Catholic Pastors Directed to Distribute Anti-Health Reform Materials at Mass

This article originally appeared in the Colorado Independent  and is republished on RH Reality Check in partnership with Colorado Independent and the Center for Independent Media.

This past weekend the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
instructed pastors at parishes across the country to distribute
material urging Catholics to oppose the health reform bills making
their way through Congress for allowing public funding of abortions.
Priests were to insert the Bishops Conference pdf leaflets and letters into parish news bulletins, distribute them at church doors or place them in pews. They were also directed to read a statement at mass to reinforce the message.


Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput

The Conference of bishops reportedly sent the orders out last
Thursday, the same day Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented the mammoth
2,000-page House reform bill to lawmakers and the public.

The material explains that the Catholic Church supports reform that
will “protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of
conception until natural death.”

The insert contains phone numbers and web addresses at which constituents can contact their Representatives.

CNSNews reports that the Catholic Church has a “major stake” in the legislation:

A little over 100 million Americans are treated through
Catholic hospitals and health centers. There are 624 Catholic hospitals
in America. Also, 11 of the nation’s 40 largest health care systems are
Catholic, such as Ascension Health, Catholic Health Initatives and
Trinity Health.

As observers have pointed out,
however, the bishops’ position seems to be oddly anti-government. The
Church has never opposed any private health insurance policies that
provide abortion benefits. It has never urged a boycott of particular
insurance companies for offering abortion benefits. Aetna, Blue Cross,
Cigna, United Healthcare– all the major private insurers provide for
abortion services in their policies. All policy holders are paying into
the provider network and subsidizing all its services.

The strong stance by the Bishops led one CNSNews commenter to ask why priests are being directed to mouth Republican Party talking points.

Republican politics comes to the pulpit of The Mass. How sweet. The Mass becomes politicized.

The leaflet:

catholic leaflet


Abortion is not health care because killing is not healing.

For over 30 years, the Hyde Amendment and other longstanding and widely
supported laws have prevented federal funding of elective abortions.
Yet health care reform bills advancing in Congress violate this policy.
Americans would be forced to subsidize abortions through their taxes
and health insurance premiums. We need genuine health care reform—
reform that helps save lives, not destroy them.

Tell Congress: “Remove Abortion Funding and Mandates from Needed
Health Care Reform!”

Visit to send your e-mails today.

For more information on the U.S. bishops’ advocacy for authentic Health Care
Reform, visit

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • crowepps

    If the Catholic Bishops want to be a political action group, they need to surrender their tax-free status.

  • kater7

    Is this legal? Isn’t there separation of church and state? I feel very ignorant about this issue – but where is the ACLU? Shouldn’t someone be saying something about a religion advocating or disadvocating (is that the word?) IN mass?

  • grayduck

    kater7, University of Illinois on November 4, 2009 – 11:32am: "Is this legal?"


    Absolutely. The First Amendment bars states from "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion or "abridging the freedom of speech." Any attempt at criminalizing the free exercise or religion and freedom of speech would violate the First Amendment.


  • mrsyrt19

    videolar Emeginize saglık….
    Video izle