Church leaders view religious freedom order as positive step


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ABSTRACTChurch leaders view religious freedom order as positive step Welcome Login Share Catholic News Service Home News News Photos/Graphics Video Vatican Special Sections Election 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy Blogs CNS Blog Vatican II: 50 years RSS Feeds Extras Movies Saints Sunday Scriptures Church Document | Origins Services About Contact CNS CNS Staff Our Clients CNS Mission and History Frequently Asked Questions search News Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com. Church leaders view religious freedom order as positive step By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service 5.4.2017 4:12 PM ET previous 6 photos next Photo Galleries Share CNS Permissions related items 'Ad limina' meeting was a 'sharing among shepherds,' Cuban bishop says Church leaders say EU countries ignore pledges on religious freedom Pope, Myanmar leader meet, launch diplomatic relations WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Many religious leaders viewed President Donald Trump's executive order on religious freedom, which he signed in a White House Rose Garden ceremony May 4, as a step in the right direction. In a ceremony for the National Day of Prayer prior to signing the executive order, Trump told the assembled religious leaders: "We're taking big steps to protect religious liberty" and he assured them the government "won't stand for religious discrimination." Three religious leaders, including Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, offered prayers during the ceremony. Just prior to the event, Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with Trump about the order. In an interview with Catholic News Service at Reagan National Airport just after the White House ceremony, Cardinal DiNardo said the meeting with the president was brief but productive. Earlier, in a statement, the cardinal said the executive order "begins the process of alleviating the serious burden of the HHS mandate," referring to the mandate issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services requiring most religious employers to provide coverage of artificial birth control for their employees even if they morally oppose it. But Cardinal DiNardo also stressed that the U.S. bishops will "have to review the details of any regulatory proposals." The text of the order, "Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty," states that cabinet offices "shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate." During the White House ceremony, Trump told some of the Little Sisters of the Poor in the crowd: "Your long ordeal will soon be over." The sisters are just one of the groups that challenged the federal contraceptive mandate all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Mother Loraine Marie Maguire, superior of the Little Sisters' Baltimore province, said in a statement that the sisters are "grateful for the president's order and look forward to the agencies giving us an exemption so that we can continue caring for the elderly poor and dying" without fear of government punishment. Another aspect of the order is a weakening of what Trump called the "unfair" Johnson Amendment during the May 4 event. The 1954 amendment bans churches and nonprofit organizations of all types from participating in partisan political activity at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. Trump told the religious leade.......