will always comes first.

    Religion can not interfere with Citizenship Rights.

    Religion is like a social club where you go to play ping-pong and chat with friends who have similar interests. So Freedom of Religion is having the right to exist for prayer. We have the right to built our churches, go for the services, organize to help the needy and gather anytime to pray. Any Religion must fit into the law of the land and stay out of Citizenship Rights just because Citizenship is a Right not a choice so it comes first.

    You can’t say that your Religion prohibits you from paying taxes and denying you from having that right constitute an attack of Freedom of Religion. Religion cannot ever interfere with Citizenship matters because this will be an attack to your freedom. That’s the real danger, which is an attack to the Constitution.

    Villa Ricca
    Catholic Person

  28. John V. Thomas says:

    The President is attempting to force faith based institutions to provide insurance coverage for drugs and services that are not in accordance with firmly held beliefs. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmum addressed the issue directly: “The Free Exercise Clause at the very least was designed to guarantee freedom of conscience by prohibiting any degree of compulsion in matters of belief.” The discussion about the pros and cons of contraception or abortion inducing drugs or sterilization are not relevant to the broader issue of the Constitutional protections Americans possess. We are not a “democracy” but a “constitutional republic”. Our citizens are protected by the rights outlined in the Constitution. The reason that the leaders of many faiths are joining with Catholic leaders is that they do not want the government to force any religion to violate the tenets of their faiths.

  29. ira blacker says:

    I know it may be hard to believe sir, but as a Jewish non religious person, I wholeheartedly support your position. The “lord of the lies” in Washington has no business putting his nose into the culture and dogma of the Church or any religion. It is in fact a violation of the constitution, but what does Pinocchio in DC know about that, as he has 20 lawsuits against him at the moment or usurpation of his power.

    I am for your position as it clearly is your right to “tend your own flock” and not for the government to meddle in. If people do not stand up now, what freedoms will we lose next? I am fully aware that many of your followers even practice birth control. However this is not a matter over birth control or abortion, but one of religious freedom. If I am to have my right to observe how I choose, then I must value yours.