After Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced Jan. 20 that the mandate for non-profit groups to provide health care that violates its conscience would not be rescinded, Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan said President Obama “has drawn a line in the sand.” Here’s the archbishop’s complete statement

The president considers himself a shrewd politician, but I wouldn’t bet against Cardinal-designate Dolan on this one. Notice in his statement that he isn’t merely addressing Catholics; his words are designed to appeal to a wider range of Americans concerned about freedom of conscience and religious liberty. The cardinal-designate might be assembling more troops for this battle than the president anticipated.

St. Paul would be proud: Here’s a sample from Pittsburgh of how one bishop is reacting to the Obama decision Expect that tone to be echoed by other bishops.

The Obama Administration has handed the U.S. bishops an issue on which they could – and should! – get Catholics fired up about their faith; I mean, really fired up – an Easter Vigil fire in their souls. This is an opportunity for the bishops to demonstrate apostolic fervor and to continue rebuilding the credibility that was shattered when the sexual abuse scandal broke in 2002. As they say at the ballpark, it’s time to make some noise.

Sports as religion:  You can pontificate all you want about Prince Fielder’s $214 million, nine-year  contract being immoral and sinful, but if you buy tickets to Major League Baseball games — and I do — you can’t gripe. Once we decide to stop going to the ballpark and watching it on TV, the salaries will decrease. Until then, we’ll have to accept the fact that we are paying athletes and their agents what they consider a “living wage.”

Historic day: Yes, today is the Feast of SS. Timothy and Titus, but it is also the 50th anniversary of an action that took place in the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. On this date, Bishop Joseph Burke deemed “The Twist” by Chubby Checker as being “impure” and banned it from all Catholic schools. However, there is no truth to the rumor that, in 1972, a dissident nun broke the ban and was forever known as Twisted Sister. C’mon, you didn’t see that one coming?