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Archbishop-designate decries 'erosion of religious liberty'

Bishop William Lori appears on 'Meet the Press'

By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

12:54 PM EDT, April 8, 2012

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Baltimore Archbishop-designate William Lori said that the U.S. is witnessing "an erosion of religious liberty" and that a sign of it is the Obama administration's attempt to ensure Catholic schools, hospitals and charities provide birth control coverage as part of their employees' health insurance package.

Lori, appearing as part of an Easter-morning round-table discussion on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he would not characterize the current atmosphere as a "war" on religion. But he termed the proposed federal mandate, which has been altered to make it more palatable to Catholics, "one of the most important of these underminings of religious liberty."

Acknowledging that some of the church's teachings might be "a bit countercultural," Lori — who is scheduled to be installed May 16 as the 16th head of the Baltimore archdiocese and leader of its 510,000 Catholics — said religious liberty should include promoting an atmosphere in which "unpopular views find respect."

Chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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