(CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI warned today of a “grave threat” to religious liberty in the United States that requires American Catholics to respond with intelligence and courage.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: In what is threatening to become the story of the 21st century, religious freedom is being lost (particularly for Catholics) in the United States of America. The culprit is in 'how' the courts and the legislatures interpret the term 'religious freedom.' In that, the judges and politicians are interpreting 'religious freedom' strictly in terms of religious worship, meaning freedom to engage in the ceremonial rites of one's choice. While religious conscience, the freedom to morally act according to one's beliefs, is being ignored. The latest case with the Obama administration and the HHS is just another link in a long chain of offences. This however, is Obama's second attempt to take what had been a state and local conflict to the national level.
“It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres,” he said Jan. 19 in an address to a group of American bishops visiting the Vatican.
The Pope said he was particularly concerned with “certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”..
read full story here
(Star-Telegram) - The United States is a nation founded on the principle of life, liberty and justice for all. Throughout the history of this great nation, the religious communities and those in posts of civil authority have recognized that free practice of religious belief is foundational to our country.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." But in recent days the latest salvo in the attack on religious freedom was fired by the Obama administration and, sadly, by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic.
On Jan. 20, Sebelius announced the administration's decision to mandate the inclusion of particular health services in insurance coverage that would result in Catholic institutions having to provide coverage that violates Catholic Church teaching and, therefore, Catholic conscience.
The HHS ruling requires that sterilization and contraception, including controversial abortifacients, be among the "preventive services" coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans, including health plans offered by religious organizations.
read full story here
(CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, head of the U.S. bishops' conference, says the Obama administration has revoked the religious freedom of groups that do not regard women's fertility as as “disease.”
“The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone,” the New York archbishop and conference president wrote in a Jan. 25 Wall Street Journal editorial, addressing the government's final decision to require contraception coverage in most new health plans.
With this decision, the cardinal-designate wrote, “the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.”
On Jan. 20 the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed it would impose the contraception coverage mandate on most religious institutions, with a narrow exception for groups whose main purpose is the “inculcation of religious values” among people of the same faith.
“Even Jesus and his disciples would not qualify for the exemption,” Cardinal-designate Dolan noted, “because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.”
Health and Human Services finalized the contraceptive mandate just days before the annual March for Life, an event that mourns the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision...
read full story here
Previously, Catholic Charities have been shut down in a few states throughout the Union, due to the Church's refusal to adopt children to homosexual couples. Furthermore, the City of San Francisco, one of the most homosexual-friendly cities in the nation, has openly condemned the Catholic Church in an official statement, calling upon Catholics to openly rebel against Church teaching. The United States Supreme Court has sanctioned this action, allowing the city statement to stand, without any fines or penalties.
Now, the Obama administration has made two direct attempts to undermine and attack the inner workings of religious institutions in America. The first was in the form of forcing churches to hire women and doctrinal dissenters to teaching positions within religious schools. Thankfully, the Supreme Court struck this down unanimously (9 to 0) in what was a humiliating defeat to the Obama administration. With that failure behind them, the Obama administration has pushed ahead full-speed toward forcing all religious institutions (especially the Catholic Church) to provide medical services that directly contradict religious conscience. The administration knows this and that is why it is doing this. By pushing forward in driving a wedge between religious worship and religious conscience, the administration knows it can make inroads into controlling religious institutions within the United States, with the long-term eventuality of defining 'orthodoxy' for them.
Catholic bishops across the United States are unifying against this clear threat to religious freedom that is presently under way. Catholics are being urged to contact their congressional representatives and demand a stop to this assault on religious liberty. Non-Catholic Christians would be wise to join them.