"Responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation."
-- Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
By our baptism, Catholics are committed to following Jesus Christ and to be "salt for the earth, light for the nations." As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, "It is necessary that all participate, according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This is inherent in the dignity of the human person ... As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life" (nos. 1913-1915).
Visit the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.faithfulcitizenship.org, to read the U.S. bishops' statement on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, watch videos, download podcasts, and access other great resources on faithful citizenship.
Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your
Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome - for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us - this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
A recent edict by the US Department of Health & Human Services is “literally unconscionable.” It demands that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. For more information and resources, please visit the US Conference of Catholic Bishops religious liberty webpage.
Advocate: UPDATED Action AlertLast August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a list of “preventive services for women” to be mandated in almost all private health plans under the new health care law. This will include sterilization, all FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity.” HHS’s rule allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer.” Religious organizations providing education, health care and charitable services to all in need cannot qualify for the exemption. On February 10, despite a storm of protest, President Obama adopted this policy as a final rule “without change” (Federal Register, 2/15/12, 8725). Religious organizations that cannot qualify for the exemption will have an extra year to comply; but before the end of that period, an additional rule will be issued to make sure that their employees receive the mandated coverage despite the employer’s objection.
In a March 21 notice proposing additional rulemaking, the Administration suggests various ways the new mandate can be applied to religious organizations. The fundamental legal and moral concerns about government intrusion into religious ministries are not addressed. Whatever funding and administrative mechanisms are ultimately chosen, many deeply religious institutions that serve the common good will be forbidden to provide their own employees or students with health coverage consistent with their values. The time for public comments concluded June 19.
The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” On March 1, the Senate voted, 51-yes, 48-no, to table this bill when it was presented as Senate Amendment 1520 to the Transportation Authorization Bill. As Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the amendment’s sponsor, stated: “This fight is not over.” Continue to urge your Representatives and Senators to support and pass this bill.
Study the issue & then write to Congress urging support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act here.
Click here to listen to Fr. Trammell's homily on the importance of this issue, from February 5th, 2012.