WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement commending a proposed rule change that will help ensure faith-based social service providers will not be excluded from certain federally-funded programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Their joint statement follows:
“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father. To restrict faith-based organizations’ work by infringing on religious freedom – as the 2016 rule threatened to do – is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families. We welcome today’s proposed rule modifications and look forward to reviewing and commenting on them further.”
The USCCB continues to oppose the Equality Act in Congress. The House passed the act on May 17, 2019.
Five Bishop Chairmen spoke out against it on behalf of their committees:
- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
- Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
- Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education
- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty
- Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage
“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”