The Consequences of the HHS Mandates

Over at Public Discourse I have a piece on the consequences for religious liberty if the HHS mandates are allowed to stand.

I disucss the possibility that the mandates could provoke a schism in the American Catholic Church.  After all, under the pressure of the fines to be imposed on those who don’t play ball, some Catholic institutions might choose to go along, thus putting themselves in public opposition to the bishops.  I also discuss the ways in which the mandates would reduce faithful Catholics to second-class citizenship.  They will have to pay a price to enter the public square: either surrender their own principles, or pay the fines imposed for adhering to them.

I conclude by asking what has become of American liberalism’s supposed commitment to pluralism, and whether the America of the mandates would be recognizable to anyone as the free country we used to cherish.



  • abadilla

    The only thing I know is that we already have a schism in the Catholic church in this country. You see this schism here constantly, between those of us who respect the teachings of our Church and the bishops and the Pope, and those who simply don’t. If an official schism were to happen, at least we would know who is a faithful Catholic and who is not. As it is, when bishops like George or Paprocki or Cordileone, or José of Los Angeles, or Finn, or Chaput, speak in union with the Holy Father, there are Catholics who are so hostile to their words and to the Pope, I don’t see how they can consider members of the Church, I really don’t. On top of that, we have newspapers with the label “Catholic” like the National Catholic Reporter and that in itself, is a scandal in the ranks of Catholicism.

    • Paulspr

      We also have people that don’t respect differing views and beliefs of other faithful Catholics. The HHS “mandate” requires employers to do absolutely nothing. It does allow freedom for employees to determine their own healthcare. That’s a different viewpoint that doesn’t require that you disrespect those that hold that view and call them names in an attempt to demonize them.

      • abadilla

        Paulspr, it isn’t a matter of “demonizing” as it is to acknowledge that some are faithful to Church teaching and some are not. I can’t judge what’s in your heart, only God can do that, but I can definitely judge what you write and everything you have ever said on the pages of CV is contrary to the Catholic faith and, in that sense, you resemble the “National Catholic Reporter” which does nothing else but to dissent from Church teaching. Here you just provided another example of going against the Church,
        “The HHS “mandate” requires employers to do absolutely nothing. It does allow freedom for employees to determine their own healthcare.”
        That is not just a different point of view, it is patently false to say employers will not have to pay for contraceptives and abortion even though they are Catholic institutions that do not believe at all that is part of healthcare. Stopping a couple from pro-creating which is one of the ends of marriage, and the destruction of the unborn, are not parts of healthcare, and if a woman feels the need to butcher her child or get contraceptives, whether Catholic or not, she can do so outside those institutions that stand for life. When 300 bishops tell us the HH Mandate is a violation of our religious freedom, when other religious bodies join us in fighting the HH Mandate, it is indefensible that you as a Catholic contradict the bishops and the Church, yet when you insist in doing so and I point it out, you think I’m demonizing you.

        • Marvin Derks

          If you spoke with women who have had abortions you would find out that they did not hate the fetus within them. They made a poor decision that led to an unwanted pregnancy.

          • abadilla

            You are writing to a pro-life activist who with his wife has saved babies by convincing ignorant women not to butcher their children. Society has sold them the idea that an abortion is just a “medical procedure,” you know, the medical procedure Paul calls “health care,” and that the fetus is nothing more than a bundle of tissue. Precisely because of that type of thinking they have bought into, they believe having an abortion is not as serious a crime as it is. We have convinced several women not to go through with the “procedure” and thanks be to God today there are some children who are even grown up people walking around because we cared enough to make a difference.
            Marvin, on this issue you can talk or write till you are blue in the face, but the reality I have seen with my wife and other pro-lifers, you would not begin to comprehend till you understand a fetus is a baby developing in the womb of her mother.

          • Marvin Derks

            Thank you for your reply. However, you didn’t respond to the point in my post which was related to a point that you made previously.

          • abadilla

            Are you touching upon the issue of who hates the unborn? If that is the case, yes, most hate the unborn and that’s why when they say they are pro-choice, they think of a human being a a bundle of tissue they can get rid of, but, unfortunately many think it is a baby and they could care less, personal convenience comes first. The women I have convinced not to kill their children together with my wife, have been women that have bought the propaganda that they are just going through a medical procedure. We have convinced them that it is not a medical procedure but the death of a baby and they don’t want to have that in their consciences. Also, care is provided through several Catholic agencies so they can have their children.
            What should I call people on this very website who constantly defend the so-called right of a woman to butcher her unborn child, lovers of children?
            In front of abortion clinics, we have witnessed the eyes of hatred for pro-lifers, we have heard their insults, and occassionally have received “objects” thrown at our faces simply because we want to help a woman not kill her child. Can I put such actions into the category of lovers of children?

          • Marvin Derks

            I can assure you that the reason people are pro-choice advocates is not because they hate fetuses. Pro-choice advocates believe that a woman has the right to determine when and if she will bring a child into the world. I don’t expect you to understand why that right surpasses any right you believe a fetus has. It would be great, however, if you stopped believing that pro-choice advocates hate fetuses. We don’t.

        • Marvin Derks

          When anyone or any group states that it’s a sin or a “bad act” to question authority, and then chastise anyone for doing so, beware. They are using a tactic that has, at its roots, authority that doesn’t exist. If they imply that God doesn’t want us to question authority, beware again. God gave us inquisitive minds and natural curiosity so that we would question everything in order to learn and in order to form our own opinions and understand who we are as individuals and as a human race.

          • abadilla

            Let me make it utterly clear to you concerning the difference between “questioning” authority and being openly “disrespectful” of authority. First of all, in order to question authority, one must know what one is questioning. I doubt the person who accused Monsignor Mangan of “slander” knows that he was not “questioning,” he was insulting. Those of us who are old enough to have gone through the 60s and 70s know full well that what Monsignor wrote is accurate, because our churches were filled, our seminaries were filled, our schools were filled, there were long line for Confession, etc, etc. and because Monsignor, at that moment, could not provide a source, that did not mean he was “slandering” anyone.

            Also, a good Catholic does not insult a member of the hierarchy even when he or she knows that member of the hierarchy is wrong. It’s called “deference” for our deacons, priests, bishops, and the Pope and we also have a sense of deference toward our Sisters and Brothers in the religious life. At work sometimes I’m dead wrong, but I am treated with “deference” precisely because I’m an old teacher with almost thirty years of experience behind me. That does not mean all my colleagues agree with me. It simply means people are deferential because of my age.

            If you knew Catholicism from the inside, I would not have to explain this to you. A few weeks ago someone posted on the Pope and immediately several people attacked the figure of the Pope. You can call those Catholics, if indeed they are Catholics, “cool” and “questioning” of authority, I call them Catholic in name only.

            You stated that God gave us inquisitive minds and natural curiosity and indeed He did. Some of the best examples of such inquisitiveness and curiosity are St. Anselm, St. Augustine, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, Saint Edith Stein, but they were never “disrespectful” of the authority of the Pope and of the Church. Faithful Catholics do follow the model.

  • Ben Anderson

    But Carson, aren’t very similar policies in place at the state level? It is my understanding that NYS forces employers to buy insurance policies covering some of these very same contraceptives. I’m not sure if “religious institutions” are forced to comply (I kind of think they are)… I’m pretty sure non-religious business are forced to comply and do so within Catholic moral grounds – see Dr. Janet Smith’s article. I’m not in any way suggesting this battle shouldn’t be fought, but to suggest schism if one doesn’t comply seems somewhat ignorant of what’s already transpired in the 3 states mentioned here:

    Maybe I’m missing something?

    • Joe M

      Are you suggesting that because similar schisms have happened on a smaller scale that larger scale versions of the same thing don’t count?

      I don’t see how being concerned about the possibility of a federal mandate resulting in schism suggests ignorance of any other schisms.

      • Paulspr

        I think he is pointing out the hypocrisy of the situation. The bishops never objected to the HHS mandate as they happily complied with similar laws elsewhere. Just last week lawyers for a Catholic Hospital fully embraced the law and claimed in court that a fetus is not a person.

        They Bishops were simply trying to use this as a wedge issue in order to hurt Obama in the election. It backfired on them of course, as mean spirited political stunts always do.

        I’m actually surprised to see CV continuing on this crusade. Notice that the Bishops haven’t made a noise about this since the election?

        • Joe M

          I see. This is that weird position I’ve seen some liberals take lately where they criticize individuals for going along with policies that liberals support.

          Doesn’t that make you the hypocrite in this debate?

          • Paulspr

            Nope. I’m personally very glad that the bishops have seen the light. The affordable healthcare act provides important protections for working class people that will help them afford healthcare.

            The cries of religious persecution always looked stupid since you were fighting to deny workers their freedom and force them to live based on their employers religious beliefs instead.

            I’m actually a conservative. A real one that wants government out of people’s business.

          • abadilla

            “Nope. I’m personally very glad that the bishops have seen the light.”

            Have the bishops and the Archbishop of New York said something about this matter I missed and that somehow you see as “seeing the light?”

            “I’m actually a conservative.”
            If you are a conservative, I no longer know what conservatism looks like.

          • Joe M

            The Bishops have spoken out on the mandate since the election:

            Your argument that fighting the HHS mandate is contrary to freedom doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Some people choose to use ketchup on their food. Others don’t. Nobody claims that people aren’t free because companies aren’t mandated to provide ketchup coverage for those who want it. Likewise, people are already free to buy contraception if they want it. A mandate isn’t required for people to achieve contraception freedom.

            Isn’t it kind of ridiculous to argue that a literal mandate is an instance of expanding freedom? The idea contradicts the very definition of the word.

            You’re a conservative that doesn’t want government in people’s business, except for some of their most personal business: health care. Good one Paulspr. I’m sorry. But, I don’t buy that you are either conservative or Catholic. I think it has been a masquerade to try and serve your political agenda.

          • abadilla


            “But, I don’t buy that you are either conservative or Catholic.”
            Now he is going to claim you are demonizing him.

          • Joe M

            He may. Though, we’ve all seen the contradictory statements he has made on these issues. It’s not demonization to refer to the facts in an effort to reach a more honest conversation.

          • abadilla

            Well, accusing someone of wanting to “demonized” is another tactic to try to shut up a person who is simply describing the facts as he sees them.



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