WASHINGTON - As the Supreme Court takes up the plea of religious ministries to uphold their fundamental right to offer comprehensive health coverage consistent with their religious convictions, Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, is inviting everyone to join in prayer.
Archbishop Lori welcomed today's decision:
"Charitable ministries across the nation simply want to provide life-affirming health care for their employees, without fear of massive government penalties. At stake is nothing less than their freedom to serve others. Let us pray for justice for those who offer mercy.
"For years, we have prayed that the federal government would not force those who serve the needy—such as the Little Sisters of the Poor—to fund or facilitate coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions. Today, as the matter moves to the Supreme Court, we renew our prayer that this basic freedom will prevail. This freedom is not only common sense, it is what the law requires. And it is in keeping with our great national tradition of respecting religious freedom and diversity, which Pope Francis recognized to be 'one of America's most precious possessions.'"
Archbishop Lori's call to prayer follows Pope Francis' recent affirmation of the efforts of the United States Bishops in reminding us that "all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend [religious] freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it." Also during his recent trip to the U.S., Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on November 6 that it will take up all seven pending cases challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) mandate to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. These cases include dozens of religious schools, universities, and charities, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, who run nursing homes across the country for the elderly poor.