Catholic bishops say religious freedom waning

BALTIMORE Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:31pm EST

Related Topics

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Catholic bishops said on Monday that religious freedom had been whittled away by same-sex marriage, abortion and healthcare legislation, and vowed to ramp up efforts to protect it.

At a meeting of 300 bishops gathered for the Conference of Catholic Bishops, the newly appointed committee on religious liberty announced plans to respond to legislation it says comes between citizens and their Catholic beliefs.

That includes Alabama's recent crackdown on immigration, which prevents undocumented citizens from receiving religious services, said committee member Reverend William Lori, the bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Other examples included a New York town clerk who faces legal action for refusing to administer same-sex marriages after New York state last summer became the most populous state to legalize gay marriage.

And, in Illinois, Catholic charities are considered discriminatory for not placing foster children with same-sex couples, Lori said.

"The services of the Catholic Church are more crucial than ever," Lori said. "But it's becoming more difficult for us to deliver these services."

The bishops singled out the U.S. Department of Justice's opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, and the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, as challenges to religious liberty.

The conference included presentations from committees on "the promotion and defense of marriage" and "pro-life activities."

Lori also noted an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services that says it is unconstitutional for the department to contract the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking.

The conference would not use grant money to provide contraceptive and abortion services to victims, the suit says.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Jerry Norton and Paul Simao)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (4)
Orphicdragon wrote:
Gotta love this. They are complaining their religious freedom is in jeopardy, and why? Because nobody believes in them or their teachings any longer.

You are wrong and irrelevant Catholic church. The problem is not religious freedoms, but your inability to bully and force people into following your dogma.

You have shown your true colors, and the people have seen that you are NOT OF GOD, and they are turning away from you. GOOD!!! Why not spend some time dealing with the rampant pedophilia and evil within your organization instead of whining about nobody caring what you think.

Pretty sure God does NOT love a lying organization that harbors pedophiles and cares more for it’s image than it’s teachings.

Nov 14, 2011 7:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MaryWaterton wrote:
Orphicdragon said: Pretty sure God does NOT love a lying organization that harbors pedophiles and cares more for it’s image than it’s teachings.

You mean like college campuses? Or perhaps the federal Department of Education (I’m referencing Kevin Jennings here, Obama’s “safe school czar”)?

Nov 14, 2011 7:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
ModeratePoli wrote:
It’s a smokescreen to say that religious freedom is “whittled away.” People are more free to choose a religion or not. I think (but don’t have statistics) that Catholicism is more accepted now than 50 years ago, when Kennedy had to declare that the Pope wouldn’t be telling him what to do. The real problem for the church is growing freedom of thought and more acceptance of previously forbidden actions and ideas. Consider, the Catholic doesn’t even allow married couples to have sex using birth control, and they complain about freedom? I have some respect for religions, but they are disingenuous on this.

Nov 14, 2011 8:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.