The refusal of the Catholic Bishop's Conference to accept the Obama compromise on birth control and contraception is a grave mistake.

It once again pitches the Catholic Church as right wing supporters, following a Republican agenda, a fact made clear by the move by 36 Republican senators to side with the church position and force a bill through Congress.

There is a time to declare victory before the hypocrisy emerges.

The bishops know darn well that 98 per cent of Catholics use birth control and they turn a blind eye to it.

In New York and several other states, Catholic institutions were mostly covered by the state's health care law mandating contraception coverage for women.


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Several leading Catholic organizations, including Catholic Charities, thought that the Obama compromise, allowing women to deal directly with the insurance companies in those Catholic institutions, had gone far enough.

The Bishops' Conference at first seemed to agree but later issued a statement condemning the Obama move.

It is clear that politics is at work and a slew of hardliners within the church are seeking an all-out confrontation on this issue.

That is regrettable, as opinion polls show clearly that most Catholics who are not in religious orders side with Obama on this one.

But the Church is not a democracy, a fact that becomes abundantly clear with each passing scandal and political shift.

They really had an opportunity to claim victory and the moral high ground, now they are acting as outriders for the GOP, and are the equivalent of the Tea Party.