George: Government impinging on religious freedoms regarding contraception
Cardinal Francis George answers questions before visiting the pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago to pray over the sick children on Christmas day 2011. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)
“The concern of the (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) is not contraception or sterilization or paying for abortion-producing pills, as such,” George said during a press conference at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. “The larger issue here is whether or not the government can tell what is a Catholic institution, therefore part of the Church, (that) this is what you must do in order to be part of health care in our society.”
“The long-term effect is that the Catholic Church will be stripped of the institutions that are her instruments for public service,” George said. “We will lose hospitals, we will lose universities. That’s not the country I was born in.”
When asked if he could foresee a compromise between the Church and the administration, George said he hopes that whatever agreement is reached aligns with First Amendment freedoms.
“This is going to be a long conversation,” he said. “ Something monumental is happening here.”