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Daily Message

"Politics and the courts are important. But our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith – in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it."

– Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Capuchin, Archbishop of Philadelphia


HHS Mandate


Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, greets a line of Filipinos in Anibong, a community in Tacloban, Philippines in February 2014. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn"Whether people are serving the poor elderly, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, or running a family business, like the Greens, the government should recognize that human dignity by allowing people to  live out their faith absent a very strong reason...The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) guarantees this protection. Thank God for RFRA."
- Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, KY, USCCB President


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule (June 28, 2013) on its mandate requiring employee health insurance for contraceptives, including abortion-causing drugs, and female sterilization. The final does not appear to eliminate "the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. 

Cardinal Dolan listed three areas of concern based on the March 2012 statement of the Administrative Committee, United for Religious Freedom: (1) the narrow definition of "religious employers" that are exempted, (2) the "accommodation" of religious ministries excluded from that definition, and (3) the treatment of businesses run by people who seek to operate their companies according to religious principles.  Based on the March 2012 statement, the final rule shows that the first and third concerns still have not been addressed. Additionally, the second area of concern appears mostly the same, except for three relatively small changes that will require more time and analysis to evaluate.

A statewide rally for religious freedom was held in front of the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka on June 29 and led by the bishops of Kansas. (Photo: Lori Wood Habiger, The Leaven)

In short, while the administration has delayed implementation of the HHS mandate for certain non-profit entities, moving the enforcement from August 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014, we must nonetheless continue to pray and take action on the religious liberty threats faced by the HHS mandate. We will continue to seek relief from the courts and from Congress for those who object because of religious or moral convictions.

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