The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reaffirmed by a unanimous voice vote at its Atlanta, Georgia meeting Wednesday a recent statement of the USCCB Administrative Committee regarding the federal government mandate that would require religious employers to provide free insurance coverage for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception.
Earlier in the week, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the bishops' committee on religious liberty, told the national media that resistance to the mandate "is not a partisan issue" in this election year, but a question of religious freedom that concerns every American.
At the end of their hour-long discussion of religious freedom in the United States, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of USCCB, asked the body of bishops if it would be willing to declare its approval of “United for Religious Freedom,” the unanimous statement of the Administrative Committee issued on March 14. Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, seconded Cardinal Dolan's motion, which was put to the body by a voice vote and unanimously affirmed.
The document identifies three basic problems with the mandate: “an unwarranted government definition of religion,” “a mandate to act against our teachings,” and “a violation of personal civil rights.”
“United for Religious Freedom” is available on the USCCB Web site at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/march-14-statement-on-religious-freedom-and-hhs-mandate.cfm