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Bishops Elect New President; Issue Unanimous Special Message on Health Care Law14 Nov

Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky is very happy to announce that its Board chairman, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, is the new president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Conference already benefits from his leadership and pastoral sensitivities and now others will also benefit from them. His support for issues regarding human life and dignity is unwavering. He strongly defends the life for the unborn child and the life of a convict on death row at Eddyville. Under his leadership the Conference works to secure the right to vote for ex-offenders, advocates for caps on loans to people in need, preserves strict standards to protect religious liberty, and seeks ways to enact policies that help parents who prefer a private school environment for the education of their children. We congratulate him as he takes up this new challenge.

The bishops also voted unanimously to issue a “Special Message”  regarding the implementation of the Health and Human Services Mandate that violates the rights of religious believers. In the message the bishops state the following:

Yet with its coercive HHS mandate, the government is refusing to uphold its obligation to respect the rights of religious believers. Beginning in March 2012, in United for Religious Freedom, we identified three basic problems with the HHS mandate: it establishes a false architecture of religious liberty that excludes our ministries and so reduces freedom of religion to freedom of worship; it compels our ministries to participate in providing employees with abortifacient drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception, which violates our deeply-held beliefs; and it compels our faithful people in business to act against our teachings, failing to provide them any exemption at all.

As a result of the impasse between government and church on this issue the bishops state:

We will continue our efforts in Congress and especially with the promising initiatives in the courts to protect the religious freedom that ensures our ability to fulfill the Gospel by serving the common good.

To read the complete message click here.

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