Godspeed.

LINCOLN – The re-election of President Barack Obama may ignite a showdown with Catholic leaders over a federal mandate that religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals provide birth control coverage to their employees.

“The Catholic Church is not going to back down,” said Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, who will start as the new bishop of the Lincoln Diocese on Nov. 20. “We are never going to compromise our principles. We will defy it and face the consequences.”

Roman Catholic officials in Omaha and Des Moines expressed similar sentiments this week over a plan by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring all employers to provide their employees contraception coverage without copays.

The so-called HHS mandate for religious organizations, currently the subject of dozens of legal challenges nationally, is set to take effect next August.