Tag Archives: religious liberty

Archbishop Dolan on Obama’s healthcare reform law and protecting our religious freedom

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece of New York’s Archbishop, Timothy Michael Dolan, today. You can read the entire op-ed piece of Archbishop Dolan here:  WSJ-ObamaCare-and-Religious-Freedom.pdf

An excerpt follows:

Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries–so that they will fall under the narrow exemption–or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.

The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.

Timothy Michael Dolan, PhD

Archbishop of New York

Wall Street Journal

25 January 2012

Archbishop Wenski: Protect rights of conscience, Mr. President

Thomas Wenski.jpg

In today’s editorial piece, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski personally addressed the US President Barack Obama on matters pertaining to conscience and religious freedom. Conscience is more than a policy; conscience is a basic human right given by God Himself. It is good piece for all to read –especially Catholics– as it outlines recent history lest we forget. Wenski is right to bring to light the transgressions on conscience by this Administration. Our thanks to the Archbishop for teaching the faith. Thoughts?

In May 2009, President Obama gave the commencement address at Notre Dame University and received an honorary degree. That Notre Dame would confer an honorary degree on an elected official who advances abortion rights in contradiction to Catholic teaching caused no small controversy among many Catholics throughout the United States.

Those who supported Notre Dame felt vindicated, however, when in his speech the President promised tohonor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion,” stating that his Administration would provide “sensible” protections for those who wanted no involvement in the procedure. This would presumably include health-care providers, social-service providers, and consumers who might otherwise have to pay through their health-care plans for other people’s abortions. Obama later reiterated this position to Catholic newspaper editors, stating that he would make such protections “robust.”

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USCCB Religious Liberty committee and consultants finalized

The USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty headed up by Bishop William Edward Lori announces the bishops and consultants:

Ten bishops and 10 consultants were named to the committee in early November.

New members are Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa.; Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta; Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and
Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill.; Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala.; Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle; and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

Consultants include Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus; attorneys Kevin Baine, Philip Lacovara and L. Martin Nussbaum; Father Raymond J. de Souza, a columnist and priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario;
Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science at the University of Notre Dame; John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America; Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law School professor; Judge Michael
McConnell, Stanford University Law School professor; and Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Lori said we need to have “a new appreciation for religious liberty and a renewed determination to defend it.”

As mere commentary, the lay members of this committee are impressive.

Ad Limina of New England bishops 2011

bishops waiting to see Pope.jpgThere’s not been lots of details revealed about the recent Ad Limina of New England’s 18 bishops. That may be because most of the meetings are private affairs between a bishop –or a group of bishops– and the Pope and his 12 key Vatican collaborators. The pilgrimage in Rome happened 3-9 November. The two New England Metropolitans, Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Mansell, led the bishops with the coordinating help of Bishop Evans.

There are things that are becoming more known because of the generosity of the bishops speaking about their experiences and their concerns. 
Several stories of the recent Roman pilgrimage are noted here:
Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap: “Together with the Holy Father
Burlington’s Bishop Salvatore Matano: “US ad limina visits in focus

Belmont Abbey College files suit against government

A great example of religious freedoms being trampled is what’s happening with Belmont Abbey College. This is exactly what Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Lori are working on with the new Ad Hoc Committee of the USCCB on Religious Freedom (see previous posts linked on the right).

Belmont Abbey College is being forced by Federal government to provide contraceptives to employees of the College going against the clear, consistent and well-known Catholic teaching. This is not merely the teaching of a small and localized group of “conservative monks” or an over zealous bishop, but the teaching of a global Church founded by Jesus Christ.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is handling the lawsuit.
The story in The Washington Post can be read here.
Let’s beg the Holy Spirit’s guidance for Abbot Placid Solari, the College President and the lawyers. May Saint Benedict guide the hearts and minds of the monks.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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