Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

Bishop Dolan doesn’t know the Prez like we in Chicago do if he felt blindsided on this one.

Last November, amid deepening tensions between the bishops and the administration over the pending contraception mandate and other issues, Obama invited Dolan to the Oval Office, where the two men shared what Dolan called a productive and "extraordinarily friendly" meeting. 

"The president seemed very earnest, he said he considered the protection of conscience sacred, that he didn't want anything his administration would do to impede the work of the church that he claimed he held in high regard," Dolan recalled on Tuesday. "So I did leave a little buoyant."

That optimism ended last Friday, however, when Obama phoned Dolan to tell him that he was not expanding the conscience exemption to include religious institutions -- such as Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies. In a bid to appease critics like Dolan, the White House gave church organizations an extra year to find a way to comply with the mandate that all health insurance plans provide free contraceptive coverage.

"I had to share with him that I was terribly let down, disappointed and disturbed, and it seemed the news he had given me was difficult to square with the confidence I had felt in November," Dolan said.

Religion News Service | Ethics | Faith | Top Catholic bishop feels betrayed by Obama

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