Welcome to the Diocese of Lake Charles

(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/)  

March 29, 2023
USCCB President Asks Faithful to Pray for Pope Francis’ Recovery
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday afternoon March 29, Pope Francis was taken to Gemelli Hospital in Rome. Reports followed that Pope Francis has a respiratory infection and will remain in the hospital for several days. Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement regarding the Holy Father:
“As Pope Francis recovers in the hospital from a respiratory infection, we pray intensely for our Holy Father. On behalf of my brother bishops, I invite all the faithful to pause, if possible before the Blessed Sacrament, and pray for his speedy recovery. May our dear shepherd and all those in need of healing experience the comfort of Christ.”
March 30, 2023
USCCB Statement on “Doctrine of Discovery”
WASHINGTON — The Dicasteries for Culture and Education and for Promoting Integral Human Development released today a Joint Statement on the “Doctrine of Discovery.” The matter at issue involves documents (papal bulls) issued in the fifteenth century with regard to European exploration of land beyond continental Europe. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City and secretary for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement in response to today’s Joint Statement by the dicasteries:
We are grateful to the Dicasteries for Culture and Education and for Promoting Integral Human Development for their Joint Statement on the “Doctrine of Discovery.” The Joint Statement is yet another step in expressing concern and pastoral solicitude for Native and Indigenous peoples who have experienced tremendous suffering because of the legacy of a colonizing mentality. We welcome the statement’s renewed repudiation and condemnation of the violence and injustices committed against Native and Indigenous peoples, as well as the Church’s ongoing support for their dignity and human rights. In the centuries that followed the papal bulls at issue, many popes boldly proclaimed the God-given rights owed to all peoples, but we must also confront those moments when individual Christians lacked such boldness or clarity.
As the Joint Statement points out, there were times when Christians, including ecclesiastical authorities, failed to fully oppose destructive and immoral actions of the competing colonial powers.  In this regard, we too express deep sorrow and regret. In recent years here in the United States, dialogues among Catholic bishops and Tribal leaders have illuminated more aspects of this painful history, and, with humility, we wish to offer our continuing solidarity and support, as well as a further willingness to listen and learn. We will continue to support policies that protect the poor and vulnerable, and that will offer relief to Native and Indigenous families who are struggling. Through Catholic charitable, health, and educational initiatives, we will continue to offer service to all people, with particular concern for those Native and Indigenous communities where the Church has been present. We support the ongoing efforts of various Catholic communities to make archival and historical records more easily accessible. 
Finally, as the Joint Statement indicates, the centuries of history at issue are complex, and the term “doctrine of discovery” has taken on various legal and political interpretations that merit further historical study and understanding. The experiences and histories of different countries and different Native and Indigenous peoples are distinct, and deserve further inquiry, although there are also opportunities for meaningful common understandings as well. As a Church, it is important for us to fully understand how our words have been used and misused to justify acts that would be abhorrent to Jesus Christ. We hope for more dialogue among Indigenous and Catholic scholars to promote greater and wider understanding of this difficult history. To that end, the USCCB and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops are exploring how they may support an academic symposium. This initiative has also received encouragement from the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and the Dicastery for Education and Culture. 
May God bless with healing all those who continue to suffer the legacy of colonialism, and may we all offer true aid and support. By God’s grace, may we never return to the way of colonization, but rather walk together in the way of peace.
March 23, 2023
Statement on Proper Disposition of Bodily Remains
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine has issued a statement providing principles for evaluating some newer methods and technologies for disposition of the bodies of the deceased.  The USCCB’s Administrative Committee approved the issuance of the statement on March 15.
In their statement, the doctrine committee affirms that every human being has been created in the image of God and has an inherent dignity and worth.  Furthermore, since “every man and woman is a unity of body and soul, respect for the person necessarily includes respect for the body.”  The Church considers burial to be “the most appropriate way of manifesting reverence for the body of the deceased,” as it “clearly expresses our faith and hope in the resurrection of the body.” While the Church permits cremation unless it is chosen for reasons contrary to the Catholic faith, the preferred method is burial.
Applying the basic principles found in the Instruction regarding Burial of the Deceased and the Conservation of the Ashes in the Case of Cremation (Ad resurgendum cum Christo) issued by the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2016, the committee evaluates the two most prominent newer methods for disposition of bodily remains that are proposed as alternatives to burial and cremation — alkaline hydrolysis and human composting — and concludes that they fail to satisfy the Church’s requirements for proper respect for the bodies of the dead. After the alkaline hydrolysis process, there are about 100 gallons of liquid into which the greater part of the body has been dissolved and this liquid is treated as wastewater. At the end of the human composting process, the body has completely decomposed along with accompanying plant matter to yield a single mass of compost, with nothing distinguishably left of the body to be laid to rest in a sacred place.
The doctrine committee concludes their statement by recalling that the Catholic faith teaches us that our ultimate destiny as human beings includes our bodiliness: “We are therefore obliged to respect our bodily existence throughout our lives and to respect the bodies of the deceased when their earthly lives have come to an end. The way that we treat the bodies of our beloved dead must always bear witness to our faith in and our hope for what God has promised us.”
The committee’s full statement may be read here: https://www.usccb.org/resources/On Proper Disposition 2023-03-20.pdf.
March 3, 2023
Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Hanchon
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Donald F. Hanchon, 75, from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit. The resignation was publicized in Washington on March 3, 2023, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
February 27, 2023
New Director Appointed for USCCB’s “Institute on the Catechism"
WASHINGTON — Father Daniel J. Mahan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, has been appointed as the director of the recently formed Institute on the Catechism, housed within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis. Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, made the appointment, which takes effect July 1, 2023.
The USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catechism provides consultation to the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis on issues and topics related to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, as well as the accompaniment of Catholic publishers in the production of catechetical materials. The Institute on the Catechism was created in order to re-implement and re-invigorate the mandate of the subcommittee in responding to the changing catechetical landscape. Through outreach to those directly involved at the local levels in teaching the catechism, the Institute gathers bishops, their diocesan staff, Catholic publishing houses, and catechetical consultants to pray, be formed, and discuss how the content creators and users will implement an evangelizing catechesis.
Father Mahan was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in 1988. He has served in parishes throughout the archdiocese, and currently serves as pastor in solidum of four parishes in southeastern Indiana. He has served as a reviewer of catechetical texts since the late 1990s and has been working as a core team member for the Institute since its launch in November 2022. A graduate of Saint Meinrad College, Father Mahan holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm in Rome.
“Father Mahan brings a deep understanding of the Catechism along with the invaluable, long-time expertise of teaching it to the faithful in a meaningful way,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catechism. “At a time when there is wide-spread disaffiliation with the faith, and yet a deep desire and hunger being expressed by many to fill the void in their lives, we must take new, bold approaches to help the bishops to equip their catechists with ways to invite people to an encounter with the Lord. I am grateful to Archbishop Thompson for allowing Father Mahan to serve the greater Church with the unique talents he brings to the Institute on the Catechism.”

For more information on the Institute on the Catechism, please visit https://evangelizingcatechesis.com.

February 23, 2023
Migration Chairman Denounces Proposed Limits on Asylum Access
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, outlining regulations that, if implemented, would impose punitive restrictions on the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“We are deeply troubled by this proposal, which perpetuates the misguided notion that heavy-handed enforcement measures are a viable solution to increased migration and forced displacement. Decades of similar approaches have demonstrated otherwise. While recognizing our country’s right to maintain its borders, my brother bishops and I have consistently rejected policies that weaken asylum access for those most in need of relief and expose them to further danger. Because that is the likely result of this proposal, we strongly oppose its implementation.

“We appreciate the Administration’s desire to expand lawful pathways to the United States, especially through increased refugee processing, but that should not occur at the expense of vulnerable persons urgently seeking protection at our border. Above all, the sanctity of human life remains paramount.

“During this Lenten season, we are called to reflect more deeply on the ways we have failed to love God and neighbor. This is a time, Pope Francis reminds us, ‘when we can break the chains of our individualism and isolation, and rediscover, through encounter and listening, our companions along the journey of each day’ and ‘learn once more to love them as brothers and sisters.’ In responding to those who have journeyed to our nation’s doorstep, let us act accordingly.”

The USCCB condemned similar attempts to limit asylum access in 2019 and submitted formal comments underscoring the moral, legal, and practical concerns involved.

February 22, 2023
Bishop Chairman Marks One-Year Anniversary of Russian Invasion of Ukraine
WASHINGTON — Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by renewing the Church’s call to prayer, solidarity and hope amidst the mounting tolls of this war. Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:
“It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This past year has seen the horrific consequences of Russian armed aggression on the sovereignty of Ukraine, its infrastructure, its economy, and most of all, on its people. The war in Ukraine has taken a brutal toll on innocent civilians, prompting millions to flee and seek asylum and shelter in other countries. Grieving family members on both sides have been left behind in the wake of the violence. We continue to witness accelerations of military escalation including the threat of deploying nuclear weapons. Russia’s announcement February 21 to suspend its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear weapons agreement between the U.S. and Russia, further demonstrates the demise of the commitment to advancing responsible nuclear arms control measures. Such grim developments dim prospects for resolution of this conflict. Compounded by energy and food production disruptions, environmental degradation, and high inflation, no corner of the globe is untouched by the consequences of this expanding war, with the poorest bearing its heaviest tolls.
“We renew our call for an end to all hostilities and appeal to the global community to create frameworks for justice and a lasting peace to be realized, echoing the Holy Father’s appeal for ‘all the protagonists of international life and the political leaders of nations to do everything possible to bring an end to the war, without allowing themselves to be drawn into dangerous escalations, and to promote and support initiatives for dialogue.’
“The U.S. Catholic faithful and American people at-large have not wavered in their generosity this past year, giving sacrificially, and providing critical aid to those whose lives and homes have been uprooted in the scourge of war. We call on the faithful to continue to pray for peace and to continue to give generously to Catholic and other humanitarian organizations that are providing continued and much needed assistance.
“As we usher in the season of Lent, may all the faithful and people of good will join with the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in setting aside February 24 as a solemn day of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, beseeching the Lord to bring an end to the fighting and a return to justice and peace in Ukraine.”
February 21, 2023
Bishops Conclude Synod Retreat with Prayers for Strengthened Communion
WASHINGTON — On Friday, February 17, the North American Synod Team led by bishops from Canada and the United States concluded a week-long retreat to pray, discern, and synthesize the insights and contributions heard during the North American Continental Stage of the 2021-2024 Synod on Synodality. Members of the North American Synod Team made up of eight bishops, three laywomen, two priests, two laymen, and two women religious, gathered in Orlando, Florida to synthesize the People of God in the United States and Canada’s response to the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) issued by the Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod in October 2022.
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, who has been shepherding the synodal process in the United States, expressed gratitude at the opportunity to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit, “It has been a tremendous grace to accompany the People of God in North America along the synodal path. A deep love for Jesus Christ and the Church animated the Continental Assemblies, and the participants expressed a great desire to pray and work for a more synodal style in the Church going forward. The synodal way has focused more attention on the baptismal dignity and mission of Christ’s members, and has brought great hope that we can, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, strengthen our communion with one another and with the Lord.”
Bishop Raymond Poisson of Saint-Jérôme and of Mont-Laurier, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomed the renewed sense of kinship and mission among the Church in North America, “Deepening relationships between the Church in Canada and the United States is invaluable for the ongoing synodal path. Bringing our two countries together in a meaningful way will serve to form the foundation for greater unity among the People of God in North America.”
The writing team discerned the fruits of the twelve Virtual Continental Assemblies held in December 2022 and January 2023 in English, Spanish, and French. 931 delegates and 146 bishops from Canada and the United States were appointed to participate in one of these twelve assemblies. Following a week of prayer and discernment, the North American writing team will continue to shape the Final Document for the Continental Stage over the next six weeks and will submit it to the Holy See by March 31, 2023. The Final Document for the Continental Stage from North America, along with the contributions of the six other Continental Assemblies, will form the basis of the Instrumentum Laboris to be released by the General Secretariat of the Synod in June 2023.
Begun in October 2021, the “Synod on Synodality” was recently extended by Pope Francis through October 2024, to allow for more time for reflection and discernment from both the local and universal Church. The Universal Phase of the Synod will be held in two parts, the first in October 2023 and the second a year later in October 2024.  
The Document for the Continental Stage as well as additional information and resources about the North American Continental Phase are available at usccb.org/synod.
February 21, 2023
Hope and Charity Amidst Darkness Besetting the Catholic Church of Nicaragua
WASHINGTON — On February 9, the Catholic community in the United States rushed to assist the 222 Nicaraguans who arrived on U.S. soil after being exiled by their government. The following day, February 10, the government of Nicaragua sentenced Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, to twenty-six years in prison, stripped him of his citizenship, and imposed a heavy fine. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), addressed the continuing deterioration of human rights and religious freedom in Nicaragua:
“I am proud and grateful that the Catholic community of the United States—from dioceses and local Catholic Charities agencies to Catholic Charities USA and the USCCB—was among those that mobilized quickly to welcome the Nicaraguan exiles as they were stripped of their citizenship before boarding the plane. These 222 individuals were welcomed on U.S. soil on February 9 and are being assisted by U.S. government authorities and partners. How can any regime deny citizenship to its citizens?
“On February 10, however, Bishop Rolando Alvarez—languishing in regime detention since August and fallaciously charged with ‘undermining national integrity and the propagation of false news,’ was sentenced to twenty-six years in prison, stripped of his citizenship, and was imposed an exorbitant fine. His sentencing marks yet another escalated human rights violation in the ongoing ordeal the Catholic Church faces in Nicaragua. As has been stated before, since 2018 the Nicaraguan regime and its allies have been implementing a policy of severe aggression against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua—including calculated profanations of the Blessed Sacrament as a means of terrorizing the Nicaraguan faithful.
“Yet, at this dark hour, courageous hope, charity, and solidarity are bearing witness to the enduring vitality of the faith of the people of Nicaragua and among Catholics worldwide supporting the Nicaraguan faithful. I join our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his exhortation to those responsible in Nicaragua, that ‘through an open and sincere dialogue, the basis for a respectful and peaceful coexistence might still be found.’ I also call on the U.S. government and other partners to continue to pursue the release of Bishop Alvarez and the restoration of human rights in Nicaragua.”
February 8, 2023
Calls for Prayer and Assistance in Wake of Earthquake in Turkey and Syria
WASHINGTON — The February 6 earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has caused the deaths of thousands and injured many more. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, mourned the loss of so many lives, called for the faithful to pray for those impacted, and give generously to those in need.
“The strong earthquake that rocked southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6 has caused the deaths of over 11,000 people and injured thousands more. As the death toll continues to rise, rescue workers are still trying to free people from rubble and those alive are facing freezing conditions as they try to salvage their belongings and seek shelter.
“I join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in praying for the souls of the departed as we mourn the loss of so many lives. We pray for those injured and the many others suffering, and we also pray for the safety and protection of emergency personnel working to save lives and tending to those in need in the wake of this disaster.
“In a region that has experienced much conflict and hardship, these heartbreaking scenes call out to us to provide aid and assistance to our brothers and sisters in need. I call upon the faithful to give generously to Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association who are working to provide emergency humanitarian relief. I also call upon the U.S. government to provide much needed assistance and to work in conjunction with Catholic aid organizations to deliver effective assistance to those most in need.”
February 8, 2023
Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of El Paso
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Anthony C. Celino as auxiliary bishop of El Paso. Bishop-elect Celino is a priest of the Diocese of El Paso and currently serves as judicial vicar and director of the diocesan tribunal, and as pastor of St. Raphael parish in El Paso, Texas. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on February 8, 2023, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
The following biographical information for Bishop-elect Celino has been drawn from preliminary materials provided to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Father Celino was born April 29, 1972, in the Philippines. He attended Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in Binmaley, Philippines, and Mary Help of Christians College Seminary in Dagupan City, Philippines. He earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake, in Mundelein, Illinois (1997), and a Licentiate in Canon Law from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (2003). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1997.
After ordination, Father Celino was assigned as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso. From 2001 to 2003, he pursued canon law studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. His parish assignments thereafter include: administrator, then pastor, of Santa Lucia parish in El Paso in 2004; temporary administrator of St. Stephen Deacon and Martyr parish in El Paso in 2017; he was also named pastor of St. Raphael parish in El Paso in 2017 where he currently serves, in addition to being judicial vicar for the diocesan tribunal.
Bishop-elect Celino has served various roles in the diocesan offices: judicial vicar (2003 and present); between 2011 and 2017, his ministry included service to the diocese in the roles of diocesan administrator, vicar general, moderator of the curia, and chancellor. Bishop-elect Celino has served on the board of advisors for the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (2012); Tepeyac Institute (2014-2021); and The Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso (2014-2020). He speaks English, Spanish, and Tagalog.
The Diocese of El Paso is comprised of 26,686 square miles in the State of Texas and has a total population of 923,088 of which 720,009 are Catholic.
February 6, 2023
International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
WASHINGTON — Each year, on February 8, the Catholic Church around the world marks the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. The theme chosen for this year is “Journeying in Dignity,” through which the faithful are called to recognize the processes that lead to exploitation, discover the daily paths of those in search of freedom and dignity, promote anti-trafficking actions, and build a culture of encounter.
The event coincides with the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped in her native Sudan at the age of seven, sold into slavery, and trafficked to Italy, where she was eventually freed and became a member of the Canossian Daughters of Charity. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2000.
Leading up to February 8, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, stated, “The bishops of the United States join with the Universal Church in praying for those impacted by the sin of human trafficking, which our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has described as ‘an open wound in the body of Christ, in the body of all humanity.’ Let each of us, as witnesses to the Gospel of life, grow in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are exploited in this way and inspired by the life of Saint Josephine Bakhita, accompany them in the pursuit of justice.”
In observance of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Bishop Seitz will participate in a virtual pilgrimage of prayer and awareness on February 8. The event will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST, starting in Oceania, then move across the world with participation from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, before concluding with North America at 9:30 a.m. EST. The pilgrimage will be livestreamed at prayagainsttrafficking.net in five different languages and will also feature a message from Pope Francis. The faithful are invited to use the hashtag #PrayAgainstTrafficking on social media as they participate. More information is available on the website for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.
Additionally, the USCCB’s Department of Migration and Refuge Services is hosting a webinar entitled “St. Josephine Bakhita - A Saint for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking” on February 7 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Registration is required.  
February 1, 2023
Statement on Bishops’ United Position Against Evil of Abortion
WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, President Biden responded to a reporter’s question about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion: 
REPORTER: “Catholic bishops are demanding that federal tax dollars not fund abortions.”
BIDEN: “No they are not all doing that. Nor is the Pope doing that.”
Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, released the following statement:
“As we are taught by Jesus, human life is sacred. God calls us to defend and nurture life from the moment a new human being is conceived. The Catholic Church has been clear and consistent in this teaching. The Catholic bishops of the United States are united in our commitment to life and will continue to work as one body in Christ to make abortion unthinkable. As the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has said, ‘It is not right to ‘do away with’ a human being, however small, in order to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hitman.’ Taxpayer funding of abortion would force people of good conscience to participate in this grave evil against their will. It would contradict our right to live in accord with the tenets of our faith. Our nation is better than that. I pray that we will protect every child no matter his or her age, and open our hearts to respond to mothers in need with love and support rather than the violence of abortion.”
Additional information and resources on taxpayer funding of abortion are available at the following links:

February 1, 2023
Pope Francis Appoints Bishop for Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, as Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on February 1, 2023, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The biography for Bishop Dorsonville may be found here.

The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux is comprised of 3,500 square miles in the State of Louisiana and has a total population of 257,423 of which 81,512 are Catholic.

February 1, 2023
Statement on Proposed Rule for “Contraceptive Mandate”
WASHINGTON — On January 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule to reduce and, in part, eliminate legal protections from the “contraceptive mandate” for those who have religious or moral objections to facilitating sterilizations or the use of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.  In response, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:
“It has been over a decade since the federal government first announced the HHS contraceptive mandate. The version of regulations that was issued in 2018 provided appropriately clear and robust protections for the exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, free from government punishment, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. But HHS is now proposing to amend them yet again. It is past time for HHS to leave well enough alone in this regard.
“While we are pleased that the proposed regulations appear, at this early stage of review, to retain the bulk of the existing religious exemption, their elimination of protections for moral convictions is disheartening. The proper reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is not, as the proposed regulations claim, to make it free for women to sterilize themselves, but rather to relieve the burdens that our laws and culture place both on mothers and those who may become mothers.
“We regret that it is necessary to revisit this matter and will file more thorough comments with HHS at the appropriate time.”
More information on the HHS contraceptive mandate, the USCCB’s previous comments on this rulemaking, and other regulations impacting religious freedom is available at www.usccb.org/do-no-harm

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