USCCB says Senate vote ‘impels the church to strengthen its resolve’ on religious freedom

UPDATE: Church plans to redouble effort for law to protect religious conscience

From a statement just issued after the Senate today tabled the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act:

WASHINGTON—The Senate’s 51-48 vote March 1 to table the bipartisan Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467), sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and 37 other senators, impels the Church to strengthen its resolve to support religious freedom.

“The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Lori chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “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,” said Bishop Lori.  “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.”

Freedom of conscience has been in the forefront since the Obama Administration issued a regulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act forcing most employers, including religious institutions, to provide coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, even when they violate church teaching.

17 Responses

  1. The Queen of Sheba and the Citizens of Ancient Nineveh all turned over in their graves at once today! They just cannot wait to rise and condemn this present generation for its lack of courage and wisdom. People of faith, demand from your religious leaders that they do the right thing or kick the bums out!

  2. There is nothing surprising here about the Senate’s act; that body is controlled by the Democrat Party which has become increasingly liberal and at odds with the very Constitution itself.

    I suggest that the USCCB itself would not be finding itself in its present position but for the fact that it has always sympathized with the Democrat Party’s platform and agenda. Despite the disgraceful record of the results of Democrat social legislation, people continue to believe the hollow promises made by that party. That is an utter disconnect between what the party says and what we can see before our very eyes. It demonstrates the power of fantasy over reality.

  3. I do not agree with the bishops on this issue and believe they have been wrong.

  4. The Queen of Sheba and the Citizens of Ancient Nineveh? Oh brother…

  5. First, I sincerely hope that those who express an opinion here have read the Amendment. I found it to be poorly worded. When I asked my Bishop to explain two critical terms, he couldn’t. Let’s not pass something until we understand it and its potential ramifications.

  6. Who are we going to trust? The media? The Party of death which supports abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy? Accusations of “Election year politicking”? Or do we trust people of integrity and faith starting with our bishops? I hear falsehoods and distortions including “Election year politicking” I hear the words” fertilized egg” replacing “human embryo”. Above all we are seeing the “Free for me but not for thee” hypocrisy of the Democratic Party.

  7. Freedom of a well-formed conscience is a two-edged sword. It cuts those who would control it, either Church or State. It would appear that the Church is the more wounded of the two in this matter.

  8. Steve,
    which amendment are you referring to? Constitution, HHS directive, Blunt’s proposal, Bishops statement, or what ever?

    Oh well, we are finally finding out the interestingly & lengthy worded Health Care Act,, that HAD to go through so fast.

  9. Obamacare is incompatible with Freedom- period. And it’s ILLEGAL. This is not about Catholics, not about contraception. Wake up fellow Catholics!

    Play with snakes and get bitten. Obamacare has the camel’s nose of soicialized medicine under the tent. This is only the first insult.

    Naively refuting this on narrow religious grounds was FOLLY. (IIMHO)
    This was just the first insult. Leftists have a penchant for central planning and this mindset yields a population mgmt. and control bendt.

    If Obamacare stands, every subsequent proposal will be made a referendum on private religious belief and placed in the media’s Kangaroo court for public airing.

    They pay for your stuff they tell you how to live and how to think. It’s that simple.

    Denounce all ties to Government and condemn socialism.

    Who will help the poor? We must help the poor. (We the People) The Government is neither a charity nor a religion but craves the mantle of both. Our Charitable obligations cannot be pawned off on Government.

    Don’t let our Catholic church be split in two by entangling politics.
    Better to be smaller, sovereign and free if need be, then a pawn of pop-culture of Beaurocrats.

    Lobby for an end to charitable deductions as well. SEND THE GOVERNMENT BACK their patronage! We don’t need it we don’t want it.

    We’re not closing anything. We will continue to help the needy. We will dig deeper. Do as you must Big Governnment and we will do the same.

    How’s that sound…?

    oh yeah
    “Charity” with taxing authority is Tyranny

  10. Brian, I agree. In other times it may have not been so but more and more the costs of having the government do it for us have grown too great. The greatest cost is division within the Church and making government over to be a God to which we sacrifice unborn kids and our consciences. The elephants in the room are those Catholics who falsely believe they are entitled to “Free” contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients. They subscribe to a false economic theory and an even more false sense of morality.

  11. Jim,

    Is it just me or do we NOT seem to have come to grips with this crossroads. I have not even seen the subject of socialized medicine mentioned, let alone heard it discussed in any Church literature. It’s untennable.

    “Obamacare” and the socialist install is the issue. Freedom of religious and even non religious personal conviction is incompatible with socialized medicine.

    We still refuse in this country to engage in the central debate of our times. How do those who cannot help themselves get help?
    I believe it is OUR RESPONSIBILTY. And we have to say so.
    Do our best to keep ourselves off wellfare, our families, and then help someone in need. Private charity next and Government – last.

    We can do this. We must do this. We didn’t tend the garden, we didn’t defend ourselves, we didn’t make education of our responsibility for private charity a constant and central issue in politics, and now we stand at a crossroads. 30 years of veiled Catholic bashing is now gone overt. (IFinally) Our credibilty and authority within the community waning and freedom of thought is on trial.

    Mandatory participation by the public makes this wellfare not healthcare or insurance. Coverage for planned conctraceptive coverage takes this further out of the realm of “Insurance” and makes it more akin to a “book of the month club”

    It’s not insurance, it’s not about healthcare, it’s not about just Catholcs or religious belief. It’s about personal liberty,sovereignty and the role of Government.

    We did not pick this fight (although I believe we invited it) Catholics should choose what happens next. We get to choose how we react. Special carve-outs for us by well meaning officials would be very dissapointing and only delay the inevitable and seal our fate. Time to choose. To elavate the debate. Time to “move the poker game to our own garage”
    (Can I say that here?)

    Sorry for the long winded commentary. This has been bugging me for a long time and never hear it discussed. I am thinking now it is being intensionally avoided. It must be faced and the sooner the better.

  12. Our Catholic bishops have long advocated for health care access for all. It’s hard to argue with that. Canada has socialized medicene. Talk to a Canadian about how long it can take to see a specialist. Less than 10 years ago Canadian Docs were earning about 55 thousand a yr. Go figure how you’d want to dedicate 10 yrs of post high school taking some of the most grueling courses, find yourself without a “real” life after completing that course of training only to have the government tell you how to do your job. BUT the real problem with Obama’s plan is that it lacks subsidiarity. Everything is decided from the top including what the ethics are going to be. It is funamentally flawed in many ways.

  13. Then Canada’s freedom of Religious thought and respect for life is in severe jeopardy too. INMO. Healthcare “access” for all is wrong unless we offer to pay for it. Paid for by somebody else just is moral hazzard.

    We Catholics of all people know this. Who helps?- We help. Corrupting Government to assuage our own guilt, try to influence people to care, or get even with those who have more just shifts and compounds the problem.

    This is not difficult stuff. Government can be a force for good from the bully pulpit (and should) but it doesn’t have it’s own money, it can’t regulate thought, It can’t compel one person to work for another.

    Charity minus freewill is not charity, it’s tyrrany and in this social climate it won’t end well for Catholics. But hey nobody ever said this whole Chrisian thing was supposed to be pleasant or comfortable did they?

    This Government is all for us as long as we’re pumping them up and towing their line. Well we’re looking at the underside of the bus now. As it should be.

    We need look no farther then the public schools to see how this goes down. SEND the Government’s money back! Untangle ourselves from Government now or be split in two. This is so needless and non-essential to our faith.

    Thanks for the reply’s even if just to humor me.
    Glad I got that off my chest.

    Peace and ease,

  14. Trying to humor you- Not so at all! I’m a retired registered nurse. Our son is a Pharm. D. (Pharmacy Doctor). He works in the emergency dept. of a Catholic Hospital in the best medical center in the world. Our daughter is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a professor of nursing. Grandson is a nursing student. Canada’s freedom of Religious thought and respect for life is in severe jeopardy too? No kidding! Start monitoring LifeSiteNews. Under the socialized medicine system in Belgium, a nominally 70 % Catholic country, they are euthanizing at both ends of the life spectrum and now in-between for cases like ALS with organs sometimes being donated for transplant. Most of the time nurses do the dirty work of killing. That my friends is where we are headed under this system and in this advancing culture of death.

  15. 70 % Catholic country wow

    You know what. This is way bigger then Catholics.
    There is nothing more to be gained in this country humoring the disengaged and leftist media with proxy debates and guile. It’s time to get honest. Say what we are say what we will tolerate, abide and will not. This country is still beacon of hope. Let the chips fall where they may. I have plans to make and a family to provide for. I need to know the rules going forward. Socialist or Free.

    Demand honesty and straight talk from politicians and trust in God. He will look after his church and his people.

    I am trying to make my peace with this. 2012 must be a referendum. One way or another we have come to a fork in the road. May God help us choose wisely and grant us the courage to acknowlege the fork.

  16. DO NOT GO TO THE STREETS!!!!
    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS ADM WANTS!!!
    THEY WILL BRING OUT ALL “GOONS” MAFIA, UNIONS, OWS, ETC TO ATTACK US AND BRING CHAOS

    DECLARE MARTIAL LAW!!!

    FEMA WILL TAKE OVER – THEY OVERIDE THE CONSTITUTION
    THERE WILL BE NO MORE ELECTIONS!!!

    DO NOT GO TO THE STREETS!!!
    FILL THEIR EMAIL BOXES JAM THEIR PHONE LINES—-
    DO NOT GO TO THE STREETS!!!

  17. Sounds like somebody is trying to scare people. Whether this is wittingly or unwittingly it serves the purpose of those who stand against our bishops. People in MN and elsewhere check the websites of your bishops. For example: google “Minnesota Catholic Conference”– “Iowa Catholic Conference” whatever state you live in. I believe there is a strong chance you will find the nationwide rally advertised. In MN it is the HEADLINE on the website of the Minnesota Catholic conference.

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