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The parable of the Kosher Deli

by | Feb 19, 2012 | Church | 5 comments

Bishop Lori offered this statement on behalf of the Bishop’s conference , Feb. 16, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing

“For my testimony today, I would like to tell a story. Let’s call it The Parable of the Kosher Deli.

Once upon a time, a new law is proposed, so that any business that serves food must serve pork.

There is a narrow exception for kosher catering halls attached to synagogues, since they serve mostly members of that synagogue, but kosher delicatessens are still subject to the mandate.

The Orthodox Jewish community — whose members run kosher delis and many other restaurants and grocers besides — expresses its outrage at the new government mandate.

And they are joined by others who have no problem eating pork — not just the many Jews who eat pork, but people of all faiths — because these others recognize the threat to the principle of religious liberty.

They recognize as well the practical impact of the damage to that principle.

They know that, if the mandate stands, they might be the next ones forced — under threat of severe government sanction — to violate their most deeply held beliefs, especially their unpopular beliefs.

Meanwhile, those who support the mandate respond, “But pork is good for you.”

It is, after all, the “other white meat.”

Other supporters add, “So many Jews eat pork, and those who don’t should just get with the times.”

Still others say, “Those Orthodox are just trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else.”

… He then develops the implications.

Read more:

Visit the above link to read how he presents the implications and view the quite varied reactions in a lively debate about how apt the analogy and reasoning is as people try to sort out the issues of religious liberty and contraception.

Tags: HHS


  1. Sr. Honora Remes

    I am really amazed by what presents to me as the narrow view of conscience expressed by this parable and by the larger Epicopal interpretation of the recent compromise offered by the Obama administration. When no one is commanded by law to buy contraceptives, etc., how can this be an affront to conscience? Insurance companies must serve the conscience of all the people of the land, not only Catholics/those of us who hold to the seamless garment of life.
    No Catholic is being forced,nor even invited to use contraceptives. Those women whose conscience leads them to do so are not to be judged, according to the teaching on conscience of our own Church.
    This nation is not a Catholic Deli. the Catholic Church, by reason of separation of Church and State, cannot mandate the consciences of Catholic women, let alone non-catholic women.
    What disturbs me most is what appears to be the Bishops’ ignoring of the most fundamental understanding of conscience: that a truly informed, prayerful, charity-driven interpretation of the situation at hand is to be honored as the will of God for that person. It seems that the letter of the law has put the cart before the horse. I pray for thoughtful leaders of both our Church and our Nation.

    • ann laidlaw dc

      Dear Sr. Honora,

      Thank you; thank you; thank you for your comments. AL

    • kathy blonsky

      It is with joy and renewed peace that I’ve learned of Sr Carol Keehan’s reversal of her relentless support of B. Obama’s choices as manifested in his healthcare proposal. It has been obvious to many that his disregard of the faith and morality of so many citizens (Catholic and otherwise) in this country is horrifying

      Sister Honora is one of my very favorite Daughters of Charity. She is wise and kind and honest. I have always admired her and I love her. I can easily understand her misguided view regarding the actions of Carol Keehan. I’ve known Sr Honora for nearly fifty years.

      Yet essentially, I’m a Catholic pro-life worker rooted in Vincentian formation. In helping the poor, in serving the poor, my priority is Choose Life, a Scripture imperative to all. Could a penny of mine (and I have few) be allocated to obama’s notion of “maternal healthcare?” Not while I stil can object to the idea!

      As Americans, we have the right and the duty to object when law attempts to contradict and denigrate FAITH. I await a news-flash from famvin that will announce this near-miracle of Carol Keehan’s change of mind and heart.


  2. Georgia Hedrick

    To Sister Honora Remes: WELL SAID! No one is being forced to do anything. And yes, oh yes! Conscience is the last stronghold of liberty and truth–it is all we really have by which we make our choices.

    I remember years, oh many years ago, looking at a picture of my own sister, a mother of 4 little ones at that time. She was so worn, so thin, so unbelievably at her wits end in that picture. I felt so bad for her. I thought then: this is the face of needing to control the birth of any more children.
    She was the living face of total exhaustion.

    I think today: yes, we, who are married, must remain open to life, but the first life to be open to is the life of the mother who must provide and care for her little ones without a complete nervous breakdown.

    Bishops have no clue as to the weight of Motherhood on a woman.

    Even today, I see that picture in my mind’s eye of my sister, worn-out, and thin with trying to be a good mother. gh

  3. jbf

    Religious Groups Line Up To Support Affordable Care Act
    a broad coalition of religious organizations filed an amicus brief supporting the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that should give the lie to any claim that the faith community opposes the ACA. The brief includes a number of major religious denominations, including the policy arm of the United Methodist Church, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church. Additionally, the brief’s signatories include a wide range of Catholic groups:
    Benedictine Sisters, Boerne, Texas; Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Texas; Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary, New York; Dominican Sisters of Hope; Justice and Peace Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Massachusetts; Marianist Province of the United States; Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth Leadership Team, New Jersey; Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul of New York; Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation Justice Committee; Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Texas; Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Justice Team, Nebraska; Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, Missouri; Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, New York; Sisters of St. Dominic Congregation of the Most Holy Name; Society of the Holy Child Jesus, American Province Leadership Team; Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, US Province; JOLT, Catholic Coalition for Responsible Investing; Region VI Coalition for Responsible Investment, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee; School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund

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