Home » Opinion » Elise Hilton: Give in to evil or give up: What should the Catholic bishops do?

Elise Hilton: Give in to evil or give up: What should the Catholic bishops do?


ny-rally-300x200 (1)(Acton Institute) National Catholic Reporter writer Michael Sean Winters has a message for the United States Catholic Bishops: become complicit with evil or toll the death knell for the Church in the U.S. Unlike the Amish, who choose to live in a manner outside of modern culture, Winters exhorts the bishops to not only engage the world, but realize that being part of evil is simply part and parcel of that engagement:

I bring up the Amish for a reason. They are lovely people and their commitment to living a Christ-like life challenges us all. But their model is not our Catholic tradition. We do not shut out the world; we engage it. And it seems to me that the approach of many bishops in recent years has been to mimic the Amish, to construct walls around a ‘faithful remnant’ of Catholics, close the doors in the face of those who evidence ambivalence, and denounce the culture for its moral turpitude. Setting aside the fact that those denunciations tend to be ideologically one-sided, this dour, pessimistic, denunciatory stance toward the culture is a death sentence for the church…

Winters is specifically addressing the bishops’ decision to fight the HHS mandate, forcing employers to include abortificients and abortions with insurance coverage. Winters adds, “…no one is being tied down and force-fed contraception: We are talking about insurance coverage.”

Contrast this with what an actual Catholic bishop has to say. Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia notes that the bishops of the U.S. have long held that all Americans deserve adequate health care, regardless of their employment situation. It is not the bishops, he says, but the White House, that has politicized this issue.

[H]ealth care has now morphed into a religious liberty issue provoked entirely – and needlessly — by the current White House. Despite a few small concessions under pressure, the administration refuses to withdraw or reasonably modify a Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate that violates the moral and religious convictions of many individuals, private employers and religiously affiliated and inspired organizations.

Coupled with the White House’s refusal to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and its astonishing disregard for the unique nature of religious freedom displayed by its arguments in a 9-0 defeat in the 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court decision, the HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion. Access to inexpensive contraception is a problem nowhere in the United States. The mandate is thus an ideological statement; the imposition of a preferential option for infertility. And if millions of Americans disagree with it on principle – too bad. [More]


Acton Institute



  1. Tony says:

    And so you are advocating an anti intellectual approachh to the Catholic Faith. You are going to tell the Dominicans, and other great teacing scholars and intellectuals, ant the monastic instructions of higher learning to close down and just read the Catechiism?

  2. Elinor Melley says:

    Over the past several months, I have refused to read the comments that follow the articles. Today, I decided to and I am more than appalled once again,at the rationalization of particular contributors. There appears to be a belief that one can change moral order and ethics to suit the times. We can somehow change God’s laws willy-nilly to suit our purposes. Someone (The Church) has to hold the truth. When anything goes….nothing goes.
    One forgets here that there are two…yes two bodies involved…..the mother’s and the human infant in gestation. Both, and I emphasize both, have separate DNA and are separate bodies. Human beings are not grown out in the field someplace… although if some feminists had their way, they would like that to happen. Reproduction of human beings and all other beings has been designed by God. We cannot play God in choosing to deny a life once it is set in motion. We have the responsibility of safeguarding all life and to not foster the “I was here first mentality” of individuals so I get to choose. We seem to have difficulty in recognizing a “Higher Power”. Mother Teresa so aptly stated that “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die in order to live as we wish.” I truly fear for the future, we have gone down a very sorry path. When we attack men as being the antagonists here we are contributing to a gender war that is most divisive in society. Women do believe that this is a wrong as well. What about women who wish to safeguard life…..it is instinctive. And then there is the part that men contribute to the life itself. Don’t they have a stake in it?
    The whole issue is becoming more and more abhorrent to me.

  3. Ann (WOC) says:

    Dear Deacon:
    The very nature of the tradition is one of change. Cardinal Newman said: “To change is good, to change often is to become perfect.” This is such an old argument. Of course the church and its tradition of proclaiming the good news of salvation for all changes, otherwise we would all be speaking Aramaic or Greek, dressing in long robes and sandals, and “ordaining” only Jewish men. The Catholic tradition has always been one of engagement. Read the story of the early Jesuit missionaries to China, Roman missionaries to England and Ireland or Europe, the European missions to the Americas. We are not Amish but we are slowly becoming irrelevant as we allow a bunch of old, mostly white, celibate men, pretty much out of touch, demand that the government ignore women’s health issues in order to be Catholic. You are not historically informed; apparently your deacon education was not sufficient for you role in the church.

  4. Deacon Pryor says:

    Many people do not understand that it is not that the Catholic Church will not change its teachings it is that the Catholic Church CANNOT change its teachings. Our bishops have an obligation to guard the truth as revealed by Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures.


    • Deacon Bernie says:

      “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are found in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution is a system of limiting government.

    • Ann (WOC) says:

      . . . and ignorance does not equate any sort of doctrinal purity.

  6. AMC grad says:

    Exactly the point. Just because coverage is provided doesn’t mean on has to use it. This is the wrong issue to go to the mat over

    • Deacon Bernie says:

      Actually, it is THE issue to go to the mat over. While choosing to abort is an individual choice, a system that would require a faith based community to ignore its essential teachings is simply WRONG.

      • Ann (WOC) says:

        Anti abortion is not the central teaching of the Catholic Church! The health of the mother and patient is central to the oath physicians take. You are not a doctor, and certainly not a theologian, stop practicing.

        • Ann (WOC) says:

          Nor an essential teaching of the Catholic Church. It is a central teaching of biology, whether a species of plant, animal or tribal life. We are not biological slaves; medicine and human health, not ecclesial men, have a role here!

          • Andrew says:

            CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 2271: Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause a newborn to perish. God, the Lord of life has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

            • Ann (WOC) says:

              The God of life however has never entrusted to MEN the noble mission of taking a woman’s life. Doctors must safeguard the life of their patients (here women) and if this requires taking a fetus it is a medical procedure necessitated by their sacred medical oath which the God of life affirms. The God has never entrusted to solely to MEN, ecclesial or otherwise, the mission of safeguarding life; it is as much the responsibility of women, particularly with regard to their own bodies. Abortion is not to be compared with infanticide. You and that catechism require scientific updating; God and the Catholic church deserve no less.

              • Andrew says:

                No Ann. YOU need to get in line and obey every single thing the Catechism says. As Pope Francis said yesterday, Catholics can’t have it both ways. The way if the world is not the way to Heaven. The Catechism is the book of rules and guide to life for Catholics. Respect it. Obey it. Or, use the free will God have you and leave the Catholic Church. There are dozens of Protestant denominations out there that ordain women, support abortion and promote gay marriage.

                • Tony says:

                  Andrew, I said yesterday, the Catechisim is not the be all and end all of Catholic teaching. If it were people would not be getting advanced degrees in theology, studying things like morality,

                  • Tony says:

                    Christology,ecclesiology, the Faters og the Church, Incarnational Theology etc. rather they wold sit home and parrot the Catecism which is inadequate in many ways

                  • Andrew says:

                    Sorry Tony but the Catechism is indeed the rules and regulations of the Church. Read it and learn something about your faith.

                    • Tony says:

                      So all the subjects I mentioned are as straw, all the degrees one can get, BA MA PHD STD mean nothing? Might as well stay home, drink beer and read your Catechisim? I think not.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Correct. The worldly degrees are just that: worldly. What’s in the Catechism is the divine truth and God’s official Church outranks any man-made degree. If you respected your Faith, you’d know that


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