Skip to comments.Protecting Our Catholic Conscience in The Public Square
Posted on 05/24/2012 6:50:25 AM PDT by marshmallow
Cardinal Donald Wuerl is archbishop of Washington.
From an early age, Catholics are taught to see God in their neighbor. The Catholic faith finds its fullest expression in a loving act of sacrifice by one stranger for another. Imagine the churchs surprise, then, to be told by the federal government that when a Catholic organization serves its neighbors, it isnt really practicing its religion.
That is the unacceptable principle at the heart of a mandate, issued in February by the Department of Health and Human Services, that requires religious organizations to provide health-care coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, even if their faith teaches that those drugs and procedures are wrong. That is what has prompted the Archdiocese of Washington to go to court to protect our First Amendment right to practice our religion without government interference.
This lawsuit, filed Monday by the archdiocese and other Catholic organizations in our city, is not about contraception. Women are free to obtain and use contraception. The assertion that these products are hard to obtain or expensive is not true. Nothing in this lawsuit challenges womens right to obtain these drugs and procedures.
The lawsuit is about religious freedom. As is the norm with such laws, the HHS mandate includes an exemption for religious organizations. If the religious exemption in this case were reasonable, there would have been no need for this lawsuit after all, we are indeed religious under any sensible definition. But this mandates religious exemption is the narrowest ever adopted in federal law. For example, it doesnt include any organization that serves the general public. So under this mandate, our Catholic hospitals, schools and social service programs, which serve all comers, are not Catholic enough to be allowed to follow our Catholic beliefs.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...