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Seasons of Grace blog: OBAMA BLINKS! Government to Revise Its HHS Contraception Rule

(by Kathy Schiffer)
July 23, 2014

The Obama Administration, slapped down by the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Wheaton College, has taken a step back from its intractable stance on contraception coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Justice Department, perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall after the Court rulings in the cases of Wheaton College and Hobby Lobby, announced Tuesday, July 22, that they will issue new regulations within the next month.  The new regulations will apply to all nonprofit institutions that say the faith with which they are affiliated is opposed to the use of most forms of contraception.

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The Bemidji Pioneer: Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner – America must meet this human rights test

(by Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner)
July 19, 2014

Our nation’s immigration system is broken. It is inconsistent, ineffective and does not serve the common good. On this point, people across the political spectrum are in agreement.

The question is, what are we going to do about it, especially as thousands of children are coming across the border into the United States due to the stark violence in their countries of origin?

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Catholic Spirit: Environmental debates need prudence, principles

(by Jason Adkins)
July 16, 2014

Americans are more conscious than ever of their responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. Years of successful public relations campaigns and the work of tireless activists have ensured that protecting Creation is at the forefront of public discourse.

Yet, the debates over some of the biggest environmental challenges — climate change, hydraulic fracking, soil and water contamination, air quality, sustainable agriculture, the global competition for scarce natural resources — seem to be dominated by false choices, as though being stewards of the created order and fostering a proper “human ecology” is a zero-sum game.

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News Release (USCCB): ‘More Respect for Religious Freedom’ Needed After Failed Senate Vote to Curtail It

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2014)—Today the U.S. Senate voted against considering S. 2578, a bill empowering the federal government to override the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal conscience laws when it mandates including any “item or service” in health plans.

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Jason Adkins on Relevant Radio – Immigration Reform and Religious Liberty

Jason Adkins spoke with Relevant Radio’s Glen Levern on June 26, 2014 about “Immigration Reform and the Religious Freedom to Serve.”

Click on the link below and go to the June 2014 calendar page (use “previous” button on upper left side of page). Find June 26 and click on the Hour 1 “stream” link. Fr. Tad Pacholczyk speaks first, followed by Jason Adkins.



New York Post: A vital win for religious freedom

(by Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, President of USCCB)
June 30, 2014

Pope Francis recently emphasized that “religious freedom is not simply freedom of thought or private worship. It is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly.”

On Monday, the Supreme Court recognized this basic freedom in the Hobby Lobby case, upholding the rights of Americans to live out their faith in daily life, through the closely held businesses they run.

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News Release (USCCB): USCCB President, Diverse Religious Leaders Come Together To Urge Congress To Protect Religious Freedom Restoration Act

RFRA passed in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support
All religious faiths, including the most vulnerable, protected by federal law
Americans should be free to live and work according to their faith

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2014)—A coalition of leaders of diverse U.S. religious denominations and faiths, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced that they “are united in [their] staunch support” for protecting the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in 1993. The coalition sent a letter to Congressional leadership June 30 asking that they “not amend or repeal RFRA, one of our nation’s most vital legal protections for the religious freedom and rights of conscience of every person of every faith.”

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Media Statement (USCCB): Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby

A Great Day for the Religious Freedom of Family Businesses

June 30, 2014
Americans can follow faith in running closely held businesses
Court leaves open whether ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties means “justice has prevailed,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive services” mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as applied to these employers to the extent that it would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life.

The statement follows:“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”

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MEDIA CONTACT: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh / O: 202-541-3201

Statement (MCC): Win for Hobby Lobby and Religious Liberty


June 30, 2014

Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, welcomes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases. The decision represents an important affirmation of our first freedom—religious liberty.
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News Release (USCCB): Bishop in House Committee Testimony: Nation ‘Must Not Turn Our Back’ on Unaccompanied Children Crossing Border

Children are targeted with violence, seek safety
Says root causes of violence and insecurity must be addressed
Urges for bipartisan cooperation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2014)—Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, stated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, June 25, that the rise of the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border represents a “test of our moral character” of the nation. “We must not fail this test,” he added. “We must not turn our back on them.”

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