There has been much reaction to the recent HHS edict that will force Catholics to violate their conscience.
Bishop David Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh wrote, “It is really hard to believe that it happened. It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, “To Hell with you!” There is no other way to put it.” Read the rest here.
Bishop Joseph McFadden of the Diocese of Harrisburg said, “Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.” Read the entire statement here.
Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton wrote, “Simply put, as Catholics, we cannot comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. 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. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.” Read the entire letter here.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia wrote, “Bishops and lay Catholic leaders across the United States have made it clear that we cannot comply with this unjust law without compromising our convictions and undermining the Catholic identity of many of our service ministries. This is not just another important issue among the many we need to be concerned about. This ruling is different. This ruling interferes with the basic right of Catholic citizens to organize and work for the common good as Catholics in the public square.”
In her column “Free Exercise No Longer Free or Exercisable,” PCC’s Joelle Shea writes, “Do not be falsely led into believing that this edict is only about contraception – a teaching of the church that many Catholics admittedly may not fully understand or follow. The HHS mandate insidiously uses a tried and true tactic of targeting an unpopular position first in the effort to raze an entire principle.”
Bishop Trautman of the Diocese of Erie said, “I want to underscore the fact that this is not a Republican or a Democratic issue, but rather a fundamental, constitutional issue. At stake is our own constitutional right to religious liberty andfreedom of conscience protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asks about a Catholic bias, “The government allows other religions to live out their beliefs. The Amish and Christian Scientists have a conscientious objection to health insurance, and so the law exempts them from buying it. The government acknowledges the right of these religious groups to live out their religious convictions in U.S. society. Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed?” Read the rest here.
Here is a video message from New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the president of the USCCB: