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Bishops’ concerns for religious liberty, health care echo at assembly

June 22, 2017
Catholic News Service

INDIANAPOLIS – Reflecting their concern that religious liberty at home and abroad remains a top priority, the U.S. bishops during their spring general assembly in Indianapolis voted to make permanent their Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Voting 132-53 with five abstentions June 15, the second day of the assembly, the bishops’ action came less than a week before the start of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fifth annual Fortnight for Freedom June 21-July 4. The observance is a two-week period of prayer, advocacy and education on religious freedom.

The bishops also reiterated that their efforts are focused on “ensuring the fundamental right of medical care” for all people as the U.S. Senate worked in mid-June on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after the U.S. House of Representatives had passed its own measure, the American Health Care Act.

The chairman of the National Review Board, which works to respond to and prevent sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel, updated the bishops June 14 on the board’s work and presented key points of the recently issued 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church’s “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

In a related event, the bishops celebrated a liturgy last evening in response to a call from Pope Francis to episcopal conferences around the world to observe a “Day of Prayer and Penance” for survivors of sexual abuse within the church.

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