religious liberty

Bishops address religious liberty, health care, worship

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., left, and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, La., prayed June 14 during the opening session of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual spring assembly in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Reflecting their concern that religious liberty at home and abroad remains a top priority, the U.S. bishops during their spring general assembly in Indianapolis voted to make permanent their Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

Voting 132-53 with five abstentions June 15, the second day of the assembly, the bishops' action came less than a week before the start of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. The observance is a two-week period of prayer, advocacy and education on religious freedom.

St. Louis Catholics file lawsuit over reproductive decisions ordinance

Photo by Lisa Johnston | lisajohnston@archstl.org  | Twitter @aeternusphoto Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke May 22 at a press conference announcing a federal lawsuit filed against the city of St. Louis over an ordinance that adds reproductive decisions as protected classes.

UPDATED MAY 22 AT 12:00 PM

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson reiterated that the archdiocese "will not comply" with a St. Louis ordinance that violates religious freedom.

St. Louis archdiocesan elementary schools joined Our Lady's Inn, O'Brien Industrial Holdings LLC and Frank Robert O'Brien in a federal lawsuit filed May 22 by the Thomas More Society. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Attorney general has a heart for defending religious liberty

The right of Americans to live out their faith in the public square is paramount to Missouri's new attorney general, Josh Hawley.

Hawley has firsthand experience in defending religious liberty as an attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which sucessfully defended Hobby Lobby before the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services several years ago.

Mayor signs reproductive decisions bill opposed by archdiocese

Lisa Johnston  |  lisajohnston@archstl.org  |  twitter: @aeternusphoto

Ward 08 Alderman Stephen Conway voiced his disapproval for Board Bill 203 during discussion at the Board of Aldermen meeting. The St. Louis City Board of Aldermen voted to perfect Board Bill 203. The proposed St. Louis City ordinance was proposed to prohibit discrimination based on a person's reproductive health decisions or pregnancy. The Archdiocese of St. Louis believes the bill would cause religious persecution and discrimination and violates the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and violates state and federal laws.

Update at 5:20 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15:

A new law in the City of St. Louis prohibits discrimination based on a person's reproductive decisions or pregnancy.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed the bill passed by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on a 17-10 vote Feb. 10. Several members of the board spoke in opposition, saying it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist and causes unnecessary divisiveness.

Faith-based organizations looking at impact of executive orders

Father Paul Spielman greeted Mary Ann Carmody after Mass at Our Lady of Life Apartments, part of Cardinal Ritter Senior Services. Groups such as Cardinal Ritter and Catholic Charities are examining federal contracts in light of two executive orders that could affect how religious organizations provide services.

Executive orders signed by President Barack Obama could have a profound impact on the work of Catholic Charities of St. Louis and other faith-based organizations that receive federal funding.

The orders prohibit discrimination of employees on the basis of sex, which includes gender identity, transgender status and sex stereotypes. The other calls for a distinct separation between "explicit religious activity" and the delivery of services.

WITNESSES TO FREEDOM | U.S. bishops continue efforts to raise awareness of religious liberty

Four years ago when the Archdiocese of St. Louis launched a campaign for religious liberty, Archbishop Robert Carlson called it a great opportunity for Catholics to "build enthusiasm for this important cause."

"Religious liberty is our first, most cherished freedom," he said. "The threat the HHS mandate poses to the Catholic Church is no small matter. It is imperative that we act now to protect the freedoms upon which this country is based."

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