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Statement on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby
Statement on Buffer Zone Ruling
June 30, 2014 - The Diocese of Worcester applauds the decision this morning from the Supreme Court of the United States in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In the court’s decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote “Under the standard that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] prescribes, the HHS contraceptive mandate is unlawful.” The mandate substantially burdened the exercise of religion by the owner of a private, for-profit business without being the least restrictive means of furthering public health.
As Pope Francis recently said, religious freedom “is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly.” It is not limited to worship within a building but includes the right to live one’s faith in society. The Green Family of Hobby Lobby and the Hahn Family of Conestoga Wood Specialties were recognized by the community for leading their companies with high ethical standards including providing exemplary benefits for their employees including excellent healthcare benefits. They did so while respecting their conscience by not providing coverage for drugs or methods which could induce an abortion.
The United States was founded by people who were seeking a place to exercise their religious beliefs without penalty, and this freedom has been protected without establishing one particular faith over another. We are grateful for today’s ruling by the Supreme Court and look forward to building a culture that fully respects religious freedom.
June 26, 2014 -- The Diocese of Worcester applauds the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of the United States supporting the right to free speech on public sidewalks. In the unanimous opinion of the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts described the petitioners’ role as sidewalk counselors who provide information to clinic clients about alternatives to abortion and offers of assistance. The decision notes that the counselors’ caring demeanor and calm exchanges have been “effective means of dissuading women from having abortions.”
This favorable decision on the unconstitutionality of the 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics will allow those who offer compassionate sidewalk counselling to continue their efforts more effectively.
We continue to teach that exercising free speech in a peaceful and respectful manner is a necessary component of witnessing to the dignity of every person, including the unborn. We condemn violence as inconsistent with our mission to respect life as a gift from God.
Partners in Charity Appeal
July 18, 2014, WORCESTER, MA – The Office of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese of Worcester has announced that the Annual Partners in Charity Appeal has raised $4,682,919 towards the $5 million as of Thursday, July 16. So far, 17,496 gifts and pledges have been made, including from 1,052 new donors this year. 144 priests have contributed $212,180 and St. Paul Society Members have contributed $797,143 to date. Fifty parishes have reached or exceeded their goals. CLICK HERE
for a list of results by parish.
37 New Assignments Announced for Diocese of Worcester
June 19, 2014, WORCESTER, MA –Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, S.T.D., Bishop of Worcester, announced the following 37 clergy assignments which will be effective July 1, 2014 unless otherwise noted. CLICK TO READ RELEASE
Bishop to Undergo Cancer Surgery in June
May 20, 2014 - Bishop Robert McManus announced in a letter last week to the priests of the Diocese of Worcester that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He will undergo surgery on June 26 at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester. He informed the pastors that he is grateful that his surgery can wait until then in order for him to “complete his pastoral duties” at this time of the year. He also noted that he will be recovering from the surgery during the month of July.