Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Crux of The Suit

In the wake of Monday's filing of a nationwide civil suit by 43 church entities -- led by 13 (arch)dioceses and four universities -- seeking relief from the impending Federal mandate for contraceptive coverage on religious freedom grounds, the plaintiffs' argument was encapsulated for the cameras by the Cardinal-President of the Stateside bench....

Meanwhile, in a Tuesday turn on CBS' morning show, the Chief accused the White House of seeking to "strangle" the church:

At the same time, while Cardinal Timothy Dolan hailed the prior day's filing as "a compelling display of the unity of the church in defense of religious liberty," the bishops' rare months-long stretch of a "strongly united" approach on the issue and its handling showed its first major crack hours later as a key USCCB chair called for a "deeper discussion" of the church's strategy on the issue amid a concern that "different groups that are trying to co-opt this and make it into a political issue."

In comments published on the website of the Jesuit weekly America, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton -- the bench's Domestic Policy chief -- was said to be "worried that some groups 'very far to the right' are trying to use the conflict as 'an anti-Obama campaign.'

"The question is what is our focus as bishops," Blaire said, "and that we have opportunity to clarify our focus and that we are all in agreement on focus."

Conspicuously, meanwhile, the religious liberty push quietly crept North last week as the Canadian bishops released a pastoral letter headlined by "a pressing appeal for freedom."