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Archbishop responds to HHS 'compromise'

 

Archbishop Thomas Wenski
Archbishop of Miami

February 10, 2012

   
  We can appreciate the efforts of the White House to quiet the furor over the
President's HHS mandate that would violate the religious freedom of millions of
Catholics and other American citizens. However, it is still not clear whether
the proposed 'compromise' offered today is acceptable to the bishops and other
Catholic leaders. The devil, as they say, is in the details - and we await more
information as to the details. For example, it is not apparent that dioceses
that are self-insured would be granted relief by this proposed compromise put
forth without serious talk with the aggrieved parties.

Again, one must
remember that hundreds of Catholic universities, colleges, hospitals and other
entities offered comments to HHS before the mandate was announced. Our concerns
then were given short shrift by the Administration. The administration
continues to insist that the issue is about contraception; we disagree. It is
about the first freedom of our Bill of Rights: the freedom of religion and
respect for the rights of conscience. The president in thinking that somehow
fertility is a disease and pregnancy a pathology insists on classifying access
to contraception, sterilization and chemical abortions as "preventive care". In
doing so, he is riding rough shod over Americans' first amendment
rights.

We are gratified that most Americans of both parties and of all
faiths or no faith do appreciate that this is about religious freedom. Despite
the apparent willingness of the Administration to consider some changes to its
announced HHS mandate, a legislative remedy to this overreaching and
unprecedented incursion of state power into the domain of religious freedom and
the rights of conscience is still necessary.
   
 
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