A new bulletin insert will be distributed to Catholic parishes nationwide this June, and it’s already live on the bishops’ website.
The bulletin makes it clear that the Bishops are not giving up on the fight for religious liberty for our hospitals, schools and charities. The message on the insert reads:
For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious institutions to fund and facilitate coverage of a drug or procedure contrary to their moral teaching, and purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption. This is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide such coverage even when it violates our consciences.
The bulletin likens the fight to the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. The Bishops note that Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” quotes Saint Augustine who said, “An unjust law is no law at all.”
The Bishops have been very clear all year that the HHS mandate is an unjust law. But now the Bishops are letting Catholics know that we might have to disobey the law.
Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.
The Bishops note that the HHS mandate will not impede on the ability to celebrate Mass on Sunday or for us to pray the Rosary at home. Nonetheless, the mandate remains a gross violation of religious liberty — one which will have drastic implications on our society.
What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society—or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it.
The bulletin encourages Catholics to visit www.usccb.org/conscience to learn about the HHS mandate and to contact their legislators. In addition, Catholics are asked to participate in the Fortnight for Freedom June 21- July 4 at www.fortnight4freedom.org.