Miami, Fla., Apr 23, 2012 / 23:08 pm
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.”