Chicago Archdiocese: Tweak to birth control mandate a first step

February 10, 2012

Chicago's Catholic Archdiocese is not yet endorsing President Barack Obama's compromise on forcing religious institutions to provide birth control for employees.

Mr. Obama announced Friday that certain institutions can object on religious principle to directly provide birth control. In those cases, health insurance companies would be responsible for providing that care.

Father William Grogan, Vicar for Healthcare at the Chicago Archdiocese, said the Archdiocese stands by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which, in a written statement said they take the announcement as a first step but continue to have concerns.

Father Grogan couldn’t specify what those particular concerns are, but said they likely result "from the fact that the president made a very sincere but general statement.” He added that they want to see how the proposals will work out in detail going forward.

Cardinal Francis George recently criticized the regulation in a letter saying, "We cannot - we will not - comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs." Although that letter was written prior to Friday’s announcement by Mr. Obama, it has been distributed to churches in the Archdiocese. Priests will be reading that letter out loud to parishioners at Sunday mass.