BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Buffalo Diocese issued some strong words Friday, speaking against a recent federal ruling that he says infringes on religious liberty.
In a recent ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services, all employers, including the Catholic Church, will be forced to provide health care coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception; a direct contradiction to Catholic beliefs.
In a letter issued to parishes across Western New York, Kmiec calls the federal mandate "unjust", and says, "We cannot, we will not, comply," with the law.
He went on to say, "In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply."
Most employers have been given until August, 2013 to comply.
The Bishop is calling on the faith community to "commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored." Adding that, "without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible."
He is also asking Catholics to visit www.usccb.org/conscience to learn more about the law.