In the coming year, Catholic and other Christian leaders face tough choices concerning the HHS contraceptive mandate. They can refuse to comply and decline to pay the consequent fines, or try to pay them; they can divest themselves of institutions that the regulation will impact; they can seek some unexplored compromise or way of circumventing the law; or they can simply give in and comply with the government coercion under protest.

Archbishop Chaput, in a column for the online journal Public Discourse, writes about the examples of the saintly martyrs Thomas More and John Fisher. Their witness from 16th century England is stark: America’s Catholic bishops cannot simply grumble and go along with the mandate without implicating themselves in cowardice.