26 January 2012

Archbishop Carlson Calls on Catholics to Fight for Conscience Rights Protections

Archbishop Carlson, in this week's Review, issued a call to Catholics to fight against the DHS/Obamacare mandate that all employers, regardless of religious or moral objections, provide free coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilizations:

Archbishop Carlson calls on Catholics to fight for conscience rights protection

by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Today we are facing grave and unprecedented threats to our religious freedom here in the United States. The Obama administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services, has decided to impose a nationwide mandate for coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs — including at least one abortion drug — sterilization procedures, and education and counseling to promote these to "all women with reproductive capacity." The HHS rule includes an exemption for "religious employers" so narrowly crafted that Catholic health care providers, educational institutions and social services agencies would have to be listed in the tax code as a church or similar narrowly defined entity, make the inculcation of religious doctrine their organizational purpose, and largely refuse to hire or serve non-Catholics to be fully eligible.

This attack on our religious freedom is unacceptable to Americans who cherish the principles on which our nation was founded. Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has pointed out the following:

• The contraceptive mandate imposed on health plans by the Department of Health and Human Services violates freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment and several federal laws.

• The Bill of Rights says we are free to live by our religious beliefs. Forcing all of us to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience.

• Never before in U.S. history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase a product that violates their beliefs.

The Church cannot, and will not, be silent in the face of this grave threat to religious liberty and the sanctity of human life. According to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, "The bishops of the United States have long supported the goal of universal access to health care. We have encouraged government leaders to advance this goal through morally responsible health care reform. At the same time, we have consistently stated that such reform must not become a vehicle for abandoning or weakening longstanding federal policies that respect unborn human life and rights of conscience." We bishops will speak out boldly—at every opportunity—in protest against all efforts to violate the right to life and the right to act according to one's conscience.

But as Pope Benedict said recently, to be heard the Church's voice must include the voices of "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity." All too often, the pope and the bishops are not taken seriously. We are "expected" to speak out on these issues, people say; it's part of our job. Only when the Catholic community as a whole joins us in refusing to accept the "radical secularism" of government officials, legislators and judges, will the voice of the Church be heard in all its strength and moral clarity.

I continue to urge everyone to write to your representatives in Congress and insist that respect for the rights of conscience be an integral part of all health care legislation and policy. This request has greater urgency now that the Obama administration has refused to allow Americans who work for religious organizations that serve all people the right to respect their consciences.

I call on every pastor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to join me in urging Catholics in all 11 counties of our Archdiocese to add their voices to those of the American bishops. We will not be silent. We must speak out in defense of life and out of respect for religious liberty.

We will not be silent, but will the voice of the Church be heard? Only if you join us in giving witness to the right to life and the right to religious freedom! 


To contact the Department of Health and Human Services:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775


To find contact information for you U.S. representative, see stlouisreview.com/1GL

To find contact information for your U.S. senator, see stlouisreview.com/1GM


PatO said...

Instead, why not fight against church protection for Fr Robert Larson, who raped at least 17 boys, and at least FIVE of his victims committed suicide in their twenties.

He spent 5 years in jail, and he has now retired and lives for free at the St. John Vianney Center, courtesy of the Catholic church contributions.

The question is - what side do you take, what do you do, and what will you answer when God asks you what you did.

Anonymous said...

Good for Carlson to speak out on this!

I disagree with this line, though: "Never before in U.S. history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase a product that violates their beliefs."
Here's some examples of items us taxpayers have, and continue, to have to purchase against our Catholic beliefs:
* Atomic bombs, i.e. real WMDs, not the made-up ones that got us to invade Iraq. We still have enough to level every town on the planet that has 10,000 citizens in it.
* Electric chairs and lethal drugs whose sole purpose is to kill US citizens.
* Unjustified wars like the immoral, unjust, and illegal invasion of Iraq based on lies. Oh wait - never mind! Instead of paying for that with taxes, Bush redistributed America's wealth to the 1%. The $2 trillion war was unfunded, but will force future generations to deal with staggering deficits.
* I think the list of things totally against a well-formed Catholic conscience could go on - the 3 above and Sibelius's mandate are good starts.

JPII fan

doughboy said...

done. thanks for making it easy by providing the links.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see everyone take His Excellency's advice and communicate with our lawmakers, but there is a flaw to it that I want to address. I haven't seen any of it yet, but you know that EVERY TIME WITHOUT EXCEPTION some public issue emerges calling for the participation of lay Catholics, within days there will also be widely published (true) reports that any number of bishops and the not-completely-dead-just-yet, but-vibrantly-heterodox LCWR stands in public oppositon to whatever the Catholic side of the issue is. I want to say that happens so typically that I am really thinking about retiring from any kind of public life as Catholic.

Anonymous said...


JPII fan, not to be pedantic, but "directly purchase a product" does not include the examples that you give. Words matter, and you do a disservice to the points you are trying to make when you make them in inaccurate fashion.

Don't get me wrong, minus the predictable and utterly factually inaccurate "Occupy Wall Street" type paranoia and hyperbole about Bush redistributing wealth to the wealthiest 1%(*), the things that you mention as being paid for by tax receipts are morally wrong(**), but they are not things for which we are directly forced to purchase. If I receive an invoice for an electric chair in the mail, I will let you know.

* - I guess this is the kind of propoganda we can expect when our sitting President can call checks cut to Americans who pay no taxes a "tax cut".

** - There are questions about whether the Iraq War was immoral; it is not quite as clear cut as you believe.


Overly Officious Unofficial Ombudsman (or OOUO for short, if you prefer)