Loading
Miami archbishop laments pressures against religious liberty
Archbishop Thomas Wenski speaks at a press conference on the upcoming visit to Cuba. Courtesy Archdiocese of Miami.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski speaks at a press conference on the upcoming visit to Cuba. Courtesy Archdiocese of Miami.

.- Efforts to restrict religious liberty break with American traditions and seek to “delegitimize” the Catholic Church’s participation in public debate, said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami.

“America's ‘first freedom,’ the freedom of religion, is under great stress if not under outright assault – and not just for Catholics,” Archbishop Wenski wrote in the Miami Herald April 23.

He said the Health and Human Services mandate requiring insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and some drugs that can cause abortion represents “an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government.”
 
The mandate not only forces religious institutions to “facilitate and fund” products and procedures “contrary to their own moral teaching,” he noted, but also defines which institutions are religious enough to meet an exemption.

Archbishop Wenski said the fundamental issue in the mandate debate is “whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”

“The Church cannot not oppose this unjust (and we believe unconstitutional) mandate,” he said.

The archbishop said the Catholic bishops will seek remedies from both Congress and the courts “rather than facing the shuttering of our schools, universities and hospitals by the federal government.”
Despite the present difficulties, he praised U.S. constitutional guarantees for religious freedom.

“America's first freedom, the freedom of religion, has honored America's diversity by permitting the inclusion of all its citizens in contributing to the common good of all,” he said.

“Separation of church and state does not require the exclusion of religion from society. To exclude people of faith from making their contributions and their proposals in the public square would impoverish us all.”

He suggested the new restrictions are evidence of a “reductive secularism” that has more in common with the French Revolution than with American traditions.

Archbishop Wenski warned of various other threats to religious liberty, including a “draconian” anti-immigrant law in Alabama that he said “criminalizes” Bible classes for undocumented immigrants; the exclusion of Catholic Charities from foster care and adoption services in several states; the State Department’s apparent revision of religious liberty to mean “merely freedom to worship”; and a recent court decision that barred conscience accommodations for federal contractors opposed to abortion.

Such efforts “seek to delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate about issues that will determine the future of American society,” he charged.

The archbishop said the Catholic Church does not seek privileges for herself but seeks the freedom to advocate her views in the public square and “to witness to them coherently so as to contribute to human flourishing in society.”

He noted that in November Florida voters can vote to approve the Florida ballot initiative Amendment 8 to protect faith-based agencies and organizations from state-level laws and regulations that affect religious freedom.


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

Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
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"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Aug
20

Liturgical Calendar

August 20, 2014

Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Gospel
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 34: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 20: 1-16

Saint of the Day

St. Bernard de Clairvaux »

Saint
Date
08/18/14
08/17/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Homily
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: