The USCCB’s Response to VP Biden’s HHS Mandate Claims

USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate


October 12, 2012

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”:

Keywords: vice presidential debate, HHS mandate, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, insurance plans, Catholic hospitals, charities, social services, sterilization, contraception, religious liberty, USCCB

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Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206
Filed under: American Liberties, Catholic, Church Laws, Social Commentary

On Meeting the Cardinal

This past week Joshua and I were in Oakland, California for a Vocation Directors convention. It was a great time, many many laughs, lots of learning, and tons of fun. I am sure that it will take weeks for me to process all of the things I learned or did during our six days there. I will share one of them with you now though:

On Monday, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, from Washington DC was the Keynote Speaker (and just wait until I get some of the quotes from that down for you, your socks will be knocked off).  Joshua and I were standing near the booth for his company before the address was to start. Most of the priests and participants had made it down to the room where the address would be, so it was pretty empty in the lobby area. Joshua tapped my shoulder and said “Here’s your chance” and pointed behind me.

Turning around, I discovered Cardinal Wuerl standing behind me, waiting to say hello. As only I could do, I said “Cardinal” with surprise. I then recovered and knelt to kiss his ring. Then he addressed me by name. How did he know my name??? Does he read by blog?!! Well, no, I had a name tag on.

He was a very gracious man and very friendly, not at all bothered by my faux pas, but then again, I am sure that he gets all sorts of reactions when people meet him. I will leave you with a quote from his talk, a talk that had me in tears, because of its beauty.


There is only one interrupted Tradition stretching back all the way to the Apostles which gives assurance to our words.

Filed under: Catholic, Church Laws

Selective Catholicism

Earlier today I witnessed what I would describe as a horrible display of understanding of Church teaching I have ever seen and from “solid” Catholics. My heart is so heavy over this and while not despairing, I am close and clinging to Christ Crucified right now.

We often hear of the tern “cafeteria Catholic” and it is used to describe those Catholics who dissent from the teachings of Holy Mother Church on issues of birth control, abortion, and other various sex.ual issues.  Can’t we say that about Catholics who reject the Catechism and teachings of our Magisterium about just war and torture, along with the teaching on Subsidiarity?

Where is the line? The Just War Doctrine and teachings on torture are pretty cut and dry, as are the teachings on abortion and ho.mosexua.lity. So, how is it that people can decide that Just War and torture are open to “interpretation” and “debate”?

I said to my husband, if Just War and torture are up for debate, then why can’t using a non-abortifacient birth control be on the table too? It seems to me that if I leave one clear teaching open for debate then the rest become debatable too.

I have read more this election cycle on Catholic Church teaching than I have read in years. I have read the Catechism, I have combed through encyclicals, I have read the recent writings of the current Holy Father. Nothing I have read shows that there is a gray area, so I am wondering where does this idea come from?

I’d really like to have a serious debate about this but I get shut down and told I am judging the hearts of men when I don’t know what he is confessing. I am being defriended by people I have known for years, I have been told I am going to hell, I am being called the devil and worse, but I am not getting answers to these questions.


Filed under: Catholic, Church Laws, Social Commentary

Just War Doctrine

Catholic Church Teaching on Just War Doctrine:



2302 By recalling the commandment, “You shall not kill,” [Mt. 5:21] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, ST II-II q158, a1 ad3] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.” [Mt. 5:22]

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the  neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.  “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” [Mt. 5:44-45]

2304 Respect for and development of human life require peace.  Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is “the tranquility of order.” [St. Augustine, City of God 19, 13,1]  Peace is the work of justice  and the effect of charity. [Cf. Is. 32:17; cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes #78, 1-2]

2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic “Prince of Peace.” [Is. 9:5] By the blood of his Cross, “in his own person he killed the hostility,” [Eph. 2:16; cf. Col. 1:20-22] he reconciled men with God  and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. “He is our peace.” [Eph. 2:14] He has declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” [Mt. 5:9]

2306 Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear witness to evangelical charity,  provided they do so without harming the rights and obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 78, 5]

Avoiding war

2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 81, 4] All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, “as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed.” [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
 – the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
 – all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
 – there must be serious prospects of success;
 – the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.
These are the traditional elements lasting, grave, and certain; enumerated in what is called the “just war” doctrine. The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgement of those who have responsibility for the common good.

2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.

Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed  forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they  carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.[Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 5]

2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way. [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 3] 2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties.” [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.

Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally  bound to resist orders that command genocide.

2314Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.” [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 80, 3]A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons – especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to commit such crimes.

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; [Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio 53] it thwarts the development of peoples. Over- armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common  good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy,  distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these  disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war:

Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 78, 6; cf. Is. 2:4]

About Iran and nuclear weapons:

They’ve been at war with us since 1979. The IEDs that have killed so many soldiers, they are manufactured in Iran. Iran is not any other country. It is a country that is ruled by the equivalent of al Qaida on top of this country. They are a radical theocracy. The principle virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran according to President Ahmadinejad is not freedom or opportunity, it’s martyrdom. The idea, Ron, that mutual-assured destruction, like the policy during the cold war with the Soviet Union, would work on Iran when their principle virtue is martyrdom, mutual-assured destruction with respect to Iran would not be any kind of idea of preventing a war, it would be an inducement to war. This is what their objective is, their objective is to in fact to create a calamity. This is what their theology teaches. They believe that it is their mission to take on the West. They don’t hate us because [of] what we do or the policies we have; they hate us because of who we are and what we believe in. And we need to make sure that they do not have a nuclear weapon, and we need to be working with the state of Israel right now. We need to use covert activities. And we need to plan a strike against their facilities and say to them that if you do not open up those facilities and close them down, we will close them down for you. ~ Rick Santorum F.ox News Debate Souix City Iowa 15 December 2011


RON PAUL: I am running with the American people because I have a much better policy.  There are a lot of people at the UN who say that Iran will not have a weapon. It is no different than 2003.  There are war propagandas going on and it’s another Iraq.  We are going to overreact and bomb Iran. The head of Israeli security says it would make no sense to take Iran out because they might be having a weapon. There is no evidence that they have a bomb.  If we lived through the cold war we need to sit back and think and not jump the gun. That’s how we got involved in the useless war in Iraq and lost so much.  All we are doing is promoting their desire to have one.  They are surrounded for geopolitical reasons and they have a desire to get a lot more respect.  Look what we did to Libya. We talked them out of nuclear weapons and then we killed them.  We have to get things in a proper context and we don’t need another war.

CAVUTO: Iran is talking of closing Strait of Hormuz.

RON PAUL:  All we talk about is when the West is going to bomb Iran. So they are saying that if we bomb them we will close the Strait. It would be an economic calamity to take all the oil out of Europe. We need to approach this differently. We need to use a little diplomacy once in a while.  F.ox News Debate Souix City Iowa 15 December 2011

Just War Doctrine retrieved from EWTN.
Special thanks to Hillbuzz for the transcript of the Souix City Debate 15 December 2011

F.ox News Debate Souix City Iowa 16 December 2012

Filed under: American Liberties, Church Laws

Bad Mass = Weak Faith

No, this isn’t just my opinion (though it has been for years), this is also the opinion of Adam Cardinal Burke, head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court. He was speaking at the launch of a book written by Father Nicola Bux. Below I have pasted a copy of the article for your viewing:

Cardinal Raymond Burke: ‘Liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics.’

by CINDY WOODEN (CNS) 03/03/2011ROME (CNS) — A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass in many parts of the world can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don’t follow Church rules, said two Vatican officials and a consultant.

“If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith,” said U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s Supreme Court.  Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke March 2 at a book launch in Rome.

The book, published only in Italian, was written by Father Nicola Bux, who serves as a consultant to the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Saints’ Causes and to the office in charge of papal liturgies.

The English translation of Father Bux’s book title would be: How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith.

Cardinal Burke told those gathered for the book presentation that he agreed with Father Bux: that “liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics.”

Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are “serious abuses.”

Cardinal Canizares said that while the book’s title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares: “Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly” and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the Church’s norms.

“This is true whether one is speaking of the ordinary or extraordinary form of the one Roman rite,” the cardinal said, referring to Masses in the form established after the Second Vatican Council as well as the Mass often referred to as the Tridentine rite.

Cardinal Canizares said that at a time when so many people are living as if God did not exist, they need a true Eucharistic celebration to remind them that only God is to be adored and that true meaning in human life comes only from the fact that Jesus gave his life to save the world.

Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together, when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does: “If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest.”

Filed under: Church Laws

On “Planning” Children**

I am not sure if you all have picked up that we are what some call “providentialists” when it comes to planning our family. That means, we do not, but God does. We do not do anything to avoid pregnancy, but we do not go out of our way to make as many babies as possible either. There has to be a lot of trust in God that He will not give us more than we can handle, but to also know that He will give us the graces, if we accept them, to handle all that he gives us.

This is a lot easier said than done sometimes. As I read in another blog a few weeks back, it is easy to be open to life during the day time, but in the middle of the night it is a pretty scary thought. Yes, I have doubts sometimes, I wonder “What will people say? Will we be able to support another child? Will I be able to endure another first trimester with four little ones? Can I handle another labor?” The answers to those are: “Who cares? Of Course! Yes! Yes!” However, I look outside and see the sun shining and my kids are getting along well. If I were posting this in the middle of the night or they were fighting, I would begrudgingly give the same answers.

It is in those dark times that I seek out wise women who have been in our place and saints who have addressed motherhood but most of all, God because without Him, I am nothing.

With all that being said, I have put together a few links and quotes for my reference and, if you like, yours also. (I have to thank my friend Suzanne for posting a few of these links and inspiring me to write this post.)

“That special power of loving that belongs to a woman is seen most clearly when she becomes a mother…Yet we can destroy this gift of motherhood, especially by the evil of abortion, but also by thinking that other things like jobs or positions are more important than loving, than giving oneself to others. No job, no plans, no possessions, no idea of “freedom” can take the place of love.” ~ Mother Theresa

Five Things That Are Worse Than Being in Debt

The Poverty of Inconvenience

St. Josemaria Escriva

**Yes, I realize this post has the tone that an announcement may soon be made about the expansion of our family, no such announcement is forthcoming as of yet**

Filed under: Church Laws, Quotes, Social Commentary

Fast Much?

From this website comes the gem below.

Thursday, November 25th          Mass on the Grass
Happy Thanksgiving!  Plan to attend this Mass and experience the calm and tranquility before madness begins.  If you have never attended, you must plan to do so this year.  Bring a chair or blanket and a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy the morning sun, the racing squirrels and the Liturgy of the Word among the oak trees and fresh air.  All are welcome.

I certainly, certainly, certainly hope that this is  just full of typos and they aren’t actually suggesting that I bring my coffee to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! If so, and if someone from that parish reads this, you might want to pass along this information:

Canon 919
1. One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.
2. A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day may take something before the second or third celebration even if the period of one hour does not intervene.
3. Those who are advanced in age or who suffer from any infirmity, as well as those who take care of them, can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have taken something during the previous hour.


Filed under: Church Laws, Social Commentary