The National Catholic Review

The Catholic Health Association has released an updated statement on the recent HHS position on a narrow religious exemption for Catholic institutional employers.

 

Something has to be fixed

By SR. CAROL KEEHAN, DC

CHA president and chief executive officer

CHA and its members were profoundly disappointed to learn that the definition of a religious employer was not going to be broadened in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' rules for preventive services for women.

The impact of being told we do not fit the new definition of a religious employer and therefore cannot operate our ministries following our consciences has jolted us. The contributions of Catholic health care, education and social services to this country's development are legion. They have responded to the needs of all, not just Catholics. They have been delivered by many who do not share our faith, but share our commitment.

From President Thomas Jefferson to President Barack Obama, we have been promised a respect for appropriate religious freedom. The first amendment to our Constitution affirms it. We are a pluralistic country, and it takes respectful dialogue to sort this out fairly. This decision was a missed opportunity.

CHA has expressed concern and disappointment about this on behalf of the ministry. We have said the problem is not resolved, and we must have a national conversation on this. CHA is working closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and others to look at options to resolve this. We will be discussing it at the CHA board meeting on Feb. 8.

I assure you that we will use the time to pursue a correction during the one-year extension. We will give this issue priority and consult with members and experts as we evaluate options to deal with this. Any suggestions, comments or questions are welcome. I promise to keep the membership informed as we move along in this effort. Please keep this important effort in your prayers as well.

Comments

JIM MCCREA | 2/4/2012 - 6:28pm
Gail:  it's bad enough that you are nasty, but not being able to spell the President's name tells us more about you than you might want to have revealed.

And use your full name as the rest of us do and as the website manager has requested over and over and over and over and .....
Gail Allen | 2/2/2012 - 5:35pm
When will they learn.. the devil comes in many forms-more often than not under the guise of doing good; but It's like the old joke: "But you promised you wouldn't bite me." "Hey, you knew I was a snake when you picked me up." so all supporter of the GRAND KING OBOMA stop and for once THINK-and be careful what you wish for!
JIM MCCREA | 2/2/2012 - 2:13pm
I will vote to re-elect this President and I am very happy he did what he did.
David Pasinski | 2/2/2012 - 1:58pm
The rhetoric in the episcopal statements will only serve to inflame, not enlighten and some remarks here seem to use that same "here I stand" language and perspective that this is a dramaticaly fateful choice and election- and that Obama has betrayed all. I don't see it that way.

Any candidate must deal with "the art of the possible" and the pressures therein.  Those who may favor the presumptive Republican candidate may have to deal with his "I don't care about the very poor- they have safety net" and somehow justify that to themselves. That is their prerogative also although many of us may find this sentiment- and the policies that mahy result from it- far more appalling. 
Douglas Brougher | 2/2/2012 - 9:49am
Full names please, per our policy. Future comments without full names will be deleted.
Thomas Rooney OFS | 2/2/2012 - 8:29am
"Where will you stand? For life or against life? For the Lord or against Him? For freedom of conscience or against it?"

"Catholics are required to have an INFORMED CONSCIENCE.  As a catholic one can not cooperate with the evil of abortion!  How many poorly catechized catholics will put cheap politics above tha taking of human life? 


And thus the election year screeching about whom I am "allowed" to vote for or the opinions am I "allowed" to have and still remain Catholic begins.  I had hoped I'd at least get to spring before my annual flood of amatuer excommunications.

Perhaps the groundhog didn't see his shadow....

pat villaescusa | 2/1/2012 - 8:32pm
Catholics are required to have an INFORMED CONSCIENCE.  As a catholic one can not cooperate with the evil of abortion!  How many poorly catechized catholics will put cheap politics above tha taking of human life?  Good for the courageous bishops and shame on those who will not stand up for the church.
JAMES OLEARY MR | 2/1/2012 - 8:19pm
I will vote for Obama but I am terribly disappointed that he has done this. I have nobody else to vote for and I have no other Church to which I can turn. 
Stanley Ragsdale | 2/1/2012 - 7:24pm
We should always do God's will.  Jesus taught us to pray ''Thy Will be done'' The HHS policy attempts to force Catholics to do Caesar's(Obama's) will rather than God's.  As a practicing Catholic, I must say that I am in favor of NO compromise.  Continue to do God's will and endure the consequences from Caesar.  Not allowing a Catholic or other person of faith to exercise the demands of their conscience with respect to abortion or other issues is a violation not only of the protection clause with respect to religion in our Constitution, but more importantly a violation of the inalienable right to act or decline to act in accordance with the will of one's Creator.  As for me and my family, we, like Joshua, shall follow the Lord.
Eugene Firn | 2/1/2012 - 6:59pm
Let it come. Let the persecution come. It demands we take a stand when for too long
we have been no different than the secular elites. Where will you stand? For life or against life? For the Lord or against Him? For freedom of conscience or against it? Notre Dame's rhetoric rings hollow. He is revealed and even if he gives in, we know his true intentions.  He has an agenda: pro abortion, pro contaception, pro gay life-tyle- and it ain'! the Lord's and should not be ours. Let it come and take a stand.
Margot Hird | 2/1/2012 - 3:48pm
With all due respect, Sr. Keehan, you've been DUPED.  And the sooner you and others recognize this the sooner the march of destruction this administration is on can be stopped.  Hopefully it's not too late already.
David Pasinski | 2/1/2012 - 2:57pm
Sr. Keehan's remarks are temperate and she has a good track record without the bombast that the episcopal statements have and with an appreciation of the true role of Catholic hospitals. Perhaps there will b e some acceptable compromise and further exploration of the Hawaii model or the Madison experience may prove fruitful.  While I believe that the HHS carve-out for institutions that are directly involved with a faith community makes sense, it is possible that attitudes and perspectives like hers will make some adjustments possible.  However, for reeasons proclaimed all over the blogs, I do not think this is a violation of the First Amendment nor out of the scope of other practices throughout the world.  
Thomas Rooney OFS | 2/1/2012 - 8:51am
I appreciate Sr. Keehan's comments, which demonstrates this is not simply another issue conservatives are using for political ammunition in an election year.  Sr.  Keehan championed the President's healthcare plan...loudly...while it was being debated in Congress.  The President touted her support during said debate.

He ought to listen to her now.
ed gleason | 1/31/2012 - 6:54pm
Keystone pipeline is in finesse and so will the HHS ruling.. Dems know what the word  compromise means..
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