“Compromise” Fails to Address Conscience Rights
Bishop Malone Continues Call to Action
February 22, 2012
I want to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to all of you who have taken the time and made the effort to contact your representatives in Congress to express your dismay over the administration’s mandate. The unprecedented outpouring of support for the Church’s right to follow the dictates of its teachings is gratifying and a source of hope.
Disappointingly, the administration's outreach at “compromise” as expressed in the president's press conference on February 10 did nothing to change the situation. Careful analysis by our legal and canonical staff at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington indicates that the claim that, under the terms of the compromise, the Church would not be forced to pay for contraceptive services nor would they be complicit since the services would be administered by the insurance companies themselves is in reality unfounded. We all know that there are few things that are free in this world and that free market agents, such as insurance companies, must pass on their costs to the client if they are to remain solvent. Although the presenting issue may be contraceptives, the fundamental issue that would set an unacceptable precedent is the violation of religious liberty. The federal government dictating to a faith community what it will and will not do is a clear violation of our constitution that cannot stand.
We continue to request that you stay in touch with your elected officials and ask them to work diligently at carving out a legislative solution that protects religious liberty for all. Please stay tuned to this web site for further information on progress at a resolution to this challenge.
The United States Catholic bishops and Bishop Richard Malone continue to express serious concerns about the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate that would abridge religious freedom. Despite talk of meaningful changes, HHS went forward with the original (August 2011) rule, promising that it would be revised later. That means, as it now stands, religious employers would not be exempt from providing coverage for sterilization and contraception.
Bishop Richard Malone
11th Bishop of Portland
Bishop Malone and the U.S. bishops encourage Catholics to contact their U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to voice their concern about the issue, stressing that it is a matter of religious liberty and conscience.
Please click on the links below to read more from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.