Saturday, February 11, 2012
THIS IS THE SOUND BITE AND THE BATTLE CRY: "IT IS THE PLACE OF THE CHURCH, NOT OF GOVERNMENT, TO DEFINE ITS RELIGOUS IDENTITY AND MINISTRY"
This is from an internal letter circulated to all Catholic bishops. The first part of the letter is similar in content to the Bishops' general communique in a post below this one. However the last part of the letter is extremely important. Where are we going with this and will this lead to justified civil disobedience? This is history, a sad history,in the making, the first time for the Church in America, but not the first time for the Church in her 2000 year history. Governments and civilizations have come and gone, despots deposed and new governments formed, but the Church--the gates of hell shall never prevail against her.
Our brother bishops permit us to repeat the principles that are guiding us:
First, there is the respect for religious liberty. No government has the right to intrude into the affairs of the Church, much less coerce, the Church faithful individuals to engage in or cooperate in any way with immoral practices.
Second, it is the place of the Church, not of government to define its religious identity and ministry.
Third, we continue to oppose the underlying policy of a government mandate for purchase or promotion of contraception, sterilization or abortion inducing drugs.
Thank you, brothers, for your commitment to work with everyone concerned about religious freedom in our society and to advance our principled goals. We will continue to keep you informed as we study this issue and learn more about this policy and our opportunities for its correction. We heartily welcome your observations and continued prayers and support.
Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl
Committee on Doctrine
Most Reverend William E. Lori
Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty
Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire
Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Developmen