Catholic Charities isn't separate from the diocese

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As a former 20-year employee of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who now works for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, I was surprised at your editorial condemnation of the court decision upholding the religious right of Catholic organizations to abstain from facilitating access to contraceptives (“Church and State,” Nov. 23).

During many of my years at the Post-Gazette, the insurance plan did not cover contraceptives, even for women like me who needed them for serious medical reasons unrelated to prevention of pregnancy. Had I worked for the Catholic diocese during those same years, the pills would have been covered.

But I loved working at the Post-Gazette so much that it was worth $30 a month from my own pocket to pay for the pills.

However, history aside, there is a fallacy at the core of your argument. Catholic Charities isn’t “separate” from the diocese. While it has separate papers of civil incorporation, both are governed by Bishop David Zubik as part of his ministry. Catholic Charities is as much a part of the diocese as any parish.

Furthermore, as a non-Catholic who works for the Catholic Church, I find it odd that anyone expects my employer to help me access anything that directly violates its teaching and mission. The church is clear about what it stands for. No one is forced to work here. If someone took a job at Planned Parenthood and then objected to facilitating access to contraceptives, I think you would fault that person’s judgment, not Planned Parenthood’s mission and policies.

Please respect the integrity of people who make a free choice to work for Catholic institutions. We know that our employer’s standards and practices are sometimes countercultural.

The Catholic bishops of the United States aren’t trying to end the health care law, but to tweak one small part of a federal agency’s interpretation of one of the regulations within it. The bishops have called for universal health care since 1919. And with the same endurance that they pursued that goal, they will continue to defend the right of free exercise of religion.

Department of Outreach and Engagemen
tCatholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

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