Bishop Conley: Catholic Church will defy Obama abortion-HHS mandate

One of Pope’s new appointees


Bishop Conley

The following comes from a November 12 story on

The new Catholic bishop in Lincoln, Nebraska says the Catholic Church will openly defy the Obama-HHS mandate that compels religious groups and businesses to pay for drugs that may cause abortions.

“The Catholic Church is not going to back down,” said Denver auxiliary bishop James Conley, who will start as the new bishop of the Lincoln diocese on Nov. 20. “We are never going to compromise our principles. We will defy it and face the consequences.”

Roman Catholic officials in Omaha and Des Moines expressed similar sentiments this week over a plan by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring all employers to provide their employees contraception coverage without copays.

The so-called HHS mandate for religious organizations, currently the subject of dozens of legal challenges nationally, is set to take effect next August.

“Litigation, legislation and worst-case scenario would be the decision whether to comply or refuse to embrace something that’s against the teaching of the church,” said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the Omaha archdiocese.

Catholic bishops regard the mandate as a violation of religious freedom, compelling them to provide services they morally oppose. The church has always seen its charitable work, hospitals and schools as part of its broader ministry, said Bishop Richard Pates of the diocese of Des Moines.

“It’s just as much a part of our faith as saying prayers inside of church,” he said.

Refusal to provide the coverage could prompt civil fines of up to $100 per day for each uncovered employee. While the church leaders said they hope a resolution can be reached, such fines would leave no other option but to close the affected institutions.

Earlier this year, the nation’s Catholic bishops made it appear they may openly defy the mandate in a national act of civil disobedience. In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops distributed bulletin inserts nationwide, which reference Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his call for civil disobedience in response to unjust laws.

The bulletin insert quoted the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which Dr. King writes, “I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.  An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”

The Catholic bishops also note in the document, “Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified….”

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  1. Cody in Tucson says:

    That bulletin insert mentioned was NEITHER distributed at parishes NOR mentioned by Bishop Kicanas last June. I find it amazing how these bishops are SO concerned about their Church institutions, their religious freedom, their potential fines, but they didn’t give a damn about the fact that Obamacare will allow the government to put a stranglehold around the throats of every lay person, regulate their health options, ration their care, determine who gets the operation and who gets the pain pill, and ultimately dictate when and who will die. If these bishops worked out in private industry they would have been ‘pink slipped’ and ‘sent packing’ years ago!

  2. Kenneth M. Fisher says:

    Now if even a majority of the USCCB goes along with Bishop elect Conley, we will see Cristiada in America, and the Catholic veterans are ready. Viva Cristo Rey!

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher

  3. Father Karl says:

    Thank you, very much Your Excellency, for standing up for the Catholic faith. God will reward you, and your diocese can be very proud that you are their true shepherd. If more bishops were like you, and your predecessor, the United States would not be in the moral mess it is in now. Congratulations, and please continue to follow Christ as a leader in this valley of tears.

  4. Larry from RI says:

    ” Earlier this year, the nation’s Catholic bishops made it appear they may openly defy the mandate in a national act of civil disobedience.”

    The Catholic bishops and all Christians should shout in a thundering chorus across our land from sea to shining sea like our founding fathers:


    • As Attorney General Ashcroft, a Protestant, said many years ago, I have no king but Jesus Christ. I always admired him because he refused to take a picture in front of a pagan goddess. Some people laughed at him, but at least he stood for something.

  5. The more bishops who publicly state strongly that the Catholic Church will DEFY! Obama abortion-HHS mandate, the more likely it will not be enforced which would raise the national unemployment rate with the closing of Catholic hospitals, schools, media and other institutions.

    • Why didn’t this fight commence before the election? I know many will say it did, however, not where I reside (San Francisco Bay Area).

      • The hope was that Romney would be elected and rescind the mandate. Residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sandra, you have many fights on your hands!!

      • Sandra there were 3 HHS Mandate Ralleys at the Federal building in San Francisco. It’s sad that there were not very many people there I’m sure because they didn’t hear about it.

        • I was there all 3 times and I was appalled at the low turnout too.

          • Sandra,

            How can you be appalled at the low turnout for 3 HHS Mandate rallies when you, yourself and many others you say are thrilled about empty glass houses? Empty rallies are the reflection of empty glass houses.

            People who praise empty glass houses should not be appalled at low turnouts to defend the faith. For many years shepherds have too busy defending everything, (including self-induced scandals) but the Catholic faith…..and now you’re appalled? Sandra, You are better than this! What happened along the way? I guess that doesn’t matter as long as you can still be thrilled about spiritual neglect.

      • Your new Archbishop Cordileone is awesome. Keep him in prayer he has a lot of work ahead of him. He teaches the truth. Read what he has to say and follow his direction.

  6. Robert Bushlow says:

    Good, this evil mandate must be rescinded. Catholic Institutions must continue to care for the poor, the widows and orphans. Continue to teach and operate all of the Catholic institutions and continue at the same time to stand fast on Catholic morality and refuse to provide unethical treatments or services. Above all continue to oppose intrinsic evils with courage and determination.

    Fear not, be of good cheer and Stand fast in solidarity with the Bishops and Catholic Moral Principals.

  7. WOODY GUIDRY says:


  8. I’m concerned because there are many wolves guarding the hen house, so to speak. How will we ever win this huge fight without the Church Militant understanding how dire it all is? By the election consensus, not many.

  9. Can you imagine the triumphant mood of Obama and Henry Waxman, an original architect of “Obamacare,” when Catholic hospitals begin to close.

    I seriously doubt that given the weak and compromised establishment leadership of the American bishops that they will have the spine and intelligence to fight the Left.

  10. St. Christopher says:

    Bishop Conley is to be praised for his stand: but, it’s not over yet. In fact, the fighting has not begun. Obama will use this as a wedge to get the vast majority of Catholic bishops to “turn” on the others, the devout, and say, “look what is happening; let’s go along and we can work it out later.” Then, Obama will use the might of the State to attempt to crush the Church for its “disobedience” to his will. The Church really has no chance in all of this, except for our Holy Mother, and Christ. In other words, a miracle is needed to avoid either the Church itself from splitting, or being destroyed by litigation, and possible legislation. Too bad Romney never picked up this issue — it is the key to the real reason that Obama is not fit to be President. Many people might have listened to a true debate of this issue, but Romney simply ran away (or thought that this was not worth the effort). In fact, the Church should consider filing suit against the Government now, and not waiting until the Justice Department can figure out the best way to attack. Having a bishop or two around, like Bishop Conley, at least gives a sense of hope.

  11. Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

    Like I said before, All talk without reforming of Seminaries and Catechisis, and Catholic Schools.. is a waste of time.

    • WOODY GUIDRY says:

      So we wait until all that is accomplied first? Will you lead us or spend your precious grace writing what you said before?

      • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

        Yes, There is no point saying many things unless you are actually converting souls. Its more urgent that the Bishops first become teachers before they engage in these gradiose political adventures. There is absolutely no chance of winning if their souls are not well formed.

        To me it would seem most of these Bishops make these seemingly orthodox statements as a popularlity contest in Catholic gate keeping media.

        Supposedly Orthodox Bishops like Archbishops Cordileone and Archbishop Gomez are so not working to reform the spiritual lives of their local churches, yet, they are engaged in this high profile fight for attention when their army is in shambles.

        And even this Orthodoxy is questionable? Why does the Church so interested in immigration not speak more forcefully about the racial cleansing side of the abortion industry going on tright under their own noses?

        • Mb K Mb makes a wise point. Long ago for example much of Catholicism was lost to Islam because of the failure of bishops to teach and preach the truth. Same thing is happening in the USA today, only it is not merely Islam but other contenders who are advancing their spiritual armies over the limp wrists of so many bishops.

        • MKM is right in the sense that generals without armies are useless and helpless. And in today’s America, the bishops are generals without armies, because they have allowed their boot camps to deteriorate to the point where the “soldiers” are allowed to pass through into the ranks without ever having been made into loyal and disciplined fighters. At the first sight of the enemy formations, they will break and run–allowing their general to die alone on the battlefield. I don’t suggest that the generals abandon the battlefield. But upgrading the quality of the boot camps and drill instructors is essential if the generals’ battlefield leadership is to be anything more than purely symbolic and doomed to failure.

      • Support our GOOD Bishops, or the EVIL will win.

        • A good bishop does not need any support other than the Cross. They should get used to carrying it instead of wearing it.

    • Bishops apparently are trained to talk and not do anything. Maybe that is what they consider the foundation for holiness.

  12. Where I live the only action taken was by the Pastor threatening to arrest Parishoners who had a pro life truck with a large banner parked on a public street across from the driveway if they dared come on OUR property with their handouts, he then barred our apoligitics group from using OUR church hall for any more monthly meetings. We do not look for our Las Vegas Bishop to give much if any support to the lawsuit, Faithful CATHOLIC PRIESTS are well aware they are to be very loyal to him, not the FAITH

  13. Juergensen says:

    I suspect as many bishops will stand up for the faith against Obama as bishops stand up for the faith against abortionist politicians.

  14. This website needs some overhauling … too incredibly slow and fails to function at times.

  15. I would be very interested to know the number of Catholic universities, hospitals and other institutions which currently offer employee health care that includes contraception coverage. This could be with or without co-pays. The data should indicate which institutions are directly operated by the Diocese compared to those not operated by the Diocese. I suspect a significant portion of the institutions not run by the Dioceses have offered contraceptive coverage as part of the employee health care program for many years.

    The really significant questions are: How many institutions with contraceptive coverage will withdraw it? Will they use the cost savings — however minimal — to improve coverage in other areas?

  16. Innominato says:

    Do not be afraid! Fear not! You who have such little faith. Our loyal Catholic Vice President of the United States, the One who “feels comfortable” with homosexual marriage and accepts the “pro choice agenda.” told us during the VP debate on national television. while pointing a finger at us, that the HHS mandate will never apply to Catholic institutions, Catholic charitable organizations, Catholic schools and universities, etc. My suggestion is that you read up on the Catholic Martyrs of England who were burned at the stake, disemboweled, hung, quartered, beheaded, crushed to death rather than give up their faith and pledge allegiance to King and Queen of England (read Obamacare). For example, pray for Saint Margaret of Clitherow, who at age of 33 was imprisoned for 2 years then crushed to death for refusing to abandon her faith. Do you think that if Biden read her story his heart would be changed?

    • In our era, the blood will not flow because there is no need for the persecutors to shed it. What will happen is simply that they will orchestrate more and more the ignoring of the bishops … After all, the bishops are ignoring the Pope’s call to holiness. One of the great prophets once complained to God that he was the only faithful prophet left on earth; yet, God reassured him that such was not the case, that God had thousands of faithful prophets tucked away here and there.

  17. Judy Galletti says:

    I hope we march on Washington DC.

  18. Dr. King writes, “I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”

    The Bishops need to tell that publically to Catholic Supreme Court Justice Roberts!!

  19. What innominato posts above is very powerful, also what Ken Fisher posted way above. We must realize, however, that it’s been a LONG SLOUGH to where we as as a nation are now facing, perhaps the ULTIMATE ENEMY we hoped we’d never HAVE to face. And I DO mean the DIABOLIQUE. For it’s not FLESH AND BLOOD that confronts us, at least in it’s ultimate reality, but a whole host of DIABOLICAL SPIRITS arrayed against us. In one ancient reading that I perused, if a person could confront Satan in a material sense, he’d be some TWENTY STORIES HIGH. And don’t forget that he’s a SERAPHIM, the MOST INTELLIGENT of ALL the angels, even St. Michael is an Archangel,pretty far down on the list of HIGH INTELLECT among THE ANGEL HIERARCHY, so obviously GOD gave St. Michael superior strenghth to throw Satan and his cohorts down from heaven. But even though his intellect is DARKENED, Lucifer is still FORMIDABLE. We must understand these things, and so the fabulous story of MARY IIMMACULATE CRUSHING SATAN’S HEAD under her delicate heel is a MOST wonderful promise TO US OF GOD’S SUPREME POWER AND the reflected power of MADRE DIOS.


  20. Laws enacted for the general welfare are simply not required to accommodate the religious beliefs of all parts of the public. That is not my opinion, that is the finding of the Supreme court in “Employment Division vs. Smith”, written by Judge Scalia and joined by current justice Kennedy. It is unfortunate that the Bishops have chosen to fight this battle on turf so well prepared and owned by the government.

  21. From the Smith case: “It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause]…to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended….To make an individual’s obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law’s coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State’s interest is ‘compelling’ – permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, ‘to become a law unto himself,’ contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.’

    • I don’t think the Church is bound by civil law in this case. It must obey God’s law. The court can say HHS mandate is constitutional. The Church must disobey such a law.

  22. I wouldn’t pay the penalties voluntarily. That would force the govt to get into Church accounts and take the money.

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