Loading
Catholic service requires conscience rights, Boston cardinal stresses
By Adelaide Darling
Cardinal Seán O'Malley at the Ecclesia in America Conference Dec 12, 2012. Credit Alan Holdren/CNA.
Cardinal Seán O'Malley at the Ecclesia in America Conference Dec 12, 2012. Credit Alan Holdren/CNA.

.- Writing from Rome just a few days before the Papal conclave, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston called on members of Congress to support stronger religious freedom protections in health care.

“In short,” the cardinal said in a March 8 letter, “a failure to provide clear and enforceable protection for a right of conscience could undermine Americans’ access to quality health care.”

“Providers of health care, as well as those who offer or purchase insurance, should not face an unacceptable choice between preserving their religious and moral integrity or participating in our health care system,” he emphasized.

The cardinal, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, is currently in Rome, where he will soon participate in the conclave that will elect the new Pope.

In his letter, Cardinal O’Malley specifically urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support and pass the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013.

Introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) on March 4, the bill is being co-sponsored by more than 60 members of the House of Representatives.

If passed, the act would ensure conscience protections for health care workers, employers and individuals under the Affordable Care Act. It would secure the religious freedom of those who object to the federal contraception mandate, which requires employers to offer health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs.

It would also protect medical personnel from participating in abortions if they hold religious objections to doing so.
  
The cardinal’s letter in support of the bill follows a similar message penned in February by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. That letter also called for legal conscience protections for healthcare workers and providers.   

Cardinal O’Malley explained that ensuring religious freedom in health care “is of especially great importance to the Catholic Church, which daily contributes to the welfare of American society through a network of schools, social services, hospitals and assisted living facilities.”

He continued, adding that these “institutions, which have been part of the Church’s ministry since the earliest days of the Republic, arose from religious conviction,” and therefore are not secular entities. 

Conscience protections are not a partisan issue, but “are foundational to our American experiment,” he said, “and they have allowed people of diverse faiths and belief systems to make their own unique contribution to the common good for two centuries.”

“While those protections have long enjoyed bipartisan consensus, they are under greatly increased pressure today,” he said, pointing to regulations including the contraception mandate that threaten to coerce objecting individuals and organizations into violating their convictions.

The cardinal explained that in light of these threats, “legal protections which allow us to fulfill our obligation to serve others, without compromising our religious or moral convictions, are essential to the continued vitality of these ministries.”

“Resolution of this concern will benefit our working together in our country to serve those most in need,” he said.

Tags: Contraception mandate, Health Care, Conscience protections, Cardinal O'Malley

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

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
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
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Sep
2

Liturgical Calendar

September 2, 2014

Tuesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 4:31-37

Gospel
Date
09/02/14
09/01/14
08/31/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 2:10B-16
Gospel:: Lk 4:31-37

Saint of the Day

Martyrs of September »

Saint
Date
08/31/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 4:31-37

Homily
Date
09/02/14
09/01/14
08/31/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: