The Next Steps on the Mandate

The deadline for the implementation of the HHS contraception/abortion mandate is now upon us. As of August 1, religious organizations will have to compromise their consciences and comply, or apply to the government for an extension or exemption, or risk the penalties of non-compliance.

This deadline will probably have little direct and immediate impact on ordinary Catholics who already have health insurance from Medicare or a private employer. But for the Church, any danger of being forced to compromise with sin will do incalculable damage.  A number of Catholic institutions and dioceses are challenging the mandate in court, but those cases won’t be decided for quite some time.

In the meantime, here are some suggestions about what people can do at this point:

Prayer — This is, of course, our ultimate weapon. We need to pray for our nation; for our elected and appointed officials, for a conversion of heart; for our judges, for wisdom in applying the law to these cases; for those who will be affected by this mandate, that they will have the wisdom and courage to resist as best they can.  For some suggestions about prayer activities, see our webpage about the Fortnight for Freedom.

Advocate — There are significant legislative initiatives that would overturn the HHS mandate and protect our freedom of religion. First and foremost are the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act. These bills stand on their own, but they are also being attached to appropriations bills that are pending in the House of Representatives. if your Congressional representative is on the Appropriations Committee, please contact and urge them to keep conscience protection in the funding bill.

Support our Bishops — During this bruising political season, our bishops have been taking a beating in the media. They need our support and help, and it would lift their spirits if they heard from faithful Catholics, in support of their efforts to defend the freedom of the Church.

There is an old saying, often mis-attributed to Edmund Burke, but which is true regardless of who said it: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

Don’t lose hope!  Throughout history, the Lord has stood by us in our hour of need, and assured us, as He did to Gideon, “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).  Let us pray with confidence to Our Lady, Help of Christians, for the strength and constancy we need.

Tags: ,

15 Responses to “The Next Steps on the Mandate”

  1. Richard says:


    Thank you for this article. I am a Catholic dentist in College Station who has about 5 employees. We have a health plan through a local HMO, and I have recently been moved to re-evaluate our plan after cheering on the NCCB for its fight against the HHS mandate.

    I now realize that I am cooperating in this evil by partially funding my employees’ premiums for coverage that includes sterilizations and artificial birth control. My problem is that I do not know what is expected of me as a private employer who has a Catholic conscience. Since there are no insurance options that will NOT cover these objectionable procedures, are my employees, their families, and me and my family to go without health insurance?

    This is something that no one seems to want to address. While Churchmen may fight on the national scene, there is no guidance on what the faithful Catholic is called to do.

    Do you have any advice for the Catholic private employers out there who want to do the right thing?

  2. Ed Mechmann says:

    Here is an article in which Christopher Tollefsen, a philosopher well known for his loyalty to the Church, tries to analyze the issue. In the end, Tollefsen concludes that it is a difficult moral judgment that can’t be decided with a bright-line rule, but has to be considered on an individual basis, based on the circumstances of each individual case. As an employer, this is very hard, and puts you in a situation where two moral duties conflict — you are doing the right thing by providing your staff with insurance (that’s part of the duty of giving them a just wage), but you don’t want to cooperate (even remotely) with the evil. I wonder if there is any way that you could re-structure the arrangement so that you no longer pay directly to the HMO, but instead the payments take the form of vouchers that you can include in the employee’s pay, so that any decision to purchase the insurance isn’t yours, but is their instead.

  3. Christopher Bell says:

    If we who believe this mandate is evil call our insurance agents and say, “I am exempt” they will have to take notice. All should file seperate lawsuits to continue to fight this unconscienable act.

    Another tack would be to tell our insurance providers we are unable to provide insurance if being forced to pay for unethical products or services. It will burden our employees. It will be a greater burden as we continue to confront the government which is demanding unethical behavior on the part of all citizens.

  4. Ed Mechmann says:

    I’m actually surprised that a massive class action case hasn’t been filed yet, on behalf of employers who have conscientious objections.

  5. Daniela Adames says:


    Mr. Mechmann actually shared this with me this morning- it might help, given your situation:

    A creative Catholic entrepreneur is exploring a possible safe harbor to provide an exemption from the HHS mandate:

    I hope this helps.

  6. Richard says:


    I have checked out the Solidarity HS plan and have already signed up for early access. I am interested in what they end up presenting in their package, and this would likely be the best alternative to the compromises in most private health insurance plans.


  7. Peter says:

    I am among the great many Catholics who will not blindly follow the US Catholic Bishops, who as a group, have lost their moral credibility.

    With the conviction of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia, the unrefuted testimony about the cover-ups and child endangerment, and secret lists by Cardinal Bevilacqua ,the upcoming criminal trial of Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City, the escape from justice and reward in Rome of Cardinal Bernard Law, the fact that many current bishops formerly held similar positions in several dioceses and are now ordinaries, and have been identified by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and the deafening silence of our bishops and cardinals on all of these matters , they all need reminded of the words of Our Lord in Matthew 7:5 before they go out attacking the government leaders and ignore their own households, “Hypocrite, first get rid of the log in your own eye, then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye”.

    The bishops can deal with these matters, the utter sexism that pervades the institutional Church, the unwarranted attacks on our dear religious sisters, and become a model of justice and righteousness. Instead, they operate in secrecy, without transparency, and morally selective about their attacks. No religious liberty ? Two-thirds of the monies for Catholic Charities comes from governmental sources.

    In many respects, the alleged attacks on religious freedom that the bishops call anti-Catholic find other religions holding the opposite position of the Catholics. We live in a multi-religious, diverse society. The Catholic hierarchy claims a type of religious supremacy of the Catholic position always. Yet, the Catholics have left the negotiating table, and instead have resorted to pure political stunts in this election year.

  8. Ed Mechmann says:

    The authority of a bishop has absolutely nothing to do with his personal merits or “credibility”. It comes from the fact that he has received the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders when he was ordained a bishop. As such he has received the grace of being a successor of the Apostles, in communion with the Successor of Peter and all other Catholic bishops around the world and throughout time. In union with them, he leads the particular church that has been entrusted to him and he teaches and governs with the authority of Christ.

    Look, we can all easily identify bishops who are knaves, fools or cowards. For example, Pierre Cauchon, the bishop who presided over the obscene first trial of Joan of Arc, was all three; yet for all his faults, he was still a bishop of the Church of Christ, and his flock was bound to give due respect and adherence to his teachings on faith and morals.

    It’s an odd teaching in this day and age, when we are obsessed with credentials, charisma and popularity. But it is an essential part of what makes us Catholics, rather than Protestants.

  9. Alice Street says:

    How about adding one more item to your list:
    Don’t vote for anyone who supports abortion, contraception madates and opposes conscience rights for Catholic and other Christian workers.
    don’t invite Obama to dinner!
    while we support our bishops and pray and fast for the Fortnight for Freedom, how about not being stabbed in the back by the very Cardinal who asked use to stand up for our faith???

  10. marcus says:

    While we pray the Cardinal has dinner with Obama and gives golden PR for his campaign. The faithful are divided just as the Alinsky playbook would have it.
    This regime has the USCCB in it’s palm despite the dustup and protest lawsuits. The next Obama term will bring hard rain on the faithful of the Catholic church. A real schism is a high potential with the USCCB being forced to OBEY the state laws that directly opposes and distorts Church teaching. God forbid, we could be facing the rise of the American patriotic catholic church vs the Roman Catholic Church (aka China). But I digress, Lets go to dinner with Obama and be light hearted!

  11. Bernadette DuBois says:

    I dont know where to sign the petition on this page, but I am giving my concent, because I agree with the petition. All lambs arn’t stupid enough to go to a slaughter, they follow their master, thats where goats and lambs are different.

  12. Marvn C. Schmidt says:

    “The next steps on the mandate”? THERE ARE NO NEXT STEPS – IT IS, ON IT’S FACE, ANTI-CATHOLIC. Don’t you get it Ed??? You,k sir, are as dispicable as Obama for even THINKING about justifying the actions of a failed presidency. Obama is a person sworn to destroy religious freedom in America. In any war, killing soldiers is an inconvenience to the Generals, but destroying the respect and power of the opposing Generals is Victory. Inviting Obama to the Dinner will destroy the Cardinals credibility with many Catholics, and support the Adversary’s General, Obama.

  13. Leslie Tuttle says:

    “Support our Bishops — During this bruising political season, our bishops have been taking a beating in the media. They need our support and help, and it would lift their spirits if they heard from faithful Catholics, in support of their efforts to defend the freedom of the Church.”

    I do support my Bishop and others but it becomes difficult when we are in a battle over out Religious Freedom& more and the Cardinal is going to dine with the man who is bringing this down on us. Do NOT invite Obama to dinner and then tell me to support the bishops. The SCANDAL this will cause is far reaching. Why would any Catholic think they should not vote for Obama when they see him dining with the Cardinal?

  14. Bill says:

    I cant believe that you follow up this article with a justification of the scandalous invitation of Obama to the Al Smith dinner. You note that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. How about ” All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to hobnob with evil and provide good photo ops with evil”. How do the Bishops expect the faithful to support their efforts and make a commitment when they can call “time out” and have a little fun with the opposition. I for one won’t be made a fool of. If the shepherd begins to socialize with the wolf, the flock will scatter. Is the money really worth it?

  15. Angela says:

    In reply to SimpleCatholic ~ WOW are you judgmental and confused! Nothing I read was full of hating ~ until I got to your remarks…Which appears that you were just venting. Since you did not address your remark to anyone “The shift from hating the sin to hating the sinner confirms that you no longer should present yourself to receive the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist” am I to take for granted that you have made the judgment that everyone who disagrees with extending the invitation to Obama is hating the sinner. I hadn’t read a thing about the sin involved till I came upon your angry blog.

    Seems to me that you also assume that only Catholics come to this website. You have no idea if I am Catholic or not, but be advised that many other religions have the some of the same moral beliefs and values as the Catholic religion. And for you to assume that because one expresses their disappointment, disapproval, makes a request to withdraw the invitation or not to attend, that they are hating the sinner and not the sin is ludicrous.

    Obama has been given the ‘honor’ to speak at the Al Smith dinner which is an ‘honor’ that should NOT be given to a person who has continually attacked the Catholic Church at its core. He has attacked the sacred rights, the duty to the protection of life, he has redefined marriage and he is forcing things that are not negotiable to the Catholic Church.

    “If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.” Ven. Fulton J. Sheen