Monday, March 26, 2012

Defending Religious Freedom

On Friday we attended the "Stand up for Religious Freedom" rally in Cleveland.  The rally was a very peaceful public statement expressing our opposition to the HHS Mandate requiring all employers to provide health insurance coverage to their employees that includes contraception, sterilization and abortion.  President Obama's "accommodation" for religious organizations is too narrow to include any organizations other than parishes; therefore all Catholic schools, hospitals and other service organizations will be required to pay for insurance coverage of services that are in direct opposition to the Catholic faith.  This is a serious infringement on our religious freedom.

Bishop John praying the opening prayer

On our drive into Cleveland, we asked each other, "What will you say if someone from the media asks you why you are here?"  (We do kind of stand out, you know.)  We started to talk about the Byzantine Catholic nuns in Eastern Europe, who in our lifetimes were stripped of all their religious rights, even the right to be a nun and to be a Byzantine Catholic.  When our rights as Catholics begin to be taken away from us, we have to ask, "What next?" "Where does this lead?"

We were proud of our bishop, Bishop John Kudrick, for giving the opening prayer at the rally.  Bishop Lennon of the Diocese of Cleveland celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral before the rally.  We are encouraged by the unity of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Orthodox bishops in this matter, and we add our voices in union with theirs.


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