Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop in Washington on his busy Wednesday — to publicly show his support for the nuns who have sued the Obama administration over the contraception coverage mandate.
That came after the pope said at the White House on Wednesday that freedom of religion “remains America’s most precious possession.”
“And as my brothers in the United States have reminded us, all of us to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” he added in the English-language remarks, a reference to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fight against the birth-control coverage mandate in Obamacare.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, told reporters that the pope’s decision to visit the Little Sister of the Poor was a “little addition to the program, but I think it has an important meaning.”
“This is a sign, obviously, of support for them” in their legal administration against the administration, he said — a visit “connected” to “the words that the pope has said in support of the position of the bishops of the United States in the speech to President Obama and also in the speech to the bishops.”
The Tenth Circuit ruled against the nuns in July, but the next month they received a reprieve from the contraception mandate until the Supreme Court decides whether they will hear the case.
— Ryan M. Thomas ن (@RyanM_Thomas) September 24, 2015