Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2013 / 03:15 am
At their annual fall gathering in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops issued a message voicing their continued opposition to the federal contraception mandate and the threats that it poses to religious liberty.
"We stand together as pastors charged with proclaiming the Gospel in its entirety. That Gospel calls us to feed the poor, heal the sick, and educate the young, and in so doing witness to our faith in its fullness," noted the Nov. 13 message from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Our great ministries of service … strive to answer this call every day, and the Constitution and the law protect our freedom to do so. Yet with its coercive HHS mandate, the government is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers."
Passed unanimously, the message was the first statement issued by the general membership of the bishops' conference since the previous day's election of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., as the group's president and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston as its vice president. Their terms officially begin at the conclusion of the bishops' meeting on Nov. 14.