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Paul Ryan urges Catholics to act before religious freedoms erode


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
8/17/2012

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ABSTRACTPaul Ryan urges Catholics to act before religious freedoms erode :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Paul Ryan urges Catholics to act before religious freedoms erode By Michelle Bauman Vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan at a rally in Manassas, Va. Credit: Flickr.com-djbrandt (CC BY 2.0) Washington D.C., Aug 17, 2012 / 04:35 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- Presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says Catholics must act now to protect their right to religious freedom from being diminished in American society. “This is a time where people of all faiths – especially Catholics – have to stand up and speak for our rights,” he said. “And if we do, we will rekindle civil society.” In an August 17 conference call organized by the online fundraising group Catholics2012.org, Rep. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that he tries to apply the teachings of his Catholic faith to his work.  “I’m proud to acknowledge that it’s why I do what I do,” he said. The vice presidential candidate also discussed religious liberty concerns that have taken center stage in the Catholic community over the last several months. The concerns center around a federal mandate that requires most employers to offer health insurance plans that offer contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences. The mandate has drawn criticism from groups representing a wide variety of religious and political backgrounds. It is currently the subject of numerous lawsuits throughout the country. Critics of the mandate have said that it infringes upon religious freedom and could force Catholic hospitals, schools and charitable institutions to shut down rather than violate their sincerely-held religious convictions. Ryan warned that this “assault on our religious liberties” constitutes “a serious threat to all peoples of faith.” “It is a violation of the First Amendment of our bill of rights,” he said. The vice presidential contender cautioned that the philosophy behind such actions “seeks to displace civil society” and “crowd out our social mediating institutions,” such as churches, charities and hospitals. These are “groups that connect the person to the community,” he explained, and they play a role in implementing the principles of subsidiarity, solidarity and the preferential option for the poor that should be practiced in civil society. Ryan said that he “shudder(s) to think what the world could look like” if President Obama is re-elected and his administration is able to continue eroding religious liberty. There is a need for practicing Catholics to “get the word out” on these important issues, he said. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), who is also Catholic, warned that the mandate presents “an unprecedented form of government coercion.” “It is a different worldview that is operative,” he stated. Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Fortenberry introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act in the House of Representatives to preserve the conscience rights of employers and health care providers across the country. He explained that the bill simply restates “a principle that has been operative in our health care system” for many years. However, despite initially gaining momentum, including the support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and more than half of the U.S. House, the legislation has stalled in Congress.  Fortenberry emphasized the importance of fighting.......