August 23, 2012
Crossroads for the United States
By Archbishop Henry J. Mansell *

By Archbishop Henry J. Mansell *

I wrote my column for the July issue of The Catholic Transcript a few hours after the decision of the Supreme Court was announced on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What I said then by way of initial observations continues to be true.

As I indicated at that time, freedom of religion was not specifically addressed in the wording of the decision. It is accurate to state that the 22 federal court cases filed by 43 individuals and Catholic organizations against the mandates imposed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services continue to move forward.

The Court did not rule on the constitutionality of forcing people and insurance programs to pay for surgical sterilizations, contraception, and abortion inducing drugs. The rights of religious liberty and freedom of conscience are involved here.

It is important to note that Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, “Even if the taxing power enables Congress to impose a tax on non-obtainable health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the Constitution.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing also for the majority, went on to state, “Other provisions of the Constitution also check congressional overreaching. A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”

It is clear that the Health and Human Services mandate must continue to be challenged. It does explicitly interfere with the free exercise of religion by forcing religious organizations to violate their religious beliefs.

Government Administration officials continue to define religious institutions as entities that hire and serve mostly people of their own religion. They would attempt to nullify, therefore, the religious exemptions of Catholic Charities, universities, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. They fail to understand that we sponsor these institutions, serving a wide variety of people, precisely because we are Catholic.

It is encouraging to report that some progress apparently is being developed. Discussions with representatives from Congress are indicating more appreciation for the importance of religious freedom and freedom of conscience in our laws and mandates.

The threats to religious freedom are ominous, calling for the active involvement of all of us. It is especially critical that we continue to contact those in public office, and those running for office, with our convictions on these matters. Religious freedom is a fundamental pillar of our society.  We must be passionate in its support and stand forcefully against its erosion.

As you know, we are sending out weekly bulletins to our parishes for their publication. We are addressing the issues on television and radio, and our Archdiocesan website is covering the concerns carefully. Of course, The Catholic Transcript is steadfast in its coverage and advocacy.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is most supportive in its “Text Freedom” work. If you text the word FREEDOM (or LIBERTAD in Spanish) to 377377 on your mobile devices, you will receive timely information and alerts for helpful action.

These are momentous days for our country and our Church, a crossroads for the United States.


Reprinted with permission from the Catholic Transcript, official newspaper for the diocese of Hartford.

Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell is the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut.
« Previous entry     Back to index     Next entry »
Ads by Google
(What's this?)
blog comments powered by Disqus


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 21, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Text only

Follow us: