US contraception concerns

The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has said the Catholic Health Association’s acceptance of rules governing women’s access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act was “less than helpful” to the bishops’ effort to seek changes in the mandate.

“We have not, ourselves as bishops, been able to arrive at the same conclusion, that accommodation with HHS (Health & Human Services) is that easy. There’s no way that we’re ready to say that yet,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York at a news conference after a two-day meeting of the USCCB’s Administrative Committee.

While acknowledging Catholic Health Association’s expertise in health care concerns, the cardinal told reporters that he appreciated the fact that the organisation acknowledged that the bishops remain the authentic teachers of faith and morals within the Church. “We really listen to them in a lot of the input they give us. But when it comes to faith and morals that, of course is what this ultimately is all about, they do defer to us,” he said. The contraceptive mandate remains a “high, high concern among the bishops,” he said.