This undated image provided by shows a package of...

This undated image provided by shows a package of estrogen/progestin birth control pills. Credit: AP

E.J. Dionne holds that Catholic bishops are off base in demanding the "freedom not to pay for birth control" ["An end to this church-state battle, Opinion, Feb. 4].

But isn't that freedom in effect the opposite of oppression in being forced to pay for birth control -- and certainly an infringement against religious liberty?

Dionne also implies that there is significance in the fact that "most Catholics disagree" with the church in this matter. Here he has it exactly backward. The church doesn't teach what most Catholics believe. The idea is for most Catholics to believe what the church teaches.

We all have free will, so it's up to the individual, but the bishops have a special obligation to uphold church teaching. If the church teaches that it's wrong to tamper with the wellspring of life, the bishops have no choice but to oppose the Department of Health and Human Services mandate -- either directly, or by rejecting the cockamamie "compromise" the Obama administration proposes.

Catherine N. Dillon, Manhasset