Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

WASHINGTON — In the wake of President Obama’s controversial decision to mandate that religious groups pay for contraceptives for their … Continued

WASHINGTON — In the wake of President Obama’s controversial decision to mandate that religious groups pay for contraceptives for their employees, much of the coverage focused on how the president had disappointed progressive allies by giving religious groups an extra year to comply.

But the decision also had New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, feeling personally betrayed.

“I have to say, there’s a sense of personal disappointment,” Dolan said Tuesday (Jan. 24) after he gave a lecture on “Law and the Gospel of Life” at Fordham Law School.

Last November, amid deepening tensions between the bishops and the administration over the pending contraception mandate and other issues, Obama invited Dolan to the Oval Office, where the two men shared what Dolan called a productive and “extraordinarily friendly” meeting.

“The president seemed very earnest, he said he considered the protection of conscience sacred, that he didn’t want anything his administration would do to impede the work of the church that he claimed he held in high regard,” Dolan recalled on Tuesday. “So I did leave a little buoyant.”

That optimism ended last Friday, however, when Obama phoned Dolan to tell him that he was not expanding the conscience exemption to include religious institutions — such as Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies. In a bid to appease critics like Dolan, the White House gave church organizations an extra year to find a way to comply with the mandate that all health insurance plans provide free contraceptive coverage.

“I had to share with him that I was terribly let down, disappointed and disturbed, and it seemed the news he had given me was difficult to square with the confidence I had felt in November,” Dolan said.

Dolan indicated that his preference is to keep the lines of communication with the administration open. But Dolan is already facing pressure from other bishops to take a more confrontational stance toward the White House.

Dolan was scheduled to leave Wednesday for a nine-day spiritual pilgrimage to Israel; after a brief return to New York, he will head to Rome where he will be formally elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.

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  • amelia45

    I am busily writing my state and national politicial representatives to let them know that as a Catholic, the Catholic Church does not speak for me on political issus. I can and will speak for myself. I have let them know that, as a Catholic, I fully support the Obama Administrations proposed regulations regarding coverage of contraceptives and sterilization in health insurance. I am also careful to let my reprsentatives know that over 90% of Catholic women use forms of birth control the Catholic Church wants to forbid everyone who works for them. And that we do not want the Church given government power to coerce us or non-Catholics to live by a tenet of the faith that we, as the Body of Christ, have firmly rejected. To put it bluntly, the official Church is just plain worng.

  • jocraft

    I think Eve felt betrayed after she talked to the serpent and took the fruit. I imagine the encounter was “extraordinarily friendly” and she felt “buoyant” afterwards. The Bible doesn’t say if she was dumb enough to keep up the communication with the devil after she ate the fruit and realized she was naked. The Catholic Church is the beneficiary of federal funds for all types of social programs either directly or indirectly. There was much support for “Obama Care” from Church leaders. Like Eve they made a deal with the devil.

  • dlektd

    Christians gave their lives in the begining just because the were christians. The Catholic bishops will only give lip service. If the were Christians they would call for marches on DC and stay there in the streets until things changed. They would spend the Churches money to buy the media and fire the pro abortion people instead of paying for child molesting priests. Yes I was a catholic, went to catholic school, the whole bit. I am no longer a catholic. The Catholic church should get it’s priorities right.