Sioux Falls Bishop Won't Endorse Liberal Nun's Remarks at Catholic College

Sioux Falls Bishop Won't Endorse Liberal Nun's Remarks at Catholic College

The Catholic bishop of the diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota has not approved an address at a Catholic college presented by a nun who has embraced the HHS mandate.

According to the Associated Press, Bishop Paul Swain informed his clergy in a letter that he would not endorse a speech at Mount Marty College on the topic of “Health Care and the Poor” by Sister Simone Campbell on Thursday because of her views on ObamaCare and the HHS mandate.

Campbell, the executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice education and lobbying group, is also a leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” tours that support liberal social activist causes. She appeared at the Democrat National Convention last year and has been a guest on The Colbert Report.

In his letter, Swain said the new health reform law does not protect religious liberty and that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposes it. The HHS mandate, which is part of ObamaCare, requires most employers, including religious-affiliated hospitals, schools, and other groups to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their workers through health insurance plans.

“I am aware that Sister Campbell supports the law in its fullness despite the critique of the bishops,” Swain said. “She has also indicated that she does not believe that there is a threat to religious liberty, contrary to the bishops’ clear warning.”

According to the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Campbell believes many Catholics have misunderstood the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraception mandate. She has criticized the Catholic bishops for not accepting the Obama administration’s “accommodation,” which many have considered a mere financial maneuver that will only give the appearance that religious employers are not paying directly for contraception and abortifacients.

“The Obama administration basically accepted all of the requests of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and made modifications,” Campbell told the Press & Dakotan. “And yet, the bishops persist in saying it isn’t sufficient. They keep moving the goal post. It’s a question of giving people true information and not just fear.”

Swain, however, asserted, “In remarks published in the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, Sister Campbell erroneously claims that full accommodation to the HHS mandate has been made in response to objections raised by the Bishops’ Conference.”

Stating that Campbell’s views should not be seen as equivalent to those of the bishops, Swain said:

Those who seek to know what the Church really teaches should look to the statements of the Bishops. Her position is both personal and wrong.

Neither Sister Campbell’s remarks nor the content of her message are endorsed by me or the diocese. Given the moral gravity of the concerns, care must be taken to insure the faithful are taught on this issue with clarity.

Mount Marty president Joseph Benoit told AP that Swain had approved of Campbell as a speaker last spring, and that he is disappointed at the disagreement between the two.

“We have to be open and take into account that everyone is entitled to a viewpoint,” Benoit said.