Religious Freedom: January 2012 Archives
William Edward Lori's essay, "The Jesus mandate vs. Obama's mandate" was published this afternoon in The Washington Post. Lori is the 4th bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport and the chairman of the US Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.
Two paragraphs of Bishop Lori's essay follow, but the full text is noted here:
Last year alone, Catholic Charities served more than 10 million of the poor, the needy, and the suffering throughout our nation. Catholic Charities doesn't know how many of those served were not Catholic, because they simply never ask. Our faith compels us to serve, not the faith of those we help.
Catholic ministries for the needy are as blind to race, creed, class, and gender as Jesus Christ, their founder. That any one of them, much less all of them, should be forced to choose between the Gospel mandate and the U.S. government's health care mandate strikes at the very heart of the right to religious liberty on which our country was founded.
Since it was announced on January 20th that Catholic institutions will be expected by law, to comply with Federal mandates to provide services named "healthcare" but really are procedures connected with contraception and abortion, several US bishops have come out against the Obama administration's war on conscience rights of people of faith, and the Connecticut Catholic dioceses (Hartford, Stamford, Norwich and Bridgeport) will be fighting Obama. Why is this important: conscience can't violated, Catholic institutions serve not just the Catholic population, but everybody. Catholics will not comply with Obama, it contradicts Jesus. As Pittsburgh's Bishop Zubik said, to hell with you Mr Obama.
What follows are a few paragraphs of Archbishop Mansell's February column in the Catholic Transcript (the full text can be read here):
We cannot comply with this edict. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America's cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. We hope and trust that she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
The Dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich, as well as the Ukrainian Diocese of Stamford, will be joining us in the Archdiocese of Hartford as we mount a campaign against this horrific development. Prayer and fasting are, of course, supremely important, that wisdom and justice may prevail and religious liberty may be restored. You may also wish to visit www.usccb.org/conscience to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact our Senators and Representatives to support legislation that would reverse the Administration's decision.
We must act strongly against this edict. It affects the lifeblood of Catholics and millions more who are not Catholic but whom we serve diligently. The future of all of us and our country as well is at stake.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell
Archbishop of Hartford
The Catholic Transcript, February 2012
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne, Jr., is not a completely reliable Catholic intellectual, but I think we ought to pay attention to today's opinion piece, "Obama's breach of faith over contraceptive ruling." I don't agree with all that Dionne posits, but it would be incorrect to dismiss the whole piece because he does have a point for us Catholics to pay close attention to.
One of Barack Obama's great attractions as a presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services should be treated under the new health care law.
His administration mishandled this decision not once but twice. In the process, Obama threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus and strengthened the hand of those inside the Church who had originally sought to derail the health care law.
This might not be so surprising if Obama had presented himself as a conventional secular liberal. But he has always held himself to a more inclusive standard.
His deservedly celebrated 2006 speech on religion and American public life was a deeply sophisticated and carefully balanced effort to defend the rights of both believers and nonbelievers in a pluralistic republic.
Obama's speech at Notre Dame's graduation in 2009 was another tour de force. His visit to South Bend was highly controversial among right-wing Catholics. Yet his address temporarily silenced many of his critics because it showed an appreciation for the Catholic Church's contributions to American life -- particularly through its vast array of social-service and educational institutions -- and an instinctive feeling for Catholic sensibilities.