Abp. Jose H. Gomez rips into the HSS contraception mandate

"It is hard not to see this new mandate as a direct attack on Catholic consciences and the freedom of our Catholic institutions…"

From Archbishop Gomez’s most recent column in The Tidings, titled, “A Time for Catholic Action and Catholic Voices”:

It is hard not to see this new mandate as a direct attack on Catholic consciences and the freedom of our Catholic institutions.
The mandate does not promote any civil liberties and it does not advance any significant public health goals.

The government justifies the mandate by arguing that employers who do not provide these services are discriminating against women. But access to free contraception has never been a basic human right. And there is no evidence that birth control has any effect on women’s health; pregnancy is not a disease for which “preventive medicine” is required.

The Health Department justifies denying exemptions to Catholic charities, hospitals and colleges because it says they are not really “religious” institutions.

This may be the most troubling part of this new mandate.

Because in effect, the government is presuming it has the competence and authority to define what religious faith is and how believers should express their faith commitments and relationship to God in society. These are powers our government has never before assumed itself to have.

In this case, the government is imposing a narrow, radically individualistic idea of religion — defining religion as only worship and moral teaching. As many have noted, under this definition, much of what Jesus Christ did would not qualify as a “religious” ministry.

The fact is that everything the Church does is “religious.” All our ministries and institutions are motivated by our love for God and our mission to the spread the Gospel. We don’t do these things because we are social workers or philanthropists. We do them because we are disciples. 

And, he adds, “So it is hard to escape the conclusion that the government is singling out the Church with this new mandate.” No escaping it. And leading the attack are “Catholics” such as Kathleen Sebelius. Bottom line: if you’re willing to support the killing of the unborn, you’re not going to hesitate at throwing the Church under the government bus.

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About Carl E. Olson 1226 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.