There are many issues involved in the HHS mandate. There is one that should be clear to everybody: The executive branch of the United States government is attempting to assert power over the consciences of religious believers. Catholic Christians who adhere with religious conviction to the teachings of the pope and the bishops in union with him will face fines and other coercive measures if they refuse to cooperate with a government policy that violates those teachings. Moreover, the government claims the authority to determine what constitutes a genuine religious activity. This puts Catholic Christians, led by their bishops (!), in a position of having to beg the government for exemptions or accommodations of this law so that they can keep their charitable and educational institutions running, and secure respect for the consciences of the persons who are responsible for establishing and executing the policy of these institutions.
The government has proposed a modification of its policy, and the bishops have judged that it is still not acceptable. The government disagrees. They say that it should be acceptable. Gosh, who has authority in my religion?
What part of "WE CANNOT OBEY THIS LAW WITHOUT VIOLATING OUR CONSCIENCES" does the government not understand?
Whether they understand or not, it remains a fact. We will not obey your unjust law. And we will not stand for the fact that our bishops--the successors of the apostles of Jesus Christ our Lord and God--are forced to wait upon the bureaucratic court of a government executive who is massively overstepping the boundaries of his power.
For this reason, as well as for the great sufferings of our culture, we are praying, and making sacrifices, and fasting during these next two weeks.
I am doing this because I am committed to the authentic dignity of every human person, whose relationship with his or her destiny transcends the dictats of the State.
And because I love the Church!