Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Military Archbishop Defies Secretary of Army

The recent ruling from Obama's HHS that all entities providing healthcare services must include contraceptives and abortion prevention services to include the "morning-after" pill. Though Archbishops all across the United States wrote letters that their priests read aloud during Sunday masses, one Archbishop was instructed not to do so.

His name is Timothy Broglio and he is at the head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, which is responsible for providing Catholic services to Catholics in the military all over the world. He was instructed by the Army's Office of the Chief of Chaplains not to have his letter read from the pulpit during his masses.

The decision seemed to set up a showdown between the Military and the administration.

Via CNS News:
Archbishop Broglio’s letter opposing the regulation and describing it as a violation of the constitutional rights of Catholics was read verbatim at Masses served by Navy and Air Force chaplains around the world.

However, the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains attempted to silence Catholic Army chaplains from reading it at their Masses—an effort rejected and resisted by Archbishop Broglio.

“On Thursday, January 26, Archbishop Broglio emailed a pastoral letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it be read from the pulpit at Sunday Masses the following weekend in all military chapels,” the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military said in a statement.
Someone had to blink. Fortunately, it appears Broglio is not the one who did:
“The Army's Office of the Chief of Chaplains subsequently sent an email to senior chaplains advising them that the Archbishop's letter was not coordinated with that office and asked that it not be read from the pulpit,” said the archdiocese’s statement. “The Chief's office directed that the letter was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and distributed in printed form in the back of the chapel.”

On Saturday, Jan. 28, after the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains issued this directive, Archbishop Broglio spoke with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, a political appointee of President Barack Obama.

Archbishop Broglio’s position was that, in trying to stop Catholic Army chaplains from reading his pastoral letter, the Army was violating his First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and the First Amendment rights of Catholic chaplains and Catholic service members.

“Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants,” said the statement from the archdiocese.

In his Jan. 28 telephone conversation with Army Secretary McHugh, Archbishop Broglio was able to extract from the secretary an admission that it had been wrong for the secretary to try to silence the Catholic chaplains. The archbishop decided that the line in his letter that said Catholics cannot and will not comply with the “unjust law” of the HHS regulation would not be read aloud in Catholic Masses by the chaplains, but that the rest of the letter would.

The line stating "we will not ... comply with this unjust law" did remain, however, in the printed letter that was distributed at Masses said by Army chaplains and it remains in the copies of the letter posted on the website of the Archdiocese for the Military.
It's safe to say that the Obama administration appears to have lost this particular battle and that Broglio's one concession was so minor, that to call it a face-saving gesture for Obama would be a stretch.

While a good sign, rhetoric alone will not accomplish much. The Archbishops will have to get out of their chairs and organize at some point, if they want to see this rule withdrawn.

Read it all. 

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