Archbishop Lori praises religious liberty protections
The chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Religious Liberty says that expanded religious liberty protections in the federal contraception mandate are a "victory for the First Amendment, and a victory for all Americans, even those who don't agree with the Church's" teaching on contraception.
Archbishop Lori praised the new religious liberty protections.
Baltimore, MD, (CNA/EWTN News) - The Department of Health and Human Services announced revisions to the contraception mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act Oct. 6, considerably expanding exemptions for religious groups and others with moral or ethical objections to providing contraception in employee health plans.
In comments to CNA, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who has led the bishops' religious liberty efforts since the formation of the committee in 2011, said the announcement was "very welcome news."
"I think it restores a balance that was lacking," the archbishop said. "It permits us to do our ministries" without violating Catholic moral principles, he added.
The U.S. bishop's conference has consistently opposed the contraception mandate since it was announced in 2011. While Lori praised expanded religious liberty protections, he told CNA that "as important as the announcement is, it's a regulation that could be changed by a future administration."
He said the bishops would continue to work for "a more permanent solution" to the ethical challenges posed by the contraception mandate.
"We'll also see more challenges to our religious liberty," Lori told CNA. "We'll continue seeking a more robust understanding and implementation of RFRA laws."
RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is a federal statute limiting the government's ability to "substantially burden" the free exercise of religion. Since being signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, 21 states have enacted similar provisions.
Lori told CNA that "in addition to the various challenges we face on religious liberty at the federal and local levels, the biggest thing we need to do is effectively catechize, evangelize, and teach about religious freedom. That is job number one" for the bishops' religious liberty committee, he explained.
"On the one hand, we face specific legal challenges," he said. "On the other hand, we face a society losing sight of the beauty, goodness, and dignity of religious liberty."
The archbishop said that Americans risk "frittering away" freedom of religion if they do not actively work to protect it.
"Will we have a just society without protecting religious liberty," he asked.
In June, the U.S. bishops voted to permanently establish the religious liberty committee within the structure of the bishops' conference. It had previously been an ad hoc committee, which, by conference rules, could only remain active over a defined period of time.
"The bishops recognized that is important for us to teach, catechize, and address these issues," Lori said. "I was very gratified by that decision."
Lori also said that domestic religious liberty challenges should raise awareness of religious persecution around the world.
"It's said that nearly 70 percent of the world's population lives under some restriction of their religious freedom. That ought to be sobering for us in the West," he said.
"We need to be in great solidarity of prayer with those suffering religious persecution," he said, adding hope that American Catholics would support initiatives promoting religious liberty internationally.
The archbishop explained that protecting religious liberty domestically could itself have global effect. "By protecting our freedom, and keeping the flame of freedom burning brightly, we serve as a sign of hope" for persecuted religious believers around the globe, he said.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring Jan. 16, 2018, as "religious freedom day." This date was chosen as it is the ... continue reading
Catholic leaders have responded to developments in the legal battle over the DACA program, including a court order maintaining legal ... continue reading
President Trump has ordered three B-2 stealth bombers to Guam, in a surprise show of force. It is unclear if the move has been planned for ... continue reading
The State Department on Thursday unveiled its list of countries designated as the worst offenders against religious liberty. Advocates of ... continue reading
On this Feast of the Holy Innocents let us demand that abortion is not health care. It is a barbaric practice masquerading as freedom. ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Science is transforming the pro-life debate for the better HD Video
- 5 Things You Need To Know About 'Offering A Mass' For A Loved One
- Cardinal Dolan asks the faithful to pray against 'powers of darkness' ...
- Most Americans want abortion restricted, if not outlawed
- Daily Readings for Saturday, January 20, 2018
- Daily Reading for Monday, January 22nd, 2018 HD Video
- St. Fabian: Saint of the Day for Saturday, January 20, 2018
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, January 21st, 2018 HD
- Jobless claims are down - what does that mean for workers? HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, January 20th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education