Local

Cardinal condemns birth control mandate

Friday, February 10, 2012
Tags:
local

Cardinal George issued a letter Friday condemning President Obama's healthcare mandate that employers -- including Catholic churches and institutions -- provide birth control options as part of their health plans.

In the letter, Chicago Archdiocese leader Francis Cardinal George said that the requirement was negative and an infringement on religious liberty.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced January 20 that almost all employers must offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception.

"We Catholics must be prepared either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so)," Cardinal George wrote.

Institutions have one year to comply.

"We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs," George wrote.

George advised those opposed to the reforms to pray, fast and contact their representatives in Congress.

Bishop Daniel Conlon of Joliet wrote a similar letter last week, acknowledging that many Catholics dissent from the church's teaching on artificial contraception, elective sterilization and abortion. But he says the rules going into effect next year breach the separation between church and state.

Conlon made that assertion in a letter read before all Masses last Saturday and Sunday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requirement was issued on a recommendation by an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The academy says access to birth control improves maternal and infant mortality rates.

Cardinal George's Full Letter:

February 5, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you concerning a most serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced on January 20 that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those "services" in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the Administration has seemingly ignored the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation's first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. As a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics must be prepared either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration's sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America's cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. All that has been built up over so many years in our Catholic institutions should not be taken away by the stroke of an administrator's pen. This order reduces the Church to a private club, destroying her public mission in society. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same.
Therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration's decision.
A letter similar to this is being sent to their people by diocesan bishops around the country. I thank you for your consideration of this unprecedented challenge to religious liberty. You and your families are in my prayers; please keep me in yours.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Francis Kane Most Reverend John Manz
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Joseph Perry Most Reverend George Rassas
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Most Reverend Alberto Rojas Most Reverend Andrew Wypych
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Get more Local »


Tags:
local
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement