Cardinal Dolan Writes to Bishops, Outlines Religious Liberty Fight

Warns That «We Have to Prepare for Tough Times»

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 6, 2012 ( The situation in the United States regarding religious liberty suggests that «we have to prepare for tough times,» according to the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

Last Friday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York wrote a letter to all the American bishops updating them on what is happening with the Church’s opposition regarding recent changes in health care regulations.

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explained that in spite of an invitation by President Barack Obama to “work out the wrinkles,” the White House has now announced that the new regulations of the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been published in the Federal Registry.

He also said that at a recent meeting at the White House between bishops’ conference staff and White House staff, “our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are.”

Cardinal Dolan explained that the Church is prepared to continue to discuss these matters: “But as we do so, we cannot rely on off the record promises of fixes without deadlines and without assurances of proposals that will concretely address the concerns in a manner that does not conflict with our principles and teaching.”

Cardinal Dolan warned the bishops that “given this climate, we have to prepare for tough times.”

“We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” he said. “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it.»

Cardinal Dolan also pointed out that this is not just a Catholic fight. Many fellow Americans, he said, stand together with the Catholic Church at this moment, because he explained, this fight is not just about contraception and sterilizations, but about religious freedom.

Cardinal Dolan concluded by saying to his brother bishops that “we know so very well that religious freedom is our heritage, our legacy and our firm belief, both as loyal Catholics and Americans. There have been many threats to religious freedom over the decades and years, but these often came from without. This one sadly comes from within. As our ancestors did with previous threats, we will tirelessly defend the timeless and enduring truth of religious freedom.”

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