I interviewed Bishop William Lori, head of the USCCB's religious freedom committee and a leader in the battle against the contraception mandate, and he indicated that the bishops would like to see the difficult dialogue with the White House over modifying the mandate re-started. But he didn't sound terribly optimistic, and, he added, "to use a very good Rahnerian phrase, any discussion has to have the conditions for the possibility of success."It's not clear those conditions are there yet -- perhaps not within the church or without. From my RNS story:

"I think the hardest thing is that the administration deals with us in a segmented way," said Lori, who has testified before Congress three times in opposition to the mandate."If there is really going to be a solution to things, we ought to all be in the room," he said.Lori said the bishops "do not have a monopoly on the church" but are nonetheless "responsible for a large part of how this works and for the Catholicity of all the institutions. So there ought to be an attempt to have an inclusive conversation with the Catholic Church, and not a segmented one. And I think that is in part why we are in a fairly unhappy spot right now."Lori and some 40 other leading bishops will meet in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 13-14) for discussions expected to focus on relations with the White House and, in particular, the contraception mandate.Lori said that the bishops "are not looking for a fight with the administration." The bishops, he said, "are painfully aware that it is awfully difficult, in an election year and in the culture we have now, to have that conversation" about birth control."Are we doing it perfectly? No, of course not. But that's certainly our intent."

Read the rest here.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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