Cardinal George Pulls No Punches on HHS Mandate

In the current issue of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s newspaper, the Catholic New World, Francis Cardinal George has a must-read column in which he explains how high the stakes are in the fight against the HHS contraception mandate.

Never one to mince words, His Eminence states clearly that if the contraception mandate is not rescinded, there will be no Catholic hospitals left in the U.S. in two years.

Perhaps the most important paragraph of the column is the following:

The strangest accusation in this manipulated public discussion has the bishops not respecting the separation between church and state. The bishops would love to have the separation between church and state we thought we enjoyed just a few months ago, when we were free to run Catholic institutions in conformity with the demands of the Catholic faith, when the government couldn’t tell us which of our ministries are Catholic and which not, when the law protected rather than crushed conscience. The state is making itself into a church. The bishops didn’t begin this dismaying conflict nor choose its timing. We would love to have it ended as quickly as possible. It’s up to the government to stop the attack.

The Cardinal goes on to recommend getting a copy of the 2012 Archdiocesan Directory “as a souvenir”:

On page L-3, there is a complete list of Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in Cook and Lake counties. Each entry represents much sacrifice on the part of medical personnel, administrators and religious sponsors. Each name signifies the love of Christ to people of all classes and races and religions. Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank.

He closes with this sobering outlook:

The observance of Lent reminds us that, in the end, we all stand before Christ and give an accounting of our lives. From that perspective, I ask lay Catholics and others of good will to step back and understand what is happening to our country as the church is despoiled of her institutions and as freedom of conscience and of religion become a memory from a happier past. The suffering being imposed on the church and on society now is not a voluntary penance. We should both work and pray to be delivered from it.

You really must read the whole thing.

Kudos to Cardinal George for having the courage to say what needs to be said!

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