BROOKLYN, New York, Feb. 6, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As President Obama prepared to be inaugurated for his second term last month, Brooklyn’s Catholic bishop wasn’t pulling any punches about those who backed a man pro-life leaders have dubbed the “most pro-abortion” president in U.S. history.
In a Jan. 23 column for the diocesan newspaper, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said those who voted for Obama “bear the responsibility for a step deeper in the culture of death.”
Though he would have hoped American’s first African-American president “would have stood on the side of freedom for all," Obama has been “a proponent of an expediency that is shameful and criminal in the eyes of Almighty God,” the bishop wrote in The Tablet.
Acknowledging some might find his tone “a bit strident and even un-nuanced,” the bishop nevertheless defended the urgency of his remarks. “Maybe the time has come for more direct conversation on these matters, if we hope to preserve what is left of our God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights,” he said.
Despite the Catholic Church’s public battle with the Obama administration over the HHS mandate and other religious liberty concerns, exit polls from the Nov. 6th election indicated that President Obama narrowly beat Republican contender Mitt Romney 50-48. Catholics who attend Mass weekly chose Romney over Obama 57-42.
The bishop noted that as Obama prepared for his inauguration, America was also set to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which he called “our national shame.”
“The forces of death press on from every side in contemporary American culture,” he said. “It is clear there is an assault on the people of faith in our country.”
Highlighting the HHS mandate as an example of the current attacks on religious freedom, he said: “As Government involves itself in our internal affairs, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the Government would seek to compel religious institutions to provide abortion services in the future.”
In the HHS mandate, the Obama administration has “add[ed] insult to injury” as it “presumes to dictate what are legitimate church corporations that are exempt from such directs and those that are not,” he said. “Thus, if all employees are Catholic and you serve a Catholic constituency, the corporation is exempt. However, if you are the Little Sisters of the Poor and hire non-Catholic nurses and welcome non-Catholics into your home, you are not exempt.”
The administration issued a “compromise” on the HHS mandate Friday that was billed as an attempt to quell religious liberty concerns, but pro-life and conservative leaders say it changes little and actually could make it worse.
The mandate, which requires private employers to offer health care plans that include contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs, has been waived for churches but not religiously affiliated schools, charities or hospitals, nor private business owners or individual employees who have moral objections.
Friday’s “compromise” expands the religious exemption to cover certain religious affiliated groups, but mostly those that are tightly affiliated with a single religious congregation, such as parish-run elementary schools or St. Vincent de Paul groups.
Bishop DiMarzio ends his column with a call for political leaders to emulate President Abraham Lincoln in his fight against slavery as they would labor to enshrine the right to life for the unborn.
“Mr. Lincoln, with great difficulty, put out into the deep and paid with his life. Would that our political leaders today would have some of the same courage,” he said.