Division between Cardinal George and Cardinal Dolan about Strategy on Birth Control

Divisions between Cardinal George and Cardinal Dolan

There are 7 Catholic organizations and 43 Catholic Dioceses that have filed a law suit on Monday against the federal government mandate requiring employers to include birth control in their health care plans

Catholic leaders contend that President Barack Obama’s-endorsed health care initiative requires employers to include coverage in their health benefit plans for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and artificial contraception, “all of which violate the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person.

While individual State Catholic Conferences took the issue to court, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has not involved themselves in this strategy asa  national Catholic Conference. There appears to be a difference within the Conference on how best to approach this topic without getting involved in partisan politics. Currently 13 Dioceses out of 200 Catholic Dioceses are involved in this partisan political strategy of aligning with the GOP by taking a coordinated court approach which is sure to generate a lot of media coverage.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago while supporting the efforts of those state conferences has not allowed the Illinois State Conference to get involved. Two dioceses in Illinois Springfield, and Joliet, however have decided to side with Cardinal Timothy Dolan and against Cardinal George’s approach to steer away from patrician politics.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress, and we’ll keep at it, but there’s still no fix,” in explaining why Catholic institutions have resorted to the courts.

Cardinal Dolan has yet to explain what has our federal government done to impede the religious rights and intrude on religious freedoms? He can’t see through the mist of dogma.

Erin Shields, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department, said Monday the agency does not comment on pending litigation. The liberal advocacy group Catholics United accused the bishops of serving a “right-wing political agenda.”

The differences in approach highlights I think a division in US Conference of Catholic Bishops on strategy. Cardinal Dolan promotes the idea of victimization by the government of the Church; Cardinal George on the other hand promotes the idea of religious freedom. While the Rainbow Sash Movement disagrees with both of these approaches it would seem that Cardinal George is attempting to be reasonable in promoting his idea, while Cardinal Dolan foams at the mouth.

Besides Illinois, the lawsuits have been filed in seven states and the District of Columbia by the archdioceses of Washington and New York, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities in Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana, health care agencies in New York and two dioceses in Texas.

In any case, the horse has left the barn. If the Supreme Court found for the government against Amish paying social security and unemployment taxes the court will have no other recourse than to support the government’s current position on the birth control issue as far as Roman Catholic Hospitals, Universities and Charitable organizations are concerned, despite their religious belief.

Clearly there appears to division among Roman Catholic Bishops on what the best strategy should be. Now that the issue is in hands of the court only time will tell.

Ann Heart
Rainbow Sash Movement

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