“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
And remember -- it is not just the nation's Catholic bishops who have made the claim that Biden denies. A whole host of religious organizations, including colleges, hospitals, social service agencies and even a Bible publisher have made the same claim, only to have the Obama Administration make it clear that they would be required to supply insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion. So how dare Biden present himself as some sort of faithful Catholic while repeating this lie?
All of which takes me back to a position that I expressed some months ago, when I suggested an encyclical letter from Pope Benedict XVI regarding the ObamaCare regulations and their attack on religious freedom.
The second part of the encyclical should lay out the consequences of the promulgation of this new regulation and its successor. This should begin with an announcement that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is immediately excommunicated, as are any other Catholics within the senior staff of the department. In addition, immediate excommunication should also fall upon any Catholic member of Congress who voted for ObamaCare. Lest there be any confusion on the matter, the individuals excommunicated should be listed by name. In addition, excommunication latae sententia will be incurred by any Catholic who directly enforces or causes to be enforced the requirements of the new regulations. Similar sanctions should be directed at state officials in the 28 state with similar provisions in state law. At least as regards the public officials, the lifting of the excommunication ought to be reserved to the Holy Father himself. The second consequence contained within the encyclical ought to include the imposition of interdict upon the United States if the regulation is not rescinded by a certain date, with the interdict to be lifted only upon the lifting of the regulation and the return of any and all property seized as a consequence of failure to comply with the regulation.
It seems to me that Biden's claim last night and the subsequent response of the bishop's conference makes it appropriate for his bishop, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington, to impose excommunication for his material cooperation in the imposition of this mandate and the public scandal he has created by supporting it and lying about it during the debate.