At the conclusion of their recent fall General Assembly meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a “Special Message” regarding the HHS Mandate.
In their message, the bishops note how they used the session to discuss key issues of import and expressed that the preservation of religious liberty, especially as threatened by the HHS mandate, is one of their top priorities.
The message states that the government is “refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers,” in its coercive HHS mandate. The Bishops identify three problems with the mandate:
… [The HHS mandate] establishes a false architecture of religious liberty that excludes our ministries and so reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship; it compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception, which violates our deeply-held beliefs; and it compels our faithful people in business to act against our teachings, failing to provide them any exemption at all.
As is, the mandate would force Catholic ministries to choose between undermining their witness to the faith, or pay unreasonable and prohibitive fines. The bishops stated that they are united together in “resolve to resist” the HHS mandate. The message reads:
As the government’s implementation of the mandate against us approaches, we bishops stand united in our resolve to resist this heavy burden and protect our religious freedom. Even as each bishop struggles to address the mandate, together we are striving to develop alternate avenues of response to this difficult situation. We seek to answer the Gospel call to serve our neighbors, meet our obligation to provide our people with just health insurance, protect our religious freedom, and not be coerced to violate our consciences.
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