Archbishop Broglio’s letter to military personnel around the world was similar to the Bishops’ letters to the faithful in the US informing them of the unjust contraception mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and proclaiming that we cannot and will not comply. But his letter also contained a hard hitting line tailored especially for the military: “It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle,” He emailed his pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains on January 26, with instructions that it be read at all masses in military chapels on the following Sunday.
Terrence Jeffrey of CNS News reports:
Archbishop Broglio’s letter minced no words in telling Catholics in the Armed Forces that the federal government was not only violating their constitutional rights through the new Obamacare regulation but was also violating the constitutional rights of all Catholics, while harming the freedom of religion generally.
“It is imperative that I call to your attention to an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith,” wrote the archbishop.
“The federal government, which claims to be ‘of, by, and for the people,’ has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people—the Catholic population—and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faith,” wrote the archbishop.
“It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle,” said Archbishop Broglio.
The archbishop made clear that the regulation seeks to force not only Catholic institutions but also individuals, employers and insurers to provide and/or purchase immoral services.
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage the includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception,” said Archbishop Broglio. “Almost all health insurers will be forced to include these immoral ‘services’ in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.”
Archbishop Broglio declared that the Administration’s regulation was an “unjust law” and warned that Catholics would resist it.
“In so ruling,” he wrote, “the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.
“And, as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to choose between violating our consciences or dropping health care coverage for our employees (and suffering the penalties for doing so),” said the archbishop.
“We cannot—and will not—comply with this unjust law,” he wrote.
Full text of the letter, here.
“The Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop’s letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit,” said the archdiocese’s statement. “The Chief’s office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.”
On Saturday, Jan. 28, after the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains issued this directive, Archbishop Broglio spoke with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, a political appointee of President Barack Obama.
Archbishop Broglio’s position was that, in trying to stop Catholic Army chaplains from reading his pastoral letter, the Army was violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and the First Amendment rights of Catholic chaplains and Catholic service members.
“Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants,” said the statement from the archdiocese.
In his Jan. 28 telephone conversation with Army Secretary McHugh, Archbishop Broglio was able to extract from the secretary an admission that it had been wrong for the secretary to try to silence the Catholic chaplains. The archbishop decided that the line in his letter that said Catholics cannot and will not comply with the “unjust law” of the HHS regulation would not be read aloud in Catholic Masses by the chaplains, but that the rest of the letter would.
The line stating “we will not … comply with this unjust law” did remain, however, in the printed letter that was distributed at Masses said by Army chaplains and it remains in the copies of the letter posted on the website of the Archdiocese for the Military.
Vatican Insider reported:
Many political commentators in the USA believe this controversial policy could cost Obama dearly at the next election, unless he reverses it before then.
“The fallout is cataclysmic for the White House and President Obama”, Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist, and David Brooks, a New York Times writer, said on a Public Broadcasting Service program last week.
Brooks recalled that Obama gained 54% of the Catholic vote in the 2008 election, but risks losing much of that support next November because of this policy. He argued that Government should give people with different values the possibilities to operate as they see fit. “A Government that says ‘one size fits all’, and ‘you’ve got to do it our way or not all’, is a Government that insults a lot of people”, he stated.
Obama has stirred up a hornets nest. It remains to be seen how badly he will get stung on election day.
LifeNews: New Mandate May Drive Obama’s Top Catholic Defender Away
Catholic politicos should know of whom we refer:
The new Obamacare mandate the pro-abortion president put in place may be driving away his top Catholic supporter, Douglas Kmiec, the former Malta ambassador who upsets pro-life advocates with his support.
Kmiec has indicated he may not support Obama this time around because of the new mandate, which forces religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and drugs that can cause abortions. It has been condemned by virtually every Catholic bishop in the nation.
Hey Kmiec – does Obama still sound more Catholic than most Catholics you know?
Newsbusters: CNN’s Crowley Brings Up Catholic Uproar; Gov. O’Malley Dismisses Bishops as a Gaggle of Republicans
Donohue Says 70 Million Of His Voters Ready To Alter Presidential Election
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Catholic leaders upped the ante Monday, threatening to challenge the Obama administration over a provision of the new health care law that would require all employers, including religious institutions, to pay for birth control.
“This is going to be fought out with lawsuits, with court decisions, and, dare I say it, maybe even in the streets,” Donohue said.
Hat tip: Weasel Zippers.
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!
Hopefully it will be one of the nails in his political coffin even if he Does reverse it before election day. Are people so foolish they wouldn’t realize he’d just undo his reversal afterwards…..if he should win re-election ?..(God forbid)
Great Post. It is coming to the wires, they are testing the boundaries to see how far they can Go!
Why don’t we see if we can get a Muslim chaplain to read the letter in its entirety? The government wouldn’t dare infringe on their freedom of speech!
Gosh, how long has it been since a government mandated certain lifestyles, ways of thinking, ways of doing business, etc.?
Oh, yeah. It was yesterday, in Syria. And Iran. And most other Islamic countries.
And socialist countries. And the United States.
And before that it was, let’s see, oh yeah again, Nazi Germany.
Seems we have a trend building here, folks. It’s time to either cut bait or fish. That’s why the upcoming election is so important.
Here’s something I’d suggest we tell people of when they say that “the Catholic church should just get with the program”:
“A government that’s powerful enough to abolish religious and conscientious objector exceptions in Obamacare would also be powerful enough to eliminate them for military service as well.”
Did the Catholic Church oppose Obamacare? No. Do Catholic hospitals get favorable tax treatment from the government? Yes. Has the Catholic Church opposed having favorable tax treatment for employers providing health insurance over individuals buying their own? No.
I am sorry, but this stinks to high heaven: Trap people into circumstances where it is expensive or difficult to avoid Catholic control, then demand the people submit to Catholic dogma and complain about Catholic rights being violated if the government interferes.
Anyone who cannot see there is something wrong with that has a big blind spot.
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Anyone who thinks this kind of assault is going to end with the Catholic church is kidding himself. I am very concerned about freedom of religion in the United States.
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