Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What the Catholic Church Does (and what the HHS mandates seek to thwart)

Below are some quick stats on what the Catholic Church does to serve people in the US. The services of these organizations are open to the public and serve whoever is in need regardless of their religious beliefs (I myself went to Catholic school for 12 years as Protestant). Depending on the organization and its specific mission, most will hire and employ a person of any religious beliefs who wants to serve the mission of the organization.

The federal government will soon be requiring almost all* of these organizations (excepting parishes) to violate their religious beliefs to continue functioning. Anyone who cares about tolerance, religious liberty, or even simply cares about the poor should be very concerned and should contact their representative in the House and their representatives in the Senate. There is also an official online petition on the White House website that is taking signatures.

  • 5774 elementary schools serving 1,467,694 students (current) [Source]
  • 1206 secondary schools serving 598,178 students (current) [Source]
  • 244 colleges and universities (current) [Source]
  • 3301 local Catholic Charities offices provided services to 10,270,292 people in 2010 [Source]
    • services include food pantries, soup kitchens, home delivered meals, counseling, housing, clothing, assistance with utilities, assistance with prescription drugs, services related to addiction, pregnancy, adoption, immigration, refugees, education, at-risk populations, and other services
  • 629 hospitals (as of 2010) [Source]
    • represents 12.6% of community hospitals
    • received 15.6% of all hospital admissions
    • 5,512,632 admissions
  • 235 residential homes for children (orphanages) serving 50,264 young people (in 2005) [Source]
  • 135 other national Catholic lay organizations serve the Church and their local communities [Source]
  • Hundreds of other local Catholic lay organizations serve the Church and their local communities [Source]
  • 18,992 parishes (as of 2006) also serve their local communities in incalculable ways [Source]

*While it seems to be pretty clear that parishes would be exempted from the new rules, it's not entirely clear how all other Catholic organizations would fare. It would depend on the organization, who they employ, what their mission is exactly. However, it is clear that it would effect most of the organizations listed here.


  1. Does it apply to all accepting federal monies? Or all non-profits? Or all organizations above a certain size? I have yet to hear a clear answer on these points.

  2. Hey Ubiquitous,
    Here's what I understand:
    All businesses that have more than a certain number of employees (I think 50) will be required by law to provide benefits, or else face high fines. And all insurance plans in the country, regardless of their source (private, public), will have to cover certain things, including sterilization procedures and contraception (without copays). A religious organization can be excepted from this rule, but only if they employ primarily people of their faith, serve people primarily of their faith, and have as their purpose the inculcation of their religious values. In other words, the religious exemption would cover parishes, but not Catholic institutions such as schools, hospitals, and charities.

  3. Jake Tapper asked a few questions today at the White House that might help...

  4. For whatever it is worth. There is no question I'm voting and donating to Obama, I'm a prochoice Democrat. And even I think this is a of situations where Democrats are way over the line. I see this as very similar to the law requiring pharmacists to provide abortifacient drugs. I think it is reasonable for the left to demand that religious people not impose their values on people who don't share them. It is completely unreasonable for the left to impose their values on the religious.

    There is no question that contraception is not just a health issue, it is also a moral issue and one where the church has been quite outspoken. I think Kathleen Sebelius is dead wrong on this. It is more evidence of why employers shouldn't be in the insurance business at all.

  5. CD-Host,
    I don't see how someone can vote for someone like Obama who has very intentionally thrown religious freedom under the bus, and may shut down thousands of schools, charities, hospitals, and universities in the process. To me, it's bad in the extreme

  6. Well I'd agree that Kathleen Sebelius might very well shut down schools charities and hospitals. But in 2009 when the Republicans opposed the block grants to states, in 2010 when they refused further stimulus and in 2011 when they pushed additional budget cuts to education and medical service for the poor even while their 2010 actions were hitting these systems hard... they unquestionably shut down schools, charities and hospitals.

    If your criteria is who provides better schools, charities and hospitals I don't think it is even complex to figure out which party to support.