Sr Mary Ann Walsh, blogger supreme for the USCCB, has posted a pointed and timely analysis of the government’s attempt to define religious ministry, a task heretofore left to religious faith communities. This lady does not mince words!
She points out that
This miserly definition of a religious ministry was devised by the American Civil Liberties Union for a law related to contraceptives in California, and HHS has adopted it as if it were wisdom from the Oracle of Delphi.
Why President Obama seems to have chosen this moment to become theologian-in-chief is a mystery. Why should Caesar weigh in on theological questions such as what ministry is religious enough? Distributing Holy Communion at the altar? Yes. Distributing bread in the soup kitchen? No. He might have to meditate on where the loaves and fishes on the hillside would fit, in this theological framework.
A key question:
The mandate seems to declare as non-religious hospitals that do not ask for a baptismal certificate in the E.R., soup kitchens that ask “Are you hungry?” instead of “Are you Catholic?”, and shelters that do not teach the Apostles’ Creed before giving a stranger a bed for the night.
Why, indeed, did the administration pick this fight now, and why are they unmovable on these points?