Letters to the editor, Mar. 1

Catholic point of view on birth control

Re: Letter, “Church vs. state on birth control debate,” T&V, Feb. 23

I certainly do not wish that Mr. Steven Sanders “burn in eternal hell,” but that if he believes in Jesus Christ he will know the joy of eternal life.

The Roman Catholic Church believes that abortion, sterilization and contraception are seriously sinful acts. I know that many, including Mr. and Mrs. Sanders, do not share this belief. The Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States, their elected chairperson being Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, have spoken out in the past and will continue to defend this belief and this teaching.

Most recently the bishops have expressed grave concern over the mandate by the current administration that Catholic institutions be required to provide their employees (other than parish employees) contraceptives, abortafacient drugs, and sterilization free of charge as part of their health care coverage. Responding to the outcry not only of the Catholic hierarchy and people but representatives of other faith groups, the administration was willing to compromise and require insurance companies, not the religious institution, to provide this coverage.

The Catholic bishops have rejected this compromise. A serious issue, perhaps not at first recognized by the administration, is that the vast majority of Catholic institutions are self-insured, including the Archdiocese of New York. All health care costs are born by the Catholic employer, paid for by the Church for its employees by the dollars of the faithful that are put in the collection basket or paid by parents for school tuition. There is no third party that will pay for the cost of medication and procedures that contradict Catholic moral teaching.

Another relevant fact is that even if insurance companies were involved, the Church would still be paying through increased premiums, as no doubt premiums would be higher to enable the insurance company to provide this free coverage. To force the Church to pay for portions of health coverage that violate its moral teaching is not a health issue; it is a serious violation of religious freedom and the sanctity of conscience. Continue reading