It looks like the Administration’s requirement that Catholic organizations provide abortion, sterilization and contraception coverage for its employees and hospitals provide those services as part of their operations is meeting with strong opposition throughout the country:
From the Palm Coast this report from my friend “JIB”
Our pastor read a letter from the Bishop of St. Augustine (our diocese) saying that the Church will not obey the law and regulation set down by Sibelius in regard to offereing contraceptives, abortions and sterilization as part of Catholic Church employee health plans and hospital operations.
Here is the letter from our bishop (Jenky, Peoria). I’m not sure if any non-Catholics will appreciate the addition of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel being inserted into all Masses in the diocese — the Church is going to war. Here is the prayer:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
UPDATE:Archishop Vlazny ,Portland Oregon:
Letter January 25, 2012 from Archbishop John G. Vlazny on the matter of freedom of conscience and decisions by HHS
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
It is important for you to know that the federal government has just dealt a heavy blow to the Catholic population and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
By this ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to violate our consciences or drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
We cannot and will not comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.
In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.
Thank you for all you do to build the Church and society.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend John G. Vlazny
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
From Mary D in NH
(MANCHESTER, NH) Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, and other leaders of Catholic institutions in New Hampshire are denouncing the recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) intends to implement a rule that mandates that coverage for sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception be included in virtually all health plans, regardless of whether the employer or the insured individual has a moral objection to such drugs and procedures. Bishop Libasci said the edict represents an untenable attack on religious liberty and a radical incursion into freedom of conscience.
“The HHS rule creates an alarming and serious concern that negatively impacts the Catholic Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith,” said Bishop Libasci. “The federal government, which claims to be ‘of, by, and for the people,’ has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people—the Catholic population—and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.”