Bishop: Obama Said 'To Hell with Catholics!"

Bishop David A. Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburg wrote a response to the recent outrageous HHS mandate. And it's scathing. And perfect. And a must read.

Here it is:

It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it.

In early August, the Department for Health and Human Services in the Obama administration released guidelines as part of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The guidelines mandated that by Summer 2012 all individual and group health insurance plans, including self-insured plans, cover all FDA-approved contraception, sterilization procedures and pharmaceuticals that even result in abortion.

A million things are wrong with this: equating pregnancy with disease; mandating that every employer pay for contraception procedures including alleged contraceptives that are actually abortion-inducing drugs; forcing American citizens to chose between violating their consciences or providing health care services; mandating such coverage on every individual woman without allowing her to even choose not to have it; forcing every person to pay for that coverage no matter the dictates of their conscience.

Let’s be blunt. This whole process of mandating these guidelines undermines the democratic process itself. In this instance, the mandate declares pregnancy a disease, forces a culture of contraception and abortion on society, all while completely bypassing the legislative process.

This is government by fiat that attacks the rights of everyone – not only Catholics; not only people of all religion. At no other time in memory or history has there been such a governmental intrusion on freedom not only with regard to religion, but even across-the-board with all citizens. It forces every employer to subsidize an ideology or pay a penalty while searching for alternatives to heath care coverage. It undermines the whole concept and hope for health care reform by inextricably linking it to the zealotry of pro-abortion bureaucrats.

For our Church this mandate would apply in virtually every instance where the Catholic Church serves as an employer. The mandate would require the Catholic Church as an employer to violate its fundamental beliefs concerning human life and human dignity by forcing Catholic entities to provide contraceptive, sterilization coverage and even pharmaceuticals that result in abortion.

There was a so-called “religious exemption” to the mandate, but it was so narrowly drawn that, as critics charged, Jesus Christ and his Apostles would not fit the exemption. The so-called exemption would only apply to the vast array of Catholic institutions where the following applied:

•Only Catholics are employed;
•The primary purpose of the institution or service provided is the direct instruction in Catholic belief;
•The only persons served by the institution are those that share Catholic religious tenets. (Try to fit this in with our local Catholic Charities that serve 80,000 every year without discrimination according to faith. It would be impossible!)
Practically speaking under the proposed mandate there would be no “religious exemption” for Catholic hospitals universities, colleges, nursing homes and numerous Catholic social service agencies such as Catholic Charities. It could easily be determined that the “religious exemption” would not apply as well to Catholic high schools, elementary schools and Catholic parishes since many employ non-Catholics and serve both students and, through social outreach, many who do not share Catholic religious beliefs. Such a narrow “religious exemption” is simply unprecedented in federal law.

Last September I asked you to protest those guidelines to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, and contact your political leadership in the federal government. I asked that you request that this flawed mandate be withdrawn because of its unprecedented interference in the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of the Catholic community, and our basic democratic process.

You did. And you were joined by Catholics throughout the country (and many others as well) who raised their voices against the mandate, raised their voices against a meaningless religious exemption.

On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration answered you and me. The response was very simple: “To Hell with You.”

Kathleen Sebelius announced that the mandate would not be withdrawn and the religious exemption would not be expanded. Instead, she stated that nonprofit groups – which include the Catholic Church – will get a year “to adapt to this new rule.” She simply dismissed Catholic concerns as standing in the way of allegedly respecting the health concerns and choices of women.

Could Catholics be insulted any more, suggesting that we have no concern for women’s health issues? The Catholic Church and the Catholic people have erected health care facilities that are recognized worldwide for their compassionate care for everyone regardless of their creed, their economic circumstances and, most certainly, their gender. In so many parts of the globe – the United States included – the Church is health care.

Kathleen Sebelius and through her, the Obama administration, have said “To Hell with You” to the Catholic faithful of the United States.

•To Hell with your religious beliefs,
•To Hell with your religious liberty,
•To Hell with your freedom of conscience.
We’ll give you a year, they are saying, and then you have to knuckle under. As Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded, “in effect, the president is saying that we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”

As I wrote to you last September, with this mandate the democratic process is being ignored while we are being ordered to ignore our religious beliefs. And we are being told not only to violate our beliefs, but to pay directly for that violation; to subsidize the imposition of a contraceptive and abortion culture on every person in the United States.

It is time to go back to work. They have given us a year to adapt to this rule. We can’t! We simply cannot!

Write to the president.

Write to Secretary Sebelius.

Write to our Senators.

Write to those in Congress.

HT Diocese of Pittsburgh


  1. Love you guys, but it's Pittsburgh - don't forget the H!

  2. have you seen the letter from Bishop Conley of Denver? Excellent as well!

  3. If you live in PA, send a message to your legislators via the Pennsylvania Catholic Advocacy Network -

  4. Archbishop Schnurr has an nice letter to us in Cincinnati also. Keep 'em coming, I say!

  5. It would be nice if every member of Congress got a catalogue of aborted baby body parts, roses are not working, peaceable assembly is not working. As far as Obamacare overruling the First Amendment conscience clause by determining that citizens do not have or cannot use their conscience...this is called TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Remove the cost of abortion, gay marriage, pornography and illicit vice and there will be more than enough money to care for and feed the stranger.

  6. now the DFW area Bishops have something in the Star Telegram (Ft. Worth paper)...I haven't read it yet, but my friends tell me it is of the same cloth...

  7. TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION... remember that phrase.

  8. @PatO: You are right. The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops, but Bishop Zubik is justly entitled to the Rule of Law since that is what this column is all about, being entitled to our Constitutional civil rights. Bishop Zubik is also entitled to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a life of repentance. PatO: Where were you when all this was transpiring? You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor's life is in jeopardy. Right now, all unborn children's lives are in jeopardy. Don't miss the opportunity.

  9. This is why the child-sex abuse crisis is so insidious. Not only does it maim souls, but it errodes the good authority of the bishop. Now, when he desperately needs to rise to his full authority, he is cut off at the feet by a reminded of deeds past.

    That, friends, is why some of your fellow Catholics screamed so loudly about the crisis while Catholic doubters were blaming the media and the victims and the parents of the victims - anyone but the bishops.

    Good moral authority is a priceless thing. I'm afraid that the bishops have no capital to spend anymore in their time of greatest need.

  10. Here is Bishop Jenky's response:

  11. Here is Bishop Loverde of the Arlington Diocese's response. Thank God the Bishops are speaking out against this.

  12. The last time I went on a letter writing campaign it was against the bailouts. It does no good. This was going to happen, Obamas a commie and humans are animals to be managed to him and his regime. The only one who will stop this tyranny is Ron Paul. I guarantee the other GOP candidates are going to allow it to stand and add to it. That is how this dialectic works.

  13. Wow, PatO,

    so you're saying that because a bad man did a bad thing, the catholic church should pack-up shop and we should allow people to kill at will. After all, someone with a clerical collar told a lie, so everything out of their mouth is a lie, right.

    I'ld sure hate to live in your world. Who do you believe? politicians? no some of them lied, doctors? oh, no lying there. Teachers? yeah, all truthful. Well, have fun in your utopia of one!

    By the way, what is that rule that when ever the church makes a moral statement some troll will invariably bring up the sex scandal. Congrats on being the first this time!! Great original thinking there

  14. Just 2 words: Humanae Vitae. When the priests, bishops, and theologians rebelled against the Pope on contraception, it started the avalanche that has destroyed the credibility of the bishops of the US. They have put their money on supporting illegal immigration, promoting hippy-dippy Masses, and dissent for so long that no one listens to them anymore. The liberals don't listen because they are "part of the establishment" and use the sex scandals as an excuse to be able to justify any of their own moral sin, and the orthodox don't listen because they have not followed the Pope and the Catechism so many times in the past. I fear it is too late for them to have much of a say in our current political issues.

    I hate Obamacare and its stripping of our freedoms as much as anyone, but who really believes that even if all the bishops protest in front of Congress that one "Catholic INO" politician will listen?

  15. Dolan needs to respond to Sebelius directly and inform her in no uncertain terms that she simply does not have the authority to interfere with the free exercise of the Catholic faith and for this reason, the mission of the church will continue, as always,to follow US law but cannot in good faith participate in any way with the contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization requirements in this particular law which unfortunately attempts to reach into the realm of the mission and exercise of our spiritual faith.

    He should also inform her that the mission of the church will remain unchanged and that no fines will be paid if the church is deemed non-compliant and all directors are fully prepared to be jailed if the administration decides to use its temporal power in such a manner.

    Nolan should also inform all Catholic instutitions to prepare immediately to live without any federal funds, which is a good thing because the feds are bankrupt anyway.

  16. amom: Federal funds are public funds that belong to each and every taxpayer as they are administered by the government. Public money must be equally distributed. Being a Catholic does not erase citizenship. Public money must be given to all citizens equally without discrimination because of belief, sex, race, age.

  17. If the Bishops & Priests are serious they'll preach against voting for Obama this election cycle. In the 2008 election Obama got the full support of my Parish Priest from the pulpit.

    "It is really hard to believe that it happened." Sorry dear Bishop - it isn't really hard to believe this is happening. The sex scandal isn't the only event that has eroded my trust in their authority.

  18. Mary
    I agree with you personally, but this is obviously not about what is right or fair. This is about power. The Federal Government has the power to threaten to and to actually withhold funds from organizations that do not comply with regulations. They will do this before using their power to fine or jail.

    My point is that the administration has taken their position. We should expect them to stand by their decision and react appropriately. If Dolan had a spine, he would refuse funds startiong immediately. He has to prepare to take them on and take the moral high ground.

    It would be better for everyone if every Catholic institution prepares to live without Federal funds immediately than for the money to suddenly dissappear unexpectly.


  20. Folks, let's hope we can reverse this, but I'm gonna point the finger at all Catholics and Christians who were foolish enough to vote for obama in the first place. He was clearly a socialist, and anyone with a lick of sense knew that, but apparently "lick of sense" isn't as common as I / we think. Writing this idiots is a good use of idle time, the answer is that Catholics and Christians need to talk about this from the holy pulpit. Vote him out, repeal obamacare and start over. I'm all ears for a better idea.


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