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‘Steadfast, despite the decision’
ROME — “We must not be muzzled by any mandate,” Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde told the Arlington Catholic Herald Friday in response to the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act Thursday.
“Despite the decision, we have to be very strong ourselves about defending religious liberty,” he said. “The Fortnight for Freedom will go on, those lawsuits will continue in the various places where they were filed.”
“We need to keep urging our people to understand the importance of the first right; it’s the most precious of our rights,” he said.
The fight for religious liberty is important to Bishop Loverde who sees a “great unity and bond” with Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori who was “strong on this issue” even before he was named chairman of the U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee on religious freedom.
Bishop Loverde was in Rome for the pallium ceremony June 29, where four archbishops from the United States received the wool stole from the pope. Among them were Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, and Archbishop William C. Skurla, head of the Byzantine Eparchy of Pittsburgh.
“The bishops need to be united, and they are united,” Bishop Loverde said, adding that the issue is to get Catholics likewise to see the essence of what the fight is about.
“The media often can get people off on tangents and distract (them) from the real issue,” he said.
“In a sense, it is a life issue,” he said. “It’s about the life of the Church for Her not only to work, but to be a participant in the public arena of life. We’ve always contributed to the common good.”
The definition of a religious institution must be changed, he said. “We can’t be defined (the way) that mandate tries to define us.”