Cardinal George: Catholic Hospitals Will be Gone in 2014 If the Abortifacient Mandate Stands

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George fires off a warning:

What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the Church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the Church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down …

Freedom of worship was guaranteed in the Constitution of the former Soviet Union. You could go to church, if you could find one. The church, however, could do nothing except conduct religious rites in places of worship-no schools, religious publications, health care institutions, organized charity, ministry for justice and the works of mercy that flow naturally from a living faith. All of these were co-opted by the government. We fought a long cold war to defeat that vision of society.

Indeed. We fought and won that cold war only to elect that vision by stealth a few years later.

As I've noted in past posts, Catholics aren't the only targets here. The Southern Baptists, for one, self-insure and oppose the mandate just as strongly as the Catholics do. If Nancy Pelosi gets her wish, every single church in America will be targeted. The current mandate is only the beginning.

Waiting until 2014 guarantees defeat. The impacted groups should begin to act now, in an election year, to visibly demonstrate just how far Barack Obama has gone.