"After thanking “all who have stood firmly with us in our vigorous opposition to this unjust and illegal mandate,” the bishops stated that
we wish to clarify what this debate is—and is not—about. This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church's hand and with the Church's funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops' somehow "banning contraception," when the US Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings. This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops' Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding. This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing. Finally, this is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue." Catholic Culture.org
I have been waiting to see what the Bishops' Conference would adopt as a position. This is it. They had little choice. Having "blotted their copybook" in the matter of clerical and religious molestation of children and youths, they would have faced a further revulsion on the part of the laity if they had not faced up to this.
The federal government IMO has no idea how difficlult this will be for a long time. Will many people leave the church over this? I do not know, but IMO a faithful remnant would be preferable to a mass of cafeteria Cathiolics. pl