Did the Military Archdiocese Cave to the Obama Administration?

Military Archbishop Timothy Broglio

Via Michael Brendan Dougherty at Business Insider, I read that many Catholic Army chaplains ignored the Secretary of the Army’s directive to not read a pastoral letter at Mass that vowed civil disobedience against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. In addition, Dougherty reports that the Military Archdiocese sent a letter to Catholic chaplains (see below) to talk with its lawyer if they receive any more interference from the feds.

The Archdiocese believes that any attempt to keep a chaplain from freely teaching and preaching the Catholic faith, for which you were endorsed, is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. If any of you are in any way punished or slated for punitive action, I ask that you kindly call our Archdiocesan Attorney, John L. Schlageter, Esq. at 202-719-3635 and he will immediately place you into contact with a Religious Freedom Law Firm that will be most willing to take your case free of charge.

Over at National Review, Kathryn suggested the Military Archdiocese acquiesced to the Obama administration, as Archbishop Broglio agreed to remove a vow of civil disobedience in one version of the letter at the request of the Secretary of the Army.

But, it seems to me, the archdiocese did not knuckle under. Many of its chaplains read the Archbishop’s unexpurgated pastoral letter at Mass, while the others read the expurgated or more civil version. Then, the Archbishop warned its priests to not back down from the Church’s teachings, presumably on contraception, sterilization, and abortions.

What the Archdiocese did, to the extent its efforts were coordinated, was attempt to walk a fine line. It could not advocate civil disobedience against the executive branch’s mandate. Going that route would invite charges of sedition. Yet staying silent about the mandate was unacceptable too. It would be accused of ignoring Church doctrine.

Did the Military Archdiocese balance those interests? To this layman, it did. Your thoughts in the comboxes are appreciated.



  • Kevin J.

    Does this incident show that if the U.S. ever launches an obviously unjust war, the Military Archdiocese will be completely unable to stop it or hinder it?



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