Diocese joins national effort to restore conscience protection

Last week, the Catholic Key reported on the Jan. 20 decision by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception, including abortifacient birth control, and voluntary sterilization free of charge.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has strenuously objected to the rule because it includes only a very narrow religious exemption, leaving out protection for religious universities, schools, social services and charities (see Archbishop Dolan’s column on page 18 for more on objections to the rule).

In response, the USCCB is urging Catholics throughout the country to contact Congress in support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) which would restore the right of employers and health plan consumers to purchase health insurance without violating their religious or moral convictions.

Along with bishops throughout the United States, Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn joins in urging parishioners to learn about this important religious freedom issue and to contact Congress:

 

January 31, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I write to you concerning a serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that employers, including Catholic employers, will be required to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Health insurers will be required by law to include those “services” in the health policies they write. Individuals will be compelled to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has, in effect, put aside the First Amendment to the Constitution, denying everyone our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of conscience protection and religious liberty. Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics must be prepared either to violate our consciences, or to 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 comply with this unjust law. I join Cardinal-Designate Timothy Dolan, Chair of the U.S. Bishop’s Conference, and Bishop William Lori, Chair of the Bishop’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, in sending this letter to all our faithful, alerting you to this serious injustice. We are 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 the 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. We need the vigorous help of the lay faithful to reverse this action which affects the Church, business owners, and all employees needing health care benefits.

I ask you to do 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. Second, visit 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 your attention to this important issue. Be assured of my affection and prayers.

In Christ and Mary,

 

Most Reverend Robert W. Finn

Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

 

 

31 de Enero, 2012

Queridos Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo,

Les escribo con relación a un tema muy serio que impacta negativamente la Iglesia en los Estados Unidos directamente, y que ataca al derecho fundamental de la libertad de religión para todos los ciudadanos de cualquier fe. El Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos anunció la semana pasada que empleadores, incluyendo empleadores católicos, serán requeridos a ofrecer coberturas de salud a sus empleados incluyendo esterilización, drogas que inducen abortos, y contracepción. Las aseguradoras de salud serán requeridas por la ley a incluir esos “servicios” en las pólizas de salud que escriben. Los individuos serán obligados a comprar esas coberturas como parte de sus pólizas.

Al tener esta ley, la Administración, en efecto, ha puesto a un lado el primer artículo de la Constitución, negando a los católicos de nuestra nación la primera y fundamental libertad, aquella que protege la conciencia y la libertad religiosa. Al menos que esta ley sea cambiada, nosotros los católicos debemos de estar preparados para violar nuestras conciencias o rechazar las coberturas de salud de nuestros empleadores (y sufrir las penas por hacer esto). La única concesión que la Administración da a nuestra institución es un año para cumplir.

Nosotros no podemos cumplir con esta ley injusta. Me uno al Cardenal-Designado Timothy Dolan, al frente de la Conferencia de Obispos de los Estados Unidos, y el Obispo William Lori, encargado del Comité de Libertad Religiosa, al enviar esta carta a todos los fieles, alertándolos de esta seria injusticia. Estamos ya unidos con nuestros hermanos y hermanas de otras creencias y muchos otros de buena voluntad en este importante esfuerzo para recuperar nuestra libertad religiosa. En generaciones pasadas, la Iglesia ha siempre contado con los fieles para ponerse de pie y proteger sus derechos sagrados y obligaciones. Yo espero y confío que la Iglesia puede contar con esta generación de católicos para hacer lo mismo. Necesitamos ayuda vigorosa del laico para reversar esta acción que afecta la iglesia católica, dueños de negocios, y a todos los empleados que necesitan de los beneficios de salud.

Les pido que hagan dos cosas. Primero, como comunidad de fe nos debemos comprometer a rezar y ayunar para que la sabiduría y la justicia prevalezcan, y la libertad religiosa sea restaurada. Segundo, Les recomiendo visitar www.usccb.org/concience, para aprender más sobre este atropello de la libertad religiosa, y como contactar al Congreso en soporte de una legislación que podría reversar la decisión de la Administración.

Gracias por su atención a este importante problema. Les aseguro que están en mi afecto y oraciones.

En Cristo y María,

 

Reverendísimo Robert W. Finn

Obispo de Kansas City-St. Joseph

 

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April 25, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph