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Cardinal Dolan on Religious Freedom in Foster Care — Pray for Today’s Supreme Court Case as You Pray for America

Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the Vatican in 2012. (Tony Gentile/Reuters)

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan writes today about the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty case before the Supreme Court this morning (or on the phone line, anyway):

Today, Nov. 4, the Supreme Court hears oral argument in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. At issue is whether the First Amendment protects the right of the Catholic Church’s foster care agency in Philadelphia to place vulnerable children with loving families without violating its sincere religious beliefs about marriage, that marriage is between a man and a woman. The other side argues that our agencies lose all religious liberty protections when they partner with the government to serve those in need — an obvious prerequisite for serving children who have been removed from their homes by the government. This novel claim has far reaching implications.

There are more than 8,000 faith-affirming foster agencies that partner with governments nationwide — not to mention the countless thousands of Catholic soup kitchens, homeless shelters, prison ministries, immigration legal services, and other social services supported by the Catholic Church. Were the government permitted to tell these crucial ministries which religious beliefs are permitted — and which are proscribed — solely because these ministries partner with the government, we would all be the poorer for it.

It hurts the most vulnerable when anti-Catholic and anti-religious bigotry starts setting policy. Read the whole op-ed, which talks about Catholic history in America and one of our saints, Elizabeth Ann Seton. It always gives me hope knowing we have holy men and women who did some incredible things — and really built our country — who lived right here (in N.Y. even, for those of us here).

There are homes with empty beds ready to take in foster children in Philadelphia, but these children have been cut off because of what the Catholic Church believes about marriage. That’s not America. We can do better than that. And vulnerable children need the tyranny of sexual-revolutionary values to stop getting in the way of saving their lives and getting them homes and a chance at life. They need more choices, not fewer — and in Philadelphia, you don’t get a better track record than Catholic Social Services.

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