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U.S. Bishops Vow to Stay the Course in HHS Mandate Fight


JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/14/2012

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ABSTRACTU.S. Bishops Vow to Stay the Course in HHS Mandate Fight | 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 U.S. Bishops Vow to Stay the Course in HHS Mandate Fight (3020) Led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the USCCB Administration Committee announced an upcoming statement on religious liberty, while legal and legislative remedies will be pursued. Share by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 03/14/2012 Comments (12) UPDATE : On March !5, White House spokesman rejected calls for further “dialogue” between church leaders and the Obama administration on the HHS contraception mandate. “The solution that was reached here … has been reached, and we firmly believe that it achieves the goals that the president set,” Carney said at Thursday’s White House press conference . UPDATE 2 : House Speaker John Boehner is under increasing pressure to end or delay his effort to produce legislation broadening the religious exemption for the mandate. On March 15,  12 Democratic women in the Senate issued a letter calling on the Speaker to “abandon the promise” he had made to bring legislation to the House floor overriding Mr. Obama’s birth control policy.” WASHINGTON — It’s rare for an upcoming administrative committee meeting convened by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to prompt a slew of news stories and opinion columns, but these are uncommon times. Today, the administrative committee marked the close of its two-day meeting with a statement that expressed the bishops’ resolve to win the battle to overturn the contraception mandate, putting to rest media speculation and partisan spin that predicted Church leaders might retreat from their public stand. “The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, gathered for its March 2012 meeting, is strongly unified and intensely focused in its opposition to the various threats to religious freedom in our day,” read the statement issued this afternoon, March 14. The statement confirmed plans to release an upcoming “Statement on Religious Liberty,” a document of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The document is likely to be the centerpiece of an ambitious, nationwide catechetical effort to present both Catholic teaching on religious liberty and the need for exemptions based on religious and moral grounds. Though Cardinal Dolan and other bishops have expressed frustration at the Obama administration’s refusal to broaden the religious exemption for the mandate, the committee members said they are still prepared to revive dialogue with the White House, while pursuing legal and legislative remedies. “We will continue to accept any invitation to dialogue with the executive branch to protect the religious freedom that is rightly ours.” “We will continue to pursue legislation to restore the same level of religious freedom we have enjoyed until just recently. And we will continue to explore our options for relief from the courts, under the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws that protect religious freedom. All of these efforts will proceed concurrently and in a manner that is mutually reinforcing,” read the statement. Over the past two months, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop William Lori, the chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, have traversed an unexpectedly hostile landscape shaped by partisan attacks, outright slander and internal criticism and dissent from influential Catholic leaders and commentators. Recently, media coverage of the upcoming administrative meeting aired rumors that the bishops might reassess their strong stand on the mandate — even after Cardinal Dolan recounted in a March 2 letter to his brother bishops that the White House had essentially ended a formal dialogue regarding a more robust exemption for church-affiliated groups. A March 13 story in Reuters reported that the USCCB Administrative Committee meeting would offer a forum for Church leaders who were concerned that “their battle against the Obama administration over birth control risks being viewed by the public as narrow and partisan and thus diminishes the Church’s moral authority, the sources said.” Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne .......