Cardinal Timothy Dolan sent a letter to his brother bishops earlier this week where he revealed a shocking conversation that recently took place at a meeting between White House and USCCB staff:
At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for “working out the wrinkles.” Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America. The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers
1. This meeting was prompted because the White House decided to curtail and violate the religious freedom of the Catholic Church and individual Catholics.
2. The White House refused to consult with Catholic bishops while originally formulating and issuing this mandate. President Obama misled Cardinal Dolan when he promised the Cardinal he would be happy with the White House’s final decision.
3. The White House has continually lied about and misrepresented the opinion and position of the U.S. Bishops in this process (claiming, for instance, that they were always against Obamacare and that Catholic Charities USA supported their false accomodation). They have continued to act in bad faith.
4. The White House has also chosen to ally itself with liberal, left-wing Catholic dissenters like Sr. Carol Keehan throughout this process, thereby snubbing the U.S. Bishops and all faithful Catholics.
(Are you still there? Because now it gets really good….)
5. After all of this, when the White House finally gets around to inviting staff authorized by the USCCB to negotiate on behalf of them, the White House says what to them?! First, they issue an ultimatum saying all compromise is off the table. So what on earth are they supposed to talk about if the White House refuses from the outset to compromise in any way, shape, or form? The cynical answer is the White House, once again, simply wanted to establish the appearance of dialogue while offering zero substance.
6. Then, the White House proceeds to lecture the USCCB staff about how to interpret Catholic teaching! Can you imagine anything more offensive? Telling Catholics how to be Catholic? They show them a copy of the America editorial as if a) the staff has not already read it and b) the U.S. Bishops give a fig what the editors of America think.
7. Let’s read Cardinal Dolan’s line again:
The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers.
In other words, what we have here is NOT a failure to communicate. What we have here is an Administration and White House officials who believe they know Catholic teaching better than us. And who have the hubris to lecture us about what our faith teaches.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:
As a study in ideology and power, the anecdote [of the White House meeting described above] is chilling, compounded by all the recent claims by Democrats and liberals that Catholics who actually abide by their faith are opposed to modernity. Such prejudice is supposedly defunct in contemporary America, except when it’s practiced against religion.
And not just any religion – Catholic religion.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t take kindly to my elected leaders lecturing me about what my faith teaches. Talk about the height of hypocrisy. Talk about an offense that cries out to the ballot box to be answered definitely.