Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge
June 2012 - USCCB "Why Conscience is Important" bulletin inserts
As you know, since January there has been much attention to our efforts to address the very troubling Health and Human Services (HHS) coercive mandate requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. For the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government will force religious institutions to facilitate drugs and procedures contrary to our moral teaching. And it will purport to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit an exemption. read more...
While our US Conference of Catholic Bishops has had to respond quickly to many urgent situations with the Administration, Congress and the media, we certainly want to be responsive to our people in the pews. The Conference has been working to develop a series of bulletin inserts to address a wide range of issues from our concerns over religious liberty to the Church’s teaching on sexuality and openness to new human life. Some of these will simply be catechetical and others will encourage parishioners to take some needed action.
If you were able to make use of the first bulletin insert in your parish in the late-April to late-May timeframe, I am very grateful to you. The second in the series of nationwide bulletin inserts is now available for parish distribution from now through the end of June. The focus is on “Why Conscience is Important” and it encourages parishioners to send an email message to HHS during the limited comment period announced by the Administration, as well as a message to Congress. The bulletin insert also directs parishioners to resources on the Fortnight for Freedom. As the Conference has done with the other nationwide bulletin inserts related to healthcare reform or the HHS mandate, these resources are being provided electronically. This model has worked well as many parishes have printed these one-page inserts directly into their bulletins. All inserts will be provided in English and Spanish, as well as black & white and color. For your convenience, copies of each insert in PDF format are attached to this memorandum, as well as available on our diocesan website.
At this point we anticipate providing the following bulletin inserts:
• April-May: Religious liberty
• June: Why conscience is important.
• July-August: Several inserts on marriage, sexuality and openness to new life.
• September: Conscience formation.
• December: Current challenges and calling the new Congress to respond.
These resources will be complemented during the year with suggested homily notes, Prayers of the Faithful, and additional prayer resources that continue to be posted on the USCCB website www.usccb.org/conscience.
I want to express my gratitude for the wonderful response to the nationwide call to prayer and for all the interest in the Fortnight for Freedom from June 21 to July 4. As communicated to you recently, additional resources can be found at www.fortnight4freedom.org. Thank you for encouraging your parishioners to participate in all these efforts.
Yours in Christ,