Cardinal speaks against Obama contraception policy

February 19, 2012 4:40:43 AM PST
Francis Cardinal George is speaking out about the controversy over birth control coverage at Catholic institutions.

He said he is dismayed by President Barack Obama and said what is happening is monumental.

George, who returned from Rome Friday, said this is going to be a long conversation. He believes the healthcare mandate violates religious freedom and threatens the influence of the Catholic church.

The church is unhappy with the new "patient protection and affordable care act" rule by the Obama administration.

It requires church-affiliated organizations, like hospitals and non-profits organizations, to provide birth control to female employees.

"The government has never done this type of thing before," George said. "We're very concerned what this means is, according to the government, that the church is just a parish and it's a private club that supports and movitates people to take part in public life, but the church itself cannot have a public voice. We cannot speak in the name of our faith publicly."

George wrote a letter highlighting the difference in opinion.

An insert will be distributed to parishioners in their bulletins today.

"The concern of the conference is not contraception or sterilization or paying for abortion-inducing pills as such," he said. "The larger issue here is whether or not the government can tell what is a Catholic institution and we're part of the church here's what you must do in order to be part of our society."

George says Catholic bishops want the mandate to be repealed.

He expects a lawsuit down the line.