So, we are now in day 6 of our two week journey. Hopefully you have been joining in prayer and perhaps some study and penance. Now what? We are about to reach the mid-point and it is now much more likely that we’ll begin to be in situations in which we will be required to say something about why the HHS mandate is such a big deal. Fortunately the US Bishops have provided a wonderful 12 point list of talking points about the HHS Mandate in their aptly named Twelve Things Everyone Should Know About the Contraceptive Mandate. We would be well served to read and digest the entire thing it’s only 3 pages long.
Here are a few points that serve as a summary of the summary.
First the mandate requires that all employers provide contraceptives and abortion causing drugs in health insurance they offer. For Catholics and those who have a well formed conscience (Muslim, Jew or non-believer and everyone else) this means that the government is saying “you must pay for something you know is murder.” Yes, this is the fact of the matter and not an exaggeration.
Second “The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but the Administration does not deem them “religious employers” deserving conscience protection.” (from the 12 Things…) This mandate also includes individual employers who might have a well formed conscience who do not want to cooperate with this evil. Yes, a Catholic business person would be forced to violate his conscience as a private employer and provide insurance coverage (if he or she wishes to do so) that includes this evil. This aspect is not often mentioned, though it is equally insidious.
Third and finally, (there are more points in the 12 Things document) we are not alone in our objection. This is not simply a Catholic issue and it’s not simply about contraception. It is a much bigger issue that leads us to ask, if I am forced to violate my conscience over this, what will be next?” This issue is enough by itself, but once the floodgates are opened up over this “Catholic” issue (this isn’t simply a Catholic issue but is painted that way by the media) then they just might be coming to take away other rights of other groups of Americans. As one media commentator (who happens to be a Baptist) said recently, “we’re all Catholic now.”
Today is the feast of a Catholic priest who lived through a civil war in his own country in the last century. St. Josemaria Escriva gave this advice to the members of the movement he founded (he would say that the Holy Spirit founded) in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, “What illuminates our conscience is faith in Christ, who has died and risen and is present in every moment of life. Faith moves us to play our full part in the changing situations and in the problems of human history. In this history, which began with the creation of the world and will reach its fulfillment at the end of time, the Christian is no expatriate. He is a citizen of the city of men, and his soul longs for God. While still on earth he has glimpses of God's love and comes to recognize it as the goal to which all men on earth are called.” (Christ is Passing By, 99)
St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.