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An ovation for the bishop's message

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Feb 05, 2012

At this morning’s mass in my parish, the pastor read a letter from the Most Reverends Paul Loverde (Bishop of Arlington, Virginia) and Francis DiLorenzo (Bishop of Richmond, Virginia) calling for prayer, fasting, and advocacy to overturn the recent decision by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services. An excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a little over a week ago that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write.

And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies. In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law.

When the pastor concluded his reading of the letter, the congregation burst into applause. It was a nice thing to witness... now let’s hope the same parishioners turn that sentiment into action.

USCCB’s Webpage on Conscience Protection: “Bishops Vow to Fight Coercive HHS Mandate”

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 06, 2012 3:35 PM ET USA

    When the White House responded to the furor over their regulations, their first defense is that 75% of Catholics contracept. Bingo (in a manner of speaking)! If Catholics would walk their talk, and Bishops would hold them to it, our protests would not ring so hollow.

  • Posted by: Dan - Feb. 06, 2012 11:10 AM ET USA

    What could be a more dramatic and effective witness to this blatant assault on the First Amendment rights of ALL Americans than bishops and cardinals submitting to arrest and incarceration? This should not be merely a final option, but the first and immediate course of action. Rally the faithful, lead your flock!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Feb. 06, 2012 9:39 AM ET USA

    Parishioners can register their disapproval with Congress, but Bishops will decide whether or not to provide insurance for their employees. If they choose not to provide it, they may face fines, trials and/or jail time. Do they have the fortitude to go through that, or will they try to invent a compromise? Will they convert premiums into increased wages for their employees, or will they pocket the difference? Employees will be forced to purchase insurance whether or not the Bishops pay.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Feb. 06, 2012 9:26 AM ET USA

    It concerns me a little that the letter from the Most Reverend George W. Coleman (Bishop of Fall River, Massachusetts) mirrors that letter virtually word for word. I'm guessing that the text was provided by the USCCB. I suppose there is nothing wrong with using someone else's language, as long as each Bishop makes it his own in his heart.

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