This page contains the latest information on efforts by the Catholic Church to change the imposed HHS mandate. Resource material is for parishes, individuals and other organizations seeking official Church information on this issue. Many of the resources are courtesy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Never before has federal law forced citizens to purchase what violates their deeply held beliefs and ethical convictions. But now the Administration is forcing us to act as if pregnancy were a disease to be prevented at all costs. For many Americans that means choosing between violating our consciences and forgoing health care -- literally an unconscionable dilemma.
Our country's longstanding laws protecting conscience rights must now apply fully to the implementation of health care reform. For that we need more than rule-making, we need a law. The bishops are urging Congress to support the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act" in light of the new HHS rule and the "unprecedented threat to religious freedom" it poses.
IMPORTANT NEWS: USCCB Responds to Innacurate Statemen of Fact on HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate
Feb. 13, 2013 - HHS New Bulletin Inserts for February and Marcy (English/Spanish)
Nov. 2, 2012 - Latest USCCB Blog - The Council at 50: Religious Liberty Major Worldwide Issue for Church Today
Oct. 20, 2012 - Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally--Buffalo
Sept. 20, 2012 - On Sunday, October 14, starting at 12 noon EDT, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore will lead a Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Shortly after the Mass, Archbishop Lori will lead the recitation of the first day of the Rosary Novena for Life and Liberty, which will take place from October 14 to 22.
Aug. 3, 2012 - WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called on Congress to address the crisis in health care sparked by the Obama administration’s contraceptive/sterilization coverage mandate in an August 3 letter to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The mandate, which was announced a year ago by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, he said, “would forbid Americans to provide or purchase health coverage unless it includes female surgical sterilizations, all FDA-approved prescription drugs and devices for preventing pregnancy – including drugs and devices which can destroy a human life at its earliest stages – and ‘counseling and education’ to promote these to all women and girls of childbearing age.”
His letter can be found at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Cardinal-DiNardo-s-August-2012-Letter-to-Congress-Regarding-Conscience-Protection.pdf
July 12, 2012 - Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who concelebrated the Mass for Religious Freedom at the Basilicia of the Shrine of the Imacculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on July 4, called on the congregation to open their cellphones and text the word “freedom” or “libertad” to 377377. It was part of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty text campaign, and in two minutes about 2,500 people suddenly joined the effort. Those who texted signed up to receive text messages about the campaign, which still continues. Archbishop Lori admitted that asking people to turn on their phones at Mass was a first for him – and likely a first for everyone in the congregation. (People who want updates on religious liberty can still text “freedom” or libertad” to 377377.)
July 3, 2012 - Bishop Edward M. Grosz presided at the Holy Hour for religious freedom (right) at the Dominican Monastery in Buffalo. From his homily: "Our cherished religious liberty is at stake. It is our right that is God-given." His homily concluded, "God, please bless America in this most troubling time."
June 28, 2012 - St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville hosted a Fortnight for Freedom Evening of Prayer (left) that included live music by the parish young Adult Ministry, recitation of the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, presentations on the parish Ministerial Response as Catholics, and a Holy Hour of Adoration.
June 25, 2012 - Bishops' campaign is a teach-in for faithful - read this insightful column written by Douglas Turner of The Buffalo News Washington, D.C. bureau read more
June 21, 2012 - Bishop Edward U. Kmiec led a holy hour for religious freedom at the Shrine of the Little Flower of Jesus (right), the North Buffalo home of the Carmelite Nuns. One attendee said, "It was so beautiful to see the faithful joined together in prayer for religious freedom. I was proud to see so many from all parts of our diocese traveled to participate together to officially begin the Fortnight for Freedom”.
June 20, 2012 - List of parish holy hours during the Fortnight for Freedom
June 15, 2012 - Holy Hour for Religious freedom to be held at St. Martin of Tours Church on June 28
June 12, 2012 - Vicariate of Northern Erie announces"Fornight for Freedom" events
St. Gregory the Great Parish in Williamsville plans "Fortnight" events
June 8, 2012 - Pro-Life director Cheryl Calire at the Rally for Religious Freedom on Buffalo's Niagara Square
June 5, 2012 - Fortnight for Freedom in Diocese of Buffalo to focus on prayer for religious freedom
May 24, 2012 - the June bulletin inserts are here!
Spanish - color
Spanish - black & white
English - color
English - black & white
May 22, 2012 - Bishop Kmiec said he fully backs the lawsuits filed on May 21 agains the mandate: “We are in full support of the decision to file these lawsuits against this unjust mandate. Since talks to rescind the mandate have been unsuccessful, it was necessary to challenge the government directive, and we are confident that the courts will side with the plaintiffs in support of religious freedom.”
May 21, 2012 - Cardinal Dolan applauds Church court challenges to HHS mandate
May 20, 2012 - Western New York Catholic Weekly, produced by the Radio Ministry of the Diocese of Buffalo, focuses on the fight for religious freedom
May 15, 2012 - U.S. bishops U.S. bishops urge resolution of HHS mandate questions in favor of more, not less, religious freedom
Download "Fortnight for Freedom" graphics
May 9, 2012 - Bishop Kmiec calls on all Catholics to participate in "Fortnight for Freedom"
Religious Freedom-Buffalo has scheduled a rally for June 8 at noon in front of the U.S. Courthouse on Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. Details on their Facebook page
Apr. 27, 2012 - April-May Religious Liberty Bulletin Inserts
Apr. 25, 2012 - Bishops Promote Political Responsibility With Online Resources Blog posts, YouTube videos, an online quiz and resources on Facebook are among the ways U.S. Catholics can learn about the Church’s teaching on issues and involvement in the political process, as part of an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). These resources promote the document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the call to political responsibility issued by the U.S. bishops in 2007 and reissued last fall. “Christians have a responsibility to live out their faith in the public square, and today that also means online,” said Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications. “People donate, speak out on numerous issues, get their news and participate in campaigns through the Internet and social media. The Church also needs to reach people through these media.”
Apr. 16, 2012 - Bishops issue call to action to defend religious liberty. The bishops called for “A Fortnight for Freedom,” the two-week period from June 21 to July 4—beginning with the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and ending with Independence Day—to focus “all the energies the Catholic community can muster” for religious liberty.
Download Our First, Our Most Cherished Liberty - A Statement on Religious Liberty
Mar. 25, 2012 - Unidos por la Libertad Religiosa
Mar. 24, 2012 - Buffalo News: Rally focuses on religious freedom
Mar 23, 2012 - Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally draws more than 1,000 in downtown Buffalo
Mar. 21, 2012 -
Religious Freedom and Protecting Healthcare for Women and Children, by Cardinal Timothy Dolan
What war on women? Kathy Gallagher of othe NYS Catholic Conference debunks the myth
Women’s Health and Contraception, by Jann K. Armantrout
Mar. 16, 2012 - Conscience protection resources The prayers on the page may be used in solidarity with the bishops' call to penance and prayer to restore religious freedom and conscience protections.
Mar. 14, 2012 - Bishops vow to continue vigorous efforts to oppose HHS mandate (read more)
Stand Up Rally set for March 23
The controversy over President Obama’s HHS Mandate is now pouring out onto the streets. On March 23, concerned citizens in over 50 cities—including Buffalo, Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco—will gather at Federal Buildings for a rally with the theme “Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!” Read more
The latest news ...
Cardinal Dolan voices dismay as religious freedom talks stall (Mar. 2, 2012)
Senate Vote To Set Aside Conscience Act Marks Chance To Build Bipartisan Support, Seek Judicial (Mar. 1, 2012)
HHS mandate creates absurd results, Bishop Lori tells House Judiciary Committee (Feb. 28, 2012)
Bishop Kmiec speaks out against HHS mandate (Feb. 16, 2012)
Renewed effort to change HHS mandate (Feb. 10, 2012)
Bishop Kmiec says diocese will not comply with "unjust law" (Feb. 3, 2012)
Preventive services backgrounder
Bulletin inserts (English)
Bulletin inserts (Spanish)
The high cost of free birth control
White House misrepresents its own contraception mandate
Cardinal Timothy Dolan: "I'm afraid the Obama Administration is on the wrong side of the Constitution again."