Los Angeles archbishop rallies faithful against Obama Administration’s contraceptive mandate

(Editor’s Note: See related story in today’s edition, “Will not receive my vote.”)

By Hillary Senour

Los Angeles (CNA/EWTN News) — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles has urged lay Catholics to defend the faith after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services refused to reverse a contraception mandate set to take effect in August 2013.

“In this case, the government is imposing a narrow, radically individualistic idea of religion,” Archbishop Gomez said in a column published this week in his archdiocesan newspaper, the Tidings.

On Jan. 20, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the administration would not expand a religious exemption for employers who object to its “preventative services” mandate. 

The policy, originally introduced in an August 2011 interim rule, requires health insurance plans to cover contraception – including drugs that cause abortion – and sterilization free of charge.

To qualify for a religious exemption under the policy, religious organizations must employ and serve primarily members of their own faith and must exist for the purpose of teaching religious values.

Many religious organizations objected to the rule, however, saying that they would not qualify because they provide education, health care and other services to people of all religions. But the Obama Administration dismissed their requests, saying that the religious exemption would not be expanded.

“As many have noted,” Archbishop Gomez said, the exemption for religious groups is so narrow that “much of what Jesus Christ did would not qualify as a ‘religious’ ministry.”

Everything the Church does, including healthcare, education and ministry to the poor, is “religious,” he emphasized. “All of our ministries and institutions are motivated by our love for God and our mission to spread the Gospel.”

“We don’t do these things,” he added, “because we are social workers or philanthropists. We do them because we are disciples.”

Archbishop Gomez said that what he finds most disturbing about the recent announcement is the government’s attempt to redefine Catholic charities, hospitals and colleges as non-religious institutions.

The administration is “presuming to have to competence and authority” to define what “religious faith is and how believers should express their faith commitments,” he warned.

“These are powers our government has never before assumed itself to have,” said Archbishop Gomez.

He called on all Catholics, especially the laity, to “step up to their responsibilities for the Church’s mission” and “to be leaders in helping to shape the values and moral foundations of America’s future.”

The archbishop also noted the “prophetic advice” that Pope Benedict gave in his Jan. 19 address to U.S. bishops. The pope told the bishops of “the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity” that has the “courage to counter a reductive secularism” which is determining “the future of American society.”

Archbishop Gomez encouraged Catholics to pray for the nation’s leaders and entrusted his intentions to Mary Immaculate, Patroness of America.



Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:09 AM By JLS
So the bishops are willing to excommunicate a president who is not even Catholic over contraception; however, they won’t excommunicate Catholics over abortion.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:53 AM By Clinton
I really pray that this latest attack on the Church by the Obama administration is what will wake up our clergy to realize Obama is no friend of the Catholic Church. Yes, that means you Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame. It is high time to stand up for our faith and vote out those who are defiant to the Church’s teachings, especially those who claim to be Catholic and are anything but. Are we disciples of Christ or do we wilt and follow the ways of the world?

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:55 AM By Warren Goddard
After Humanae Vitae our bishops coped out on preaching it saying “it’s a matter of conscience” and never preached against contraception nor allowed their priests to do so.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:22 AM By Ted
Another example of totalitarian ideas coming from a man who sees himself as an unaccountable dictator. The bishops, if they want to claim the high ground, better become more active. They need to draw the line and excommunicate politicians who support this kind of policies. But again, do not hold your breath waiting for them to do so.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:50 AM By Harry
Yes, Clinton, the administration’s disrespect for the First Amendment has rudely opened some hitherto closed eyes. Many who are opposed to the Church on several issues are now finding themselves in alliance with us in defending religious freedom. I commend the bishops in taking a (somewhat overdue) brave stand. However, they need to spell out a course of action for all of us to follow. I agree with and applaud Archbishop Gomez for saying the laity should “step up to their responsibilities for the Church’s mission” and “to be leaders in helping to shape the values and moral foundations of America’s future.” However that is much too vague to be of help. The laity should follow the leadership of the bishops and religious. And the bishops should provide them with a plan of action regarding this important issue. Of course, one thing we all can do in the meantime,that the bishops would certainly approve, is write our political leaders and make our views known to them. So I suggest we all do so.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:48 AM By Laurette Elsberry
One of Satan’s long-range goals (if I may put it in human terms) is to take as many Catholics as possible away from the Church. If we acknowledge that the “fruit of the tree of knowledge” is possiby a sin of the flesh, then we may say that sex and its consequent sins, including abortion, sterilization and contraception are sins that Satan is especially “fond” of. Even if Obama may not totally win on the “freedom of conscience” issues, there will, however, still be incredible damage done to those Catholics who will side with Obama’s anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, anti-life tyrannical directives because they lack the faith to stick with the Church. Satan will still be a winner in this particular battle. At the Last Judgement will we hear the names of the bishops and priests who voted for Obama and his pro-abortion death merchants?

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:03 AM By Abeca Christian
Laurette Elsberry I agree

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:09 AM By Fr. Bob B
Hallelujah! Deo gratias! Sia lodato Gesu’ Cristo! Finally our bishops are showing the intestinal fortitude to call the present administration’s attack on conscience for what it is. Read what Cardinal Mahony said—no candidate will receive his vote who supports this unprecedented governmental intrusion into the free exercise of our religion (which is more than the freedom to worship in our church buildings—it is the freedom to practice in the public square our religious convictions, free from governmental penalties). Cardinal-designate Dolan of New York blasted the proposed HHR regulations, and called on Catholics to oppose them. Unless I’m missing something, this means opposing those officials who would foist those regulations upon us. Archbishop Chaput, in an address at Georgetown University, said that “God will hold them accountable” of those who force these regulations down Catholics’ throats and of those in the executive or legislative branches who support abortion and would sabotage even the most reasonable attempts to limit this horrendous evil (opposing, for instance, a ban on partial birth abortion or parental notification before one younger than 18 could abort). Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa stated that those who vote for abortion have cooperated in this evil in such way as to have self-excommunicated themselves, and should refrain from receiving the Eucharist. And on and on. But all is not rosey. Not until we can convince Catholics in the pew to take the bishops’ teaching seriously when voting, because voting is a MORAL act. In homilies in which I did no more than present the bishops’ views, I was greeted by “walk-outs” and accusations of “politics from the pulpit”. The bishops are speaking out, loud and clear. Any suggestions on how to get the Catholics in the pews to listen?

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:29 AM By Fr Bob B
PS to my most recent post here: I forgot to mention the strong opposition to the federal administration’s proposed HHS rule by Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. It was contained in his homily given to participants of the recent March for Life in Washington.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:08 AM By JMJ
to JLS: Where did you get your information seeing how the Church can’t excommunicate anyone that is not Catholic? Of course, we already know that this fraud is not even a Christian, just like the Clintons & Al Gore. You can claim to be something or someone, but the proof is in the pie/cake/pudding, etc.. +JMJ+

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:24 AM By Larry
One of the posters has mentioned Father Jenkins of Notre Dame, who has also objected to the requirements. However, I’d like to warn everyone that I have strong misgivings about the way in which Father Jenkins framed Notre Dame’s reponse, according to a CNA story I read some time ago. I believe the good Father framed his reply in words very close to this: “the requirement would force us either to violate Catholic teaching by providing such coverage, or to violate Catholic teaching by withdrawing medical coverage”–now that’s not an exact quote, but it’s a paraphrase of the story as I recall. It right away set off alarm bells on my panel, because I could see the statement drawing a false and misleading equivalency–a kind of “six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-the-other” attitude between providing the objectionable insurance or cancelling it. But Catholic teaching only says that societies must make health care available to all–it does NOT say that employers absolutely must provide insurance coverage for all employees. I began to suspect–and I still do–that in the privacy of their boardrooms, Notre Dame management may be preparing, if worse comes to worst, a decision to provide the immoral coverage by saying, “gee, we sure don’t like it, but taking away medical care for our folks would be at least as bad, if not worse, than providing the coverage–so, reluctantly, we have to provide the coverage.” Father Jenkins has already proved that he does not fear the USCCB, or the bishop of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross or the Holy See–or even the alumni. He knows he can make public fools of them and skate away clean. He has proved his fondness for Obama. I think we need to be on the qui vive here.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:26 PM By Clinton
@ Fr. Bob B. First of all, thank you Father for your post and the work you do for the good of our souls in your duties as a priest. Now, as to your question of how to get Catholics in the pews to listen to sound Catholic teaching, it is quite a challenge, no doubt. Many people like to call themselves Catholic, but tune out anytime they hear things like “mortal sin” ,”hell”, the sinfulness of homosexuality, fornication, birth control and the like. My humble suggestion, Father, is to continue to preach the truth during your homilies. And yes, that probably means that a good number will walk out. But let us remember, in St. John’s Gospel, many walked out on Our Lord when He told them of the necessity of drinking His Blood and eating His Flesh. The teachings of Jesus were hard to hear then and are no easier for many to hear today. I will pray for you, Father. Again, thank you. +JMJ+

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 2:40 PM By Peggy
Fr. Bob– the people have not heard this message in the pews for 40 years so don’t expect them to have “ears to hear” right away. If they walk out on Catholic teaching they are not practicing their faith. And now the Archdiocese of SF is giving them cover by sponsoring a course on “the thinking Catholic” — i.e., a “follow your conscience” kind of faith. These are the “Catholics” who voted for Obama and don’t see that he is doing as anything wrong. Please keep preaching the truth from the pulpit. We all need to hear it.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:38 PM By Kenneth M. Fishers
As one who has run for Congress and was willing to stand up for the values of our Faith, I must ask the Archbishop why I never got support from the Church. In fact, the one Bishop who endorsed me was disciplined for it, the late Aux. Bishop Juan Arzube. Also, the Tidings allowed my pro-abortion incumbent opponent, Chet Hollified, D. because of threats from his Knight of Columbus member Chief of Staff, to advertise along side of my very pro-life, pro-Fatima ad! Come on bishops. let us see some real meat instead of pablum. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:51 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Fr. Bob, I know many priests who have actually been thrown out in the street because they refused to cater to the “bishop’s” instructions to compromise on the moral issues of our time. Some went independent because they really had no other choice except the wrong choice to leave the priesthood. But they stil have their souls intact, and that is more than I can say for those who have compromised. Father keep your soul intact. You know only too well what St. Paul had to say about teaching in good times and bad. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:32 PM By Fr Bob B
Mr. Fisher: Thank you for your posting and the encouragement in it. But I want to make clear that my Bishop fully supports his priests’ efforts to explain and defend the teachings of our Catholic faith, provided only that it be done in a civil manner.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:56 PM By JLS
JMJ, my writing style is not restricted to the literal level. I use various literary devices, as they’re called, in expressing things. In this instance I’m using an absurd contrast to illustrate a point. The point is that the bishops threaten to act against a looming govt policy on one important matter, but ignore action on the even graver issue of abortion. The implication that would come from my post questions why? Is it the money flow that they are worried about with this new policy? Is the money flow the only thing that gets the bishops into action? This is the question, JMJ, that I am putting forth, and for good reason, which should be obvious, but maybe it is not. Let me know.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:39 PM By Cody in Tucson
The Archbishop, who will not take BARACK OBAMA to task by name, calls on lay Catholics to defend the faith. Ok, I have seen photos of bishops and cardinals (including Cardinal Mahony) leading marches to promote one of their favorite causes, so Archbishop Gomez, how about your leading a protest to the L.A. federal building. All of us lay Catholics will follow you carrying protest signs and we will name the offender we are protesting on those signs: BARACK OBAMA!

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:50 PM By JLS
“thinking Catholic”? The proof is in the pudding.

Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:53 PM By JLS
Provide no insurance, but give the employees the money to buy their own. Oops, but then it would cost more. Guess it boils down to money instead of morality.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 12:17 PM By Don Guillermo
Obama seeks to marginalize the Church. This is yet another example.

Posted Friday, January 27, 2012 7:44 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
JLS, If the bishops gave their employees money to buy insurance that provides for abortions, they would then be cooperating in that sinful act! The priests at Our Lady Help of Christians have already indicated that they will give up insurance rather than do that, and that may be our only choice as well. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012 9:05 PM By Cody in Tucson
When LAY people went to town hall meetings in summer of 2009 to object to Obamacare a bishop was greatly concerned by their “lack of civility”. When LAY people stood up for the rule of law on immigration bishops called them “draconian”, “racist”, “xenophobic”. When Obama slashed $500 billion from Medicare meant to provide healthcare for LAY senior citizens, Carol Keehan proudly stood next to him at the signing and received one of the pens. So Arch Gomez, what are you asking LAY people to do? I can’t hear you! What are you asking again? I can’t hear you!

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 10:09 AM By Cody in Tucson
Went to the vigil Mass at neighboring parish yesterday. At the sermon the pastor talked about the conscience ruling. He was quite upset. He told about Bishop Von Galen of Muenster Germany in the 30’s and 40’s standing up to what was happening in Germany. This pastor used the words “Nazis”, “Adolph Hitler”, and the name of the head gestapo man in Muenster. Then the pastor talked about the attack today against religious liberty by the “federal government”. No names of any individual in the “federal government” were used, no party names were given. This upset pastor said “I wouldn’t tell anybody what to do” in response to his sermon. He didn’t want to receive any letters of people being mad at him for expressing his views. So, dear upset pastor, should I send a letter to Washington and address it “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WASHINGTON D.C.”????

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:53 PM By Cody in Tucson
This is my attempt to paraphrase a well known saying the Cody way – They came for the un-born and we said little. They came for the elderly and we supported a $500 billion cut. They came for those who upheld the rule-of-law and we helped them by calling those people “draconian”, “racist”, “xenophobic”. They came for those who objected to Obamacare and we assisted by calling them “uncivil”. They came for those who objected to Obama receiving acclaim at Notre Dame and we called those objectors “hysterical”. Now they are coming for us AND …………… !!!!!!

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 12:46 AM By Catherine
Cody in Tucson, A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier or a martyr dies but one.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 8:31 PM By k
Vatican Insider has an article saying the Curia selected Archbishop Gomez to be the leader of the new wave of bishops in line with the pope. Called “creative conservatives” by the paper.

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 8:41 PM By Cody in Tucson
Just came across this, it may be the saying I was thinking about in my above post – I’m reminded of the famous saying of German pastor Martin Niemoeller, referring to the horrors of Nazi Germany: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012 8:42 PM By JLS
Abp Gomez seems quite a bit more intelligent than his predecessor, and there are signs that he is trying to move the religiously slack towards a sense of actual faith instead of their disfaith. Pray he succeed at shepherding in the stead of Jesus.

Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 1:26 AM By Kenneth M. Fisher
JLS, Yes I am praying for Archbishop Gomez to succeed at shepherding, but I will not put my head in the sand when he is not doing so! My beloved late Spiritual Father, Archbishop Khai proclaimed when I informed him of “Fr.” Richard Spark’s remarks about the Holy Family, “that priest, horrible!”. Now Gomez is once again having “that priest” back to poison the minds of the attendees at what is now HIS REC! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher