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US bishops: ‘we will not rest’ until conscience protection restored

March 02, 2012

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement in response to the Senate’s decision to table the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.

“The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now,” said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. “We will continue our strong defense of conscience rights through all available legal means. Religious freedom is at the heart of democracy and rooted in the dignity of every human person. We will not rest until the protection of conscience rights is restored and the First Amendment is returned to its place of respect in the Bill of Rights.”

“I am grateful today to Senator Roy Blunt and the 47 other Senators who cast a bipartisan vote reaffirming our nation’s long tradition of respect for rights of conscience in health care,” he added. “We will build on this base of support as we pursue legislation in the House of Representatives, urge the Administration to change its course on this issue, and explore our legal rights under the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”


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Show 9 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 05, 2012 6:04 PM ET USA

    Do the millions of dollars received by the USCCB's causes justify aiding and abetting the election of the most pro-abortion president in history? Does the excuse of preservation of tax-exempt status (which expressing the truth would not jeopardize anyhow) justify issuing ambiguous voting guides under the title "Faithful" Citizenship?

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Mar. 04, 2012 10:26 PM ET USA

    There is a way out, but it is ugly and despicable. Refuse to provide coverage. Refuse to pay the fines. Then, the faithful will need to step in and refuse to allow the authorities into the buildings. Peaceful resistance a la MLK. When the nation sees priests and nuns dragged off to prison for following their beliefs, it will sink in to them. Until then, our culture is too immersed and distracted. Maybe I'm cynical, maybe I'm practical. The fact that I can't tell makes me sad.

  • Posted by: miked.doc6394 - Mar. 04, 2012 7:48 PM ET USA

    First things first… The hole is so deep the Church could lose their rights in this country to teach any truth at all. Look at what is happening in Canada. We are dealing with people, Catholics, non Catholics and non Christians included, who have no relationship with Christ. The next step for them is not teaching on contraception. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. It’s like Duns Scotus said, lets first protect our right to even be Catholic, then we can begin again to convert those who have strayed.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 02, 2012 11:12 PM ET USA

    Miked, 1907 tells how those in authority should act. It is important for their salvation, not mine. 2370 tells me that using artificial contraception is intrinsically evil and so it is important for my salvation, not those in authority. Since 95 percent of women of childbearing age in the catholic church either use contraception or are sterilized, I think the bishops have a huge problem in house. So what if we retain our religious liberty and continue to cooperate with an intrinsic evil.

  • Posted by: bnewman - Mar. 02, 2012 10:11 PM ET USA

    Well said Miked! This is not about contraception. It is about the State telling you "You must pay for it." even if you think it is wrong. Of course abortion is next when Obama prevails, and then later other worse things. Heavy fines to enforce this will put the Church completely out of business in the USA. All bishops have now figured this out. In past times the Catholic Church in England was fined until every Catholic was broke or left the country. Obama does not like the Catholic Church.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Mar. 02, 2012 8:37 PM ET USA

    AgnesDay & camdens8887 don't understand that, if the Bishops lose this battle, they won't be able to teach anyone anything. Making this fight about Contraception, which it is not, is the fastest way to lose it. Yes, the Bishops should teach the evil of Contraception, and, in a sense, they have been asleep at the wheel and are now reaping the dragon's teeth, but the fight they must wage now is for religious freedom. Lose it and nothing else matters.

  • Posted by: miked.doc6394 - Mar. 02, 2012 6:31 PM ET USA

    Freedom of religion is a teaching of the Church and thus a salvation issue. You are falling into the oppositions hands if you try to make this about contraception. No one is trying to ban contraception. We are fighting for freedom of religion. The battle against contraception is a battle to be faught in the heart, not the courts. Read Catechism number 1907.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 02, 2012 5:44 PM ET USA

    Right you are, Camdens8887. To say that is to admit that the bishops have been asleep at the wheel for two generations. To teach Catholics (and everyone else) that contraception is harmful (and therefore, immoral) would render the conscience laws irrelevant.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 02, 2012 9:33 AM ET USA

    He should have said "we will not rest until all Catholics know that artificial contraception is an intrinsic evil". Bishops seem to be more interested in our rights than in our souls.