The Obama White House just doesn’t get the Catholic Church in the United States these days. That blunt fact of public life was demonstrated once again by an anonymous “administration official close to the negotiations” over the Health and Human Services “contraceptive mandate.” The official was speaking off the record to the pliant David Gibson of Religion News Service, whose March 6 story took the administration’s latest prevarications at face value.
“The White House has put nearly every issue requested by the bishops on the table for discussion and has sought the views of the bishops on resolving difficult policy questions, only to be rebuffed,” said the official. “Unfortunately, it appears that some bishops and staff are more interested in the politics of this issue than resolving any underlying challenges faced by Catholic social service providers.” The official, Gibson wrote, was “responding” to the March 2 letter to his brother bishops by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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