The Catholic Church and Rights of Conscience
(Our Church and the HHS Mandates)
On February 10, the Catholic bishops of the United States called for a renewed effort to change the HHS imposed mandate that violates conscience rights & religious liberty. The Administration's “accommodation” still forces objecting organizations and individuals to pay for “services” that violate their religious convictions.
Below are links to resource and background information from the Diocese of Sacramento, the USCCB, homilies, and videos to aid Catholics in fulfilling their responsibilities as Faithful Catholic Citizens as Governments challenge the Church's Rights of Conscience
U.S. Bishops Continue Fight Against Coercive HHS Mandate
U.S. Bishops Resources for the Political Responsibility of Catholics
Diocese of Sacramento Resource Links for Response to HHS Mandates:
1. Respect Life Team for Congressional District #2 Meets with Congress Rep.
Contact HHS Decision Makers (click on name):
A message from Bishop Jaime Soto on religious freedom
In the Letter of St. James, we can read these often quoted words: “I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.” (Js. 2.18) James argued that a faith without works is dead. He was elaborating a fundamental Catholic belief that we share in the mystery of the Incarnation. Through our faith in the Lord Jesus, the Word becomes flesh in the works inspired by his Spirit. The works that give flesh to this faith are imbued with a sacramental character.
This is why the Catholic Church has traditionally been active in fostering schools, hospitals and social services. This is why the American Catholic Church has the largest private school system, the largest private hospital, and the largest private social service system in the nation. The work of these institutions demonstrates the robust faith of the Catholic community and the untiring charity of Christ. Through these efforts the church is a sacrament in the world serving both the greater society as well as fellow Catholics. They communicate not only good health care, quality education and effective social services for those who are poor. Catholic institutions communicate the glory and grace of the Lord Jesus.
The author of the Letter of James felt compelled to argue for the importance of good works as the necessary outcome of a living faith. We, who live out the bold spirit of that ancient scriptural text, are challenged today to make the opposite argument: the faith is a necessary part of the work.
The administration of President Obama has published a mandate which separates the faith of the church from her works. The contrived definition of a religious employer published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of the current administration intrudes on the ability of the Catholic community to express the faith through demonstrable works. The notion that our faith can no longer define our works is a threat to the grace we bring in the name of Christ. It will inhibit our ability to be “doers of the Word.” (Js. 1.22)
For this reason, please join the Catholic Legislative Network (information is found on these pages). Communicate with the White House and your congressional representatives to urge a clear definition a religious employer that respects the religious freedom of our institutions so that we can continue to express our faith through our works, bringing to the world the vibrant hope of the Gospel. In this effort, let us also recommit ourselves to express our freedom through generous lives of charity.
May we remember to also pray. Pray in the words of our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, asking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the conclusion of his beautiful encyclical on the charitable works of the church, Deus Caritas Est. “Show us Jesus,” the Holy Father prayed.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, you have given the world its true light, Jesus, your Son – the Son of God. You abandoned yourself completely to God’s call and thus became a wellspring of the goodness which flows forth from him. Show us Jesus. Lead us to him. Teach us to know and love him, so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world. (DCE, 42)