The latest Administration rulings about the application of the HHS Mandate that insists on universal coverage for artificial contraceptives, including possible abortifacients and elective sterilizations still doesn’t respond to the standards of respect for religious freedom and freedom of conscience that are ours by virtue of being human beings created in the image of God.

After a week of analyzing this latest proposal from the Obama Administration the USCCB President expressed our willingness to continue to try to convince the government that the objectively inadequate “accommodation” continues to fall far short of the mark. (visit www.usccb.org for the text) The very definition they use for a religious group is too narrow and restrictive. Our Catholic institutions, hospitals charities, universities and other agencies of outreach to others, Catholic or not, continue to be at jeopardy.

The explanation of how these morally unacceptable devices are going to be financed seems to me to be a shell and pea game that claims money saved from non-existent pregnancies will be used to cover attempts to prevent more pregnancies. And the freedom of conscience and of religious conviction is still denied the individual employer and his/her place of business.

We bishops are open to discussion and always have been. But we will continue to press Congress and continue to seek redress in our court cases even to the Supreme Court.

To me, the major problem is in the very word the Administration uses: Accommodation. The state is not the giver of rights, especially religious freedom. We as citizens should not be accommodated as if we are marginal oddballs at odds with the seat of wisdom which alone decides what will or will not be. Every person and every religious institution already has from God what is guaranteed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights: freedom of religion and of conscience. We will continue. We need your support.

Pray that what is ours by right will be recognized and honored for the good of all.

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