After contraception controversy, Catholic Church announces 'religious freedom' campaign
The American Catholic bishops.
April 12th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

After contraception controversy, Catholic Church announces 'religious freedom' campaign

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church announced a major campaign Thursday aimed at bringing attention to what it said were growing threats to religious liberty in the United States, including the pending White House rule requiring health insurance companies to provide free contraceptive coverage to employees of Catholic organizations.

An official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the initiative would stretch out over the course of a few years and that it would include everything from encouraging priests to address religious liberty concerns in church to sending inserts for church bulletins.

“Religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad,” the American bishops said in a new document titled “Our first, most cherished freedom.”

Compared to other Catholic communications campaigns, “This is bigger in that it’s not a one-time thing, not aiming for a specific Sunday” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the communications director for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It’s going to be extensive and it’s going to be occurring over a few years.”

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The Catholic bishops say a proposed White House rule connected to the Affordable Care Act requiring health insurers to provide free contraception coverage forces the church to fund an activity it opposes for religious reasons. The White House tweaked an earlier version of the rule that required employers, rather than insurance companies, to pay for contraceptive coverage, mollifying some Catholic groups who objected to Catholic colleges and hospitals having to fund contraception coverage.

But the bishops said the so-called White House compromise didn’t go far enough.

In their Thursday document, the bishops also said that a handful of American states and municipalities have driven Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business because Catholic charities refused to place children with gay couples or unmarried straight couples.

The document also said that the federal government recently revised its contract with the Catholic Church’s Migration and Refugee Services to require it to provide or refer women to contraceptive and abortion services, in violation of Catholic teaching.

“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home,” the bishops said in a Thursday statement. “It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”

“This is not a Catholic issue,” the statement said. “This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon or Muslim issue. It is an American issue.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church

soundoff (2,540 Responses)
  1. rick

    If you don't the church that's fine. But do you believe that only freedoms you approve of should be protected and the ones you don't, done away with? What would happen if another administration wanted to do away with freedom of speech, you ok with that? I am not . ALL our freedoms need to be protected.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Snow

      really? sensationalism, much? Hey, you should also build that doomsday preppers bunker to save yourself when the world gets taken over by the monster aliens from the future

      April 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  2. Fed up

    I am officially leaving the catholic church!!!! It is a church of hypocrisy. If only, they would have defended and protected defenseless children from the pedofiles of the church as they continually oppress women!

    April 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Sardukar

      good for you...now pick a good science book..

      April 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • visitor

      Unitarians, baby.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      It may one day be truth where tyhe Mother of all Christendoms will bite the proverbial bullet! She will not, though go down without fighting and screaming and gouging the eyes out of many of her followers. Let's all get back to the basics. A horse to plough the fields with and a cow from which to husband with another's bull, some chickens and rabbits some pigs and goats. Ah for the good ol' days they will soon be a coming back! "Push the buttons you ingrates and let's get this show on the road again"!

      April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  3. Pfft!

    I am officially leaving the catholic church!!!! It is a church of hypocrisy. If only, they would have defended and protected defenseless children from the pedofiles of the church as they continually oppress women!

    April 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  4. Wholly Mary

    Little boys want their freedon too, from being taken advantage of by pre-verts.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Snow

      That is least of their concerns.. currently, their focus is taken over completely with what women should do about their naughty bits..

      April 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  5. ingatuma

    To hell with the churches....they are nothing but a business that caters to the dumb and ignorant, and the catholic church is nothing short of a pedophiles playground. It still amazes me that with the technology we have today, that there are still all those idiots that believe in an imaginary friend who. TAX the Churches, but the politicians have no balls to stand up to these dogs that only push the human race back to their middle ages. Every time I read articles like this one, it makes me glad that Im an atheist.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Doug

      Wow, so you are smart enough to know that no God exist? Your smarter than some of the greatest intellectuals of all time who either believed in God, or, was agnostic. It takes someone really smart to KNOW there is no God.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      ingatuma,,, "To hell with the churches....they are nothing but a business that caters to the dumb and ignorant."

      The religiously devoted are not "dumb", they are scared and they are not "ignorant", they need guidance to reconcile their lousy and immoral Life they have once led. They are scared and want to find reasons for changing their Life! God to them and myself is the answer to the many act and actions we all have done in one's past. It isn't rocket science that one can learn to overcome their own rememberences if ills' wrongdoings. They need a little push from people who are as a light and can be found a comforting flame of hope and inspiration to ever so slowly llead them to God and yes the King of all God's Sons and Daughters, our Redeemer Christ Jesus.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  6. Teluu

    Bunch of child molesters. What do they know about family and contraception?

    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer


      Some, not many are child molesters. If one sees the clrgy as a family would one not try to hide their family's dirty laundry from the neighbors? Because the clergy are devotionalists and dedicated to their Faith's inabilities to have sound reasoning skills does not make them all out to be evil sinners, but in harboring one's dirty laundry, the clergy needs to send it out to be cleansed.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Snow

      seriously pipe dreamer.. are you defending the molesters? are you saying you would willingly hide their ill deeds? what is wrong with you?

      April 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Snow wrote "seriously pipe dreamer.. are you defending the molesters? are you saying you would willingly hide their ill deeds? what is wrong with you?"

      Your interpretation of my post is flawed! In the ending line I said for their dirty laundry to be sent out to be cleansed and I mean arrested and jailed for their crimes against moralisms!

      April 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  7. Pipe-Dreamer

    Catholocism is not worthy of even being considered a Christianizable religion for they hold back so much dough in their treasuries that one could with ease, feed many 3rd world countries for perhaps years if they were to "give up" their dough!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  8. The Bible is a book of badly written fairy tales

    Just a little make-up and their clown outfits will be fully complete....

    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Doug

      Since historical and archeological findings often support much of the biblical record, I wonder if you'd care to explain with a little more substance.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Snow

      So there is archeological proof about a dude stuck in a whale for 3 days and coming out? how about a woman turned into salt statue.. heck is there evidence of the big god dude jesus even existing and/or resurrecting?

      April 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  9. Saltysister

    Denise. You are beyond ignorant! Nobody knows the date or the hour! But its going to happen! And why is God going to bring judgement on mankind? Its because of stupid ignorant people like you! You will be destroyed! Trust!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. The Bible is a book of badly written fairy tales

    We should attack ridiculous ideas wherever they are encountered. It just so happens that religion seems to be rife with ridiculous ideas.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  11. Miguel Caron

    I am eagerly awaiting the day that "religious freedom" really means "freedom from religion".

    April 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  12. David

    The Catholic Church has been imposing their religion on everyone else for centuries. Now that they cannot do this unimpeded, they consider it an attack on their "religious freedom". Religions Freedom is not your right to impose your beliefs on everyone else. They better get used to it. The actions of the Catholic Church demonstrate they do not deserve respect.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  13. Denise

    The ones with the pink caps like little boys. The others go after the little girls.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      I was 12 when i "had" a 14 year old girl,,, 🙁 Shoulda waited until I was of marriage age ,,, even getting married 1st. 🙁 So sorry I am God for noy being brought up in a Chrstian setting for my parents were drinkers and partiers when I was in childhood.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Pipe-Dreamer, Sounds like you have the guilt thing down... so christianity is a good fit for you. Most 12 year old boys would be proud to get laid... as long as it's not by a priest.

      April 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Ashrakay,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.

      Being of "pride" for getting or being laid is not for the faint of heart. In getting laid at such an early age in my or anyone's Life will eventually play in their Life's deck of cards and in dealing this deck one does ever come across the once were cards to ever be reminded of times' past. That's why I say and do regard myself as being but a lowly closeted Christian unworthy of being called a righteous man of 57 years and counting the days looking ever onward to my Life's End! If God and His Sons and yes, Daughters truly are a realism, then I will be given my justice accordingly for my deeds done here in this real of Celestial Cunning! If there is no God, then I will be none the wiser!

      April 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Pipe-Dreamer, Well, you've already tricked yourself into believing in the god delusion, despite all of the evidence to the contrary... Tricking yourself into feeling remorse for something you did as an adolescent child, barely capable of making a cogent decision should be pretty easy. I wonder if you hold all 12 year olds to the same intellectual reasoning standard. This might have an adverse affect though as introducing a child to reasoning at a young age will likely lead them to think their way clear of god at an older age.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Ashrakay,,,,,,,,,,,, ,.

      The "trickery" of atheisms are their deluding others of weakened minds and fair gaminess in moments of despair. It is quite easy to see death as being one's end but such a death is of physical accords while the spiritual works of the Holy Ghost are an endless affair of God's whole-heartedness to give to beleivers another spirit-filled Life upon the inner-workings of the Micro-Chasms unending places inwardly and not up in or even in the abovenss like many worshipper are led to beleive in their mind's eye. We are much more than a piece of flesh upon bones. We are of God and His whole families do live inside us! I Love in the joys of knowing God's few Truths He has let my mind's eyes see and I lay awake at nights ever dreamful of my next Life inside the kingdom Domain of God, the Heaven's Father and Creator of and of all Celestial manifestations! God's will is ever to be done knowingly or unknwoingly for these are the choices one has. To believe or not to believe in God, the Father and His eons of Sons and Daughters and theirs and always on down the lines of each and every generation of His Godliness Kinds!

      April 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Pipe-Dreamer, Actually if you really look at it, you'll see that religion always targets those "in need." The poor, those of poorer eduction, and the sick are always the places you see religion at it's strongest. Clearly you have a paranoid view of a grand conspiracy of atheists, as if we are preying on you to destroy your faith or belief. Consider this, if what you believe in is true, than it cannot be destroyed. If you knew that it were true, there would be no doubt or fear. It is only because you doubt, that you fear. You can't blame me or atheists for this shortcoming in your ideology. I don't fear you will disprove gravity, which is something I believe in, because i know it to be true. Therefore, I cannot be offended or fear anything you might say of it. This is the difference between a life based on reality of evidence and one based on fantasy (that which cannot be proven).

      April 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  14. john 22

    I find it funny, the Church is against contraception, yet they move around child molesters.

    Or how about the fact that in the olden days, it was OK for Popes and other Holy men to have mistresses and children of their own.

    THey seem intent on taking us back to the dark ages, so why not go all the way? Its not about religious doctrine at all. Its all about them trying to find a reason to get much political power as possible. It has always been like that and its not going to change.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  15. jessie

    Do you know where they are meeting ? The FBI must get them all at once and investigate them one by one before they flee to Vatican.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  16. TooFunny

    Looks like the Religious Right is waking up for another election year. The day after the election this will go away for another 4 years as it always does.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Denise

      Too bad the religious morons, the lot of them, won't go away more quickly and stay gone forever. The trend is not in their favor, though, and the smarter, non-religious set is growing and becoming more vocal.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  17. MistahBurns

    I do not understand how they believe the contraception issue is an attack on religious freedom. The Catholic Church does not have to pay for contraceptives, their insurance only has to offer it. In this way it is still up to the employee whether or not to take contraceptives. It is not being forced on anyone, they are simply saying that it can not be denied. Also imagine if a religious employer did not believe in modern medicine, by the Catholic Church's logic they would not have to provide any insurance. So that would be very unfortunate and expensive if you got cancer. If you are entering into business in the public domain you must play by the rules. These rules do not force anything on you personally, they just do not let you deny people basic medicine. I do not know how this is an issue.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Denise

      Sure, but it's par for the course, Mistah. Catholics will latch onto any issue that they can use to draw attention away from their child molester guys in funny dresses (priests).

      April 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  18. Saltysister

    Yup! Here comes one of the signs of the end...government turning against religion. Hold on to your butts!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • NPRJim

      I bet you and you cr@zy friends are sitting around reading Revelations and planning cool aid parties as I type this. Goin up to the mystry spirit ghost guy in the sky!

      April 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Denise

      You could use some pepper on your tranny to wake up your brain, stupid sister. Prophecies without dates are worthless. Any idiot can forecast gloom and doom and be right sometimes. Either get specific or get off your high farce.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Denise

      That was for Salty-brain sister.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Dorito Bandito

      Saltysister, "government against religion"

      Read some history and see how many times that has happened over the eons - we woulda been goners a long time ago.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. Dan

    The Catholic church wants religious freedom from the government. The government wants freedom from the Catholics. The Catholic church can't expect to influence the laws and yet not expect anything in return to join the mainstream. Got to pick both ways or leave each other alone.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. Bill

    I would take this group far more seriously if they would clean up their act with the pedophiles among them. They should be thankful the statute of limitations is in effect or they would be much like Jesus – living on the streets among the poor instead of dressed in their fine robes wearing their gold. What hypocrites!

    April 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      There's enough money in the catholic church to feed the world. There's enough money in tax exemptions of churches to pay for healthcare for everyone. Hypocrisy is right.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • jessie

      Thank you. That is an important point. Let them clean their mess first before pretending that they care about the citizens of the USA. They are a bunch of craps.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.