The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012

Contact: Patricia M. Chivers
Communications Director
(678) 480-6865
pchivers@archatl.com

Church Agencies Challenge HHS for Violating Religious Freedom

ATLANTA – Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta stands in full support of the forty-three Catholic dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies which filed twelve lawsuits this week to prevent the federal government from enforcing the mandate that violates religious freedom issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The mandate issued in January requires that Catholic organizations violate their religious beliefs by forcing employers to provide and pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception for all employees.

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress. No resolution has been made as of this date. We have to resort to the courts now to protect our valuable ministries and fundamental right to practice religion without government interference.  It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to fund services which violate our religious beliefs,” stated Archbishop Gregory.

Although the Archdiocese of Atlanta is not a plaintiff in these lawsuits, the various plaintiffs reflect a broad cross-section of Catholic institutions, and together they represent the wide variety of issues, impacts, and economic consequences that exist among Catholic organizations nationwide. 

Archbishop Gregory stated, “The lawsuits that have been filed in a number of USA jurisdictions represent a concerted effort to exemplify the broad spectrum of Catholic institutions that are directly impacted by the HHS mandate that would force us to compromise our Catholic identity.  Many other Catholic institutions would certainly seek to join this legal action, but what is most important is that we all pray for its success and support the initiatives that are intended to protect our religious freedom.”

For more information, contact Pat Chivers at pchivers@archatl.com or 678-480-6865.

 

#  #  #