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US bishops were prepared for battle on religious freedom

Catholic World News - February 10, 2012

The US Catholic hierarchy responded quickly and forcefully to the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate in large part because the bishops had been prepared for a political battle on religious freedom, according to a New York Times analysis.

Reporter Laurie Goodstein writes that the American bishops had begun planning for a defense of religious liberty seven months ago. The creation of a new committee within the bishops' conference, devoted specifically to religious freedom, was a clear indicator that the hierarchy foresaw major conflicts. The bishops were prepared for a battle, and HHS mandate was "their Pearl Harbor," says Goodstein.

The Times analysis suggests that the Catholic hierarchy is responding not just to a specific policy announcement, but to a broader concern:

The speed and passion behind the bishops’ response reflects their growing sense of siege, and their belief that the space the Catholic church once occupied in American society and the deference it was given are gradually being curtailed by an increasingly secular culture.

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  • Posted by: impossible - Feb. 10, 2012 8:56 PM ET USA

    More mealy-mouthed obfuscation by the bishops. Reminds me of euphemistically calling the war against terrorists as the "war on terror." Folks, it isn't the culture that's our enemy. The demise of our culture is the "effect" not the "cause." The cause/enemy of the Catholic Church and our Constitutional Republic are the liberal politicians who have been aided and abetted by the USCCB over the years. Bshops need to put Catholic morality ahead of their political allegiances.

  • Posted by: filioque - Feb. 10, 2012 5:24 PM ET USA

    This is too mild: "gradually being curtailed by an increasingly secular culture." No, we are seeing an active attack, not a slow encroachment. There was almost no resistance by the bishops to the slow encroachment of the last 50 years. No disciplining of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, no faithful instruction of the laity in morals or doctrine, no protection of the liturgy from trivialization and pop music, and no maintenance of a public Catholic identity. We have to fight as never before.

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