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Bishop Galante's letter on Healthcare Mandate

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

I write to you about a serious matter concerning the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith.  The federal government has just dealt a blow to Catholics and all those served by the Catholic faithful through our education, health care and charity ministries.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in January that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception.  Almost all health insurers will be forced to include these items in the health policies they write.  And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.  And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).  The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law.  People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.  We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. 

I would ask of you two things.  First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored.  Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible.  Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

May God continue to bless you and guide you.

Fraternally in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante, D.D., J.C.D.
Bishop of Camden