Editorial | It's time to speak out
If not now, when? If not with a strong voice, how? It's time to speak out.
For many months, the Church knew this was coming: An option for health care in this country that was touted as providing for all. But it doesn't. The Department of Health and Human Services, under the auspices of the presidential administration, didn't suggest, but rather demanded that employers, including many religious institutions, provide contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans. The mandate also applies to non-religious employers who hold faith-based values close to their hearts.
The Church and her faithful have stood their ground in protest, even amid the confusion from all angles, including individuals and institutions who have dedicated themselves to tearing down the Church and self-described Catholics who have hailed the mandate as a salvation for women who claim their access to birth control is somehow threatened without it.
But let's be crystal clear here -- the Church, led by the bishops, is not attempting to block access to contraception or ban its use. Rather, the Church is fighting a government that is attempting to force it to abandon religious practices and requiring participation in a grave sin.
Catholics who are not informed on the issue need to be. Catholics who are misinformed into thinking this is a birth control issue or a war on women need to understand that it is not. Faithful Catholics who are engaged in this issue know that this has everything to do with religious liberty. These dedicated Catholics, much like the early disciples, have entered into the public square, standing firm with a belief in Christ and His Church, to speak the truth of the matter.
But it's not enough.
Now is the time for all Catholics in The United States to make an examination of conscience.
With an election year at our feet, it's easy to become dissuaded, to make this a political issue. But make no mistake -- it is not. When religious liberty is being abused, when its very existence is being threatened, it is time to set aside whatever previous priorities we might have as faithful citizens and look hard at the issue at hand.
And this is not just an issue for Catholics. This is something that affects all citizens of this nation. It's time to decide whether we as a people will continue to tolerate a government that wants to force us to act upon things some consider immoral. And this is only just the beginning. Contraception is the issue today -- but what about tomorrow? Where are we headed as a nation?
Freedom of religion in this country is exactly what has given us the opportunity to consider such things. When that is threatened, all of our other rights as faithful citizens are placed at risk. It's time to speak out.
- Cardinal Dolan shares fondness for St. Louis, speaks of religious liberty at press conference
- The Good Steward | Stewards of religious liberty counter distorted claims
- Religious leaders of other faiths speaking out against health care mandate
- Editorial | Vocations -- time to play our part
- Missouri Catholic Conference: Act now to preserve rights of conscience
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