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Citing Obama administration actions, US bishops establish religious liberty committee

October 03, 2011

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, citing recent actions taken by the Obama administration, has announced that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is forming an Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

“This basic right, in its many and varied applications for Christians and people of faith, is now increasingly and in unprecedented ways under assault in America,” Archbishop Dolan, the USCCB president, said in a letter to his brother bishops.

“The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued regulations that would mandate the coverage of contraception (including abortifacients) and sterilization in all private health insurance plans,” he continued. “HHS is also requiring that MRS [Migration and Refugee Services] provide the ‘full range of reproductive services’ to trafficking victims and unaccompanied minors in its cooperative agreements and government contracts —and we all know what that means.”

“Catholic Relief Services is also concerned that USAID, under the Department of State, is increasingly requiring comprehensive HIV prevention activities (for example, condom distribution), as well as full integration of reproductive health activities including provision of artificial contraception, within a range of international relief and development programs,” Archbishop Dolan added. “The federal Department of Justice has ratcheted up its attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as an act of bigotry.”

Revealing that President Obama has not responded to private letters written by him and Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Dolan stated that “I have offered to meet with the President to discuss these concerns and to impress upon him the dire nature of these actions by government.”

“The establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee is one element of what I expect to be a new moment in the history of our Conference. Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith and as a service provider. If we do not act now, the consequence will be grave.”


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  • Posted by: mwean7331 - Oct. 03, 2011 7:33 PM ET USA

    I most certainly agree with the comments from William Ronner. The Bishops need to take a stand regarding the receiving of Holy Communion by the likes of Pelosi, Sibelius,Cuomo et al. What are we telling the laity especially the young people anout the sanctity of the Eucharist?

  • Posted by: voxfem - Oct. 03, 2011 6:36 PM ET USA

    Holy Spirit, guide these men who have been chosen to lead the Church in the United States. Remind us to pray daily for them and shower upon them all the gifts and grace they need to be true followers of Jesus Christ and leaders of the Church.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2011 6:25 PM ET USA

    Sadly, very necessary!

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Oct. 03, 2011 4:33 PM ET USA

    Next move should be to attempt to save the souls of those Catholics who support these anti-Marriage and anti-Life laws and deny them Holy Communion. This is not an act of revenge but rather an act of mercy.

  • Posted by: Pro Deo et Hibernia - Oct. 03, 2011 10:45 AM ET USA

    Great move! Let's pray that this initiative yields actual positive change on behalf of religious liberty in the USA. It's about time we stand up to anti-Catholic bigotry.

  • Posted by: Michael.Chambers9422 - Oct. 03, 2011 9:20 AM ET USA

    Yeah! We need our leadership to take charge and take concerted action and call for all American Catholics to demand their politians vote for religious liberty!