Obama and the Bishops

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has had a rough time of it lately, and I won’t say they don’t deserve it.  Barack Obama is their President, after all, when it comes to most political issues; for example, immigration and immigrants’ rights, tax policy, economic inequality, “social justice,” peaceful internationalism, and national healthcare.  The exception, of course, is a subset of the last of these: a woman’s “reproductive right” to contraception and abortion, both endorsed by checks written on the taxpayer’s account.  One reads that, despite their approval of much of what President Obama has done, or tried to do, during his three years in office, Their Graces were hardly caught off guard by the President’s recent healthcare mandate.  They had, indeed, expected the administration’s decision to force religious institutions other than churches and parishes to pay for insurance policies covering contraceptives and abortifacients on their employees’ behalf, and were busy making plans for a political response when the directive came down from on high via a telephone call placed by the President to Archbishop Timothy (now Timothy Cardinal) Dolan of New York, whom he had only lately sought to reassure on the issue.  A sad tale of allies betrayed, one might conclude.  Still, the bishops were hoist with their...

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