Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver stands with Bishop Conley, Cardinal-elect Timothy Dolan, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in their opposition to the February 10th“accommodation” proposed by the Obama administration regarding the recent Health and Human Services mandate.
We agree that the proposal “continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions.” This mandate shows disrespect toward religious organizations and toward the Constitutional right of every American to religious liberty.
The Constitution of the United States ensures that the government may not force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental pillars of their faith. Nevertheless, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that all institutions that provide health insurance provide free, unfettered access to contraception – despite the religious objections of Catholic institutions and individual employers.
The federal mandate and the February 10th “accommodation” attack the rights of all Americans: people of all religions and people of no religion because the free exercise of religion is a fundamental, inviolable Constitutional right. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, and the entire Catholic Church, is committed to serving the poor and those in need; we are committed to providing compassionate care for everyone, regardless of religion, gender, economic situation, or ethnic background. We spend $35 million annually on services to the communities of Colorado, from affordable housing to homeless shelters, and programs for our senior neighbors and our children. Public money funds many of these ministries, and the reason for this is that we are trusted because we provide excellent service. This relationship has been mutually beneficial, allowing people in our community to receive the highest quality of care without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Catholic Church.
The HHS mandate would make it morally compromising for us to provide health care and hinder our ability to serve our communities.
We hope that all Catholic institutions, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and social service agencies will join the Catholic Bishops in their urgent and vigorous defense of conscience and the freedom of religion.