Catholic World News

Bishop Zubik: Why should Church cede its religious freedom to the government?

June 08, 2012

Writing for USA Today, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh summarized what is at stake in the debate over the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate.

“Should the Church negotiate more before filing lawsuits? We already have,” he said. “But what exactly can we negotiate when it comes to religious freedom already guaranteed by the Constitution? Why are we now forced to concede to the government religious freedom that has always been guaranteed by the Constitution?”

“Much of the so-called accommodation is just smoke and mirrors, an accounting sleight-of-hand over who directly pays the tab,” he continued. “There's been no ‘accommodation’ to broaden the very narrow so-called religious exemption. Church-related institutions will still be subject to the mandate.”

“These lawsuits ask that religious freedoms be recognized and respected as they were before the mandate,” he concluded. “The Church cannot be forced to violate its own sacred beliefs. To do so starkly contradicts everything we have been taught and know about religious freedom in the United States.”

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  • Posted by: Jim.K - Jun. 09, 2012 2:44 PM ET USA

    Perhaps, but the practices of the Christian Scientists were causing physical and mental harm to children. The Catholic Church policies are protecting children. That is a huge difference.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 09, 2012 10:05 AM ET USA

    The disturbing problem is this, American Courts have been allowing unconstitutional behavior and creating rights for years. It says in the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident.." In that statement is the heart of Vatican II, that the individual believer has the power and right to discern within the scope of his individual life, so long as it does conflict with doctrine. The "Courts" did not give us the right, and the courts cannot take it away. JP

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jun. 08, 2012 7:50 PM ET USA

    At today's religious freedom rally, Michael Dunnigan had it right; accommodations are not the answer. Only total repeal of Obamacare is the answer. God protect us from those who "have our best interests" at heart, with souls black with error.

  • Posted by: rpp - Jun. 08, 2012 1:39 PM ET USA

    Christian Scientists, not Catholics, were the first to lose Religious Freedom. That began when courts began prosecuting parents with religious beliefs against modern medicine, for child abuse/endangerment for not seeking modern medical treatment for their children. The state argued a "compelling interest" to protect children. The government will argue, "compelling interest" again. Modern medicine is now less about progress and more of a cudgel for those who seek to remake the world without God.