Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, June 21, 2018

HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford is vigorously opposing new federal health care insurance legislation that will require virtually all employers to pay for health coverage that includes sterilization, contraception, and medication that induces abortion.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell and Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, will outline how the federal decision violates Catholics’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion on a special edition of "In the After Glow" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, on WJMJ/88.9-FM radio. The call-in show, hosted by Father John Gatzak, will encourage listeners to participate in the conversation.

According to Archbishop Mansell, the federal directive would force Catholic institutions to pay for health insurance on matters that violate their religious principles. It would impact over 77,000 employees of Catholic Charities across the country; numerous Catholic colleges, universities, hospitals and schools; and the large numbers of employees who work for Catholic Relief Services.

"This development runs clearly in the face of the Bill of Rights, providing in its First Amendment freedom of religion, going all the way back to December 15, 1791," said Archbishop Mansell. "Never before in the history of the United States has the federal government forced citizens to pay for directly what violates their beliefs," he added.

The Archdiocese of Hartford, along with dioceses across the country, is mounting a campaign against this decision, and bishops are urging people to contact their lawmakers to urge that it be reversed. Information about how to contact Connecticut’s two United States senators and five representatives is available on the archdiocesan Web site at

In a letter dated Feb. 1 that was sent to priests by postal mail and e-mail, the archbishop asked that a letter to parishioners about the health care decision be inserted in all church bulletins distributed Feb. 4-5. The letter to parishioners also urges them to contact their lawmakers and includes contact information for each of them.

Archbishop Mansell has invited all of Connecticut’s legislators to speak to him in person about the legislation.

"We must act strongly against this edict. It affects the lifeblood of Catholics and millions more who are not Catholic but whom we serve diligently. The future of all of us and our country as well is at stake," said the Archbishop.

Archbishop Mansell devoted most of his monthly column to the subject in the current issue of The Catholic Transcript. The column may be found here.

WJMJ radio is an educational, noncommercial FM radio station licensed to St. Thomas Seminary. It is a service of the archdiocese’s Office of Radio & Television.