Bishops' Campaign Is?a Teach-In for Faithful
Turner, Douglas, The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)
WASHINGTON ? The problems the Catholic Church and other religious organizations have with President Obama's health insurance regulations may dissolve this week when the Supreme Court is expected to rule on them.
But in the meantime, the Catholic bishops have wisely taken their "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign against aspects of Obamacare indoors, so far.
There appear to be no church-sponsored mass demonstrations, or any big marches on the Washington Mall, in the bishops' plans. This is to undercut charges that the bishops joined with the Republican right to defeat the president in November.
In the Fortnight's opening salvo Thursday night, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, speaking inside his 200-year-old cathedral, criticized "the administration's rules," but he never uttered the words "Obama" or "White House." The bishops' known plans call for Masses, sermons and prayer in-house, except for the single rally on a college campus here, announced Thursday by Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl. The campaign ? planned to be more of a teach-in for the faithful than an outrage in the streets ? ends with a nationally televised Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here on July 4.
One Obama regulation that prompted this angst forces church- related charities, schools, colleges and hospitals to offer its employees insurance covering birth control ranging from condoms to abortion-producing pills.
Politically, this is not a strong suit for the bishops ? as Catholic women and many priests have serenely ignored the church's 1968 teaching against contraception.
Another Obama health care edict, not well understood, was the focus of Lori's remarks. It cuts deeply into the fabric of our history and religion's unique place in American law. The rule gives federal bureaucrats ? not Congress or the people through constitutional amendment ? the power to determine what is, and what is not, a church-related institution. …