Loading
Bishop Blaire rejects claims of division over mandate lawsuits
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif. has clarified that he is united with his fellow bishops in their efforts to oppose the threat to religious freedom posed by the federal contraception mandate.

“I stand solidly with my brother bishops in our common resolve to overturn the unacceptable intrusion of government into the life of the Church by the HHS Mandate,” said Bishop Blaire in a May 24 statement. 

He explained that he wanted to “clarify some misunderstandings” related to his earlier comments about the mandate.

A May 22 article in America magazine quoted Bishop Blaire as having concerns about an announcement the day before that 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations around the U.S. were filing lawsuits against the federal government.

Filed in 12 different jurisdictions across the country, the lawsuits challenge a federal mandate that will require employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences.

Bishops from every diocese in the U.S. have spoken out against the regulation, warning that it poses a serious threat to religious liberty and could force Catholic schools, hospitals and charitable organizations to close.

Several media outlets and commentators have used Bishop Blaire’s comments to suggest division among the bishops regarding the mandate.

However, Bishop Blaire said that his comments have been misunderstood. He stressed his full support for his brother bishops in their efforts to fight the mandate and protect religious freedom.

He noted that the bishops’ administrative committee issued a statement in March committing to fight the mandate through appeals to the Obama administration, Congress or the courts.  

“I contributed to and voted for this statement, and continue to support it, including its call for legal action as was announced on Monday,” he said.

Some liberal commentators have also suggested divisions exist among the bishops because not every diocese in the country filed a lawsuit. 

However, individuals involved in the strategy discussions behind the legal action explained that the initiative did not intend to have each diocese file a suit. Rather, certain dioceses were chosen to represent a wide cross-section of the concerns and interests voiced by all the dioceses in the country.

Numerous bishops from dioceses that did not file a lawsuit have spoken out in support of the legal efforts, confirming that they are represented by the actions of their fellow bishops.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who leads the U.S. bishops’ religious freedom committee, described the speculation about a lack of unity as “elements of the media looking for what they perceive to be a little, small crack in the wall.”

Speaking on EWTN's “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo on May 24, the archbishop said that these media reports are “missing the whole story.”

He explained that the bishops have held numerous discussions and “no one disagrees about our need to defend our religious liberty.”

Bishop Blaire believes that the recent lawsuits share the same “essential goal” as the discussions with the administration and congressional advocacy.

These efforts are all united in seeking “to defend the right of the Church to define herself and to preserve the identity and integrity of the Catholic ministries exercised through her institutions,” he said.

The bishop said he recognizes that religious freedom is critical in allowing the Church to fulfill her God-given mission. It is “totally unacceptable” for the federal government to force Catholic institutions to violate their core beliefs, he said. 

Bishop Blaire also urged efforts “to persuade others to join us in this just cause through reasoned civil and respectful discussion.”  

He said that he looks forward to discussions at the upcoming meeting of the U.S. bishops’ conference in Atlanta this June, which will provide “an opportunity to agree on next steps to achieve our common and essential goal of ending this violation of religious freedom.”

Tags: Contraception mandate, Religious freedom, Obama Administration

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
'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
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Sep
22

Liturgical Calendar

September 22, 2014

Monday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 8:16-18

Gospel
Date
09/22/14
09/21/14
09/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Prov 3: 27-34
Gospel:: Lk 8: 16-18

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 8:16-18

Homily
Date
09/22/14
09/21/14
09/20/14