Letter From Cardinal Dolan


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ABSTRACTCardinal Dolan Backs Respect for Rights of Conscience Act: Contact Your Legislator Now | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  April 8, 2012   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Christmas Music Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Cardinal Dolan Backs Respect for Rights of Conscience Act: Contact Your Legislator Now (4779) Letter asks Catholic leaders to 'act now by contacting our legislators' to support bill awaiting tough Senate vote. Share by CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN AND BISHOP WILLIAM LORI 02/22/2012 Comments (16) Cardinal Timothy Dolan – Michelle Bauman/CNA In the wake of the Vatican consistory where he was created cardinal, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, along with Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, called for immediate action to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. The proposed amendment, Senate Amendment 1520, faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate, where it is expected to come up for a vote the week of Feb. 27. The legislation will ensure that those who participate in the health-care system “retain the right to provide, purchase or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” In a Feb. 22 letter, the two Church leaders asked their fellow bishops to instruct the faithful to register their concern with their representatives. The full text of the letter follows: Dear brother bishops, Since we last wrote to you concerning the critical efforts we are undertaking together to protect religious freedom in our beloved country, many of you have requested that we write once more to update you on the situation and to again request the assistance of all the faithful in this important work. We are happy to do so now. First, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to you, and to all our sisters and brothers in Christ, for the remarkable witness of our unity in faith and strength of conviction during this past month. We have made our voices heard, and we will not cease from doing so until religious freedom is restored. As we know, on Jan. 20, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a decision to issue final regulations that would force practically all employers, including many religious institutions, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraception. The regulations would provide no protections for our great institutions — such as Catholic charities, hospitals and universities — or for the individual faithful in the marketplace. The regulations struck at the heart of our fundamental right to religious liberty, which affects our ability to serve those outside our faith community. Since Jan. 20, the reaction was immediate and sustained. We came together, joined by people of every creed and political persuasion, to make one thing resoundingly clear: We stand united against any attempt to deny or weaken the right to religious liberty upon which our country was founded. On Friday, Feb. 10, the administration issued the final rules. By their very terms, the rules were reaffirmed “without change.” The mandate to provide the illicit services remains. The exceedingly narrow exemption for churches remains. Despite the outcry, all the threats to religious liberty posed by the initial rules remain. Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government’s decision to grant it: It is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations. Recent actions by the administration have attempted to reduce this free exercise to a “privilege” arbitrarily granted by the government as a mere exemption from an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism. The exemption is too narrowly defined, because it does not exempt most nonprofit religious employers, the religiously affiliated insurer, the self-insured employer, the for-profit religious employer, or other private businesses owned and operated by people who rightly object to paying for abortion-inducing drugs, steril.......