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Msgr. Lopez Addresses HHS Mandate
March 21st, 2012
The following is a letter from Msgr. Richard Lopez to President Barack Obama regarding the HHS Mandate. Msgr. Lopez will address the school community about the issue during Mass on March 28. All parents are welcome to attend.
Dear Mr. President:
My name is Richard Lopez. I am a Catholic priest and a teacher at St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, GA. I have been ordained for 39 years and assigned as a teacher for 30 years. I am writing on behalf of myself and my students who are seniors here at St. Pius. As the HHS mandate means that the Class of 2012 could be our last graduating class, we respectfully ask that you respond to the following questions:
- Please explain why your administration led our Bishops to believe that conscience rights would be respected during the debate on the Affordable Health Care Act? It now appears that was not your intention.
- Can you explain how the HHS mandate does not violate the Constitution which clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”? The mandate forces us to embrace methods that clearly violate our convictions and morality.
- We have two sayings on our classroom wall. From Socrates we have: It is better to suffer evil than to do evil, and from St. Paul: Never do evil even to achieve good. Do you understand that the mandate forces us to sponsor methods that are immoral based on natural and Divine Law, and that we could never be party to such violations?
- Is it understood by your administration that the consequences of this mandate will be either civil disobedience on our part or the shutting down of our massive educational and health facilities that support thousands of people and employ thousands of people, and that have provided services far better than the government has for 200 years in this nation?
Let me end by pointing out one very typical situation. Besides teaching at St. Pius X Catholic High School for 30 years, I was also in residence at various times for nine years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home. I continue to visit the Sisters there on a regular basis. Since 1939, the Hawthorne Dominican Nuns have taken care of thousands of dying patients without any cost to the patients or the state. The overwhelming majority of the patients have been non-Catholic as are one-third of the students in our school systems. Do you imagine for one second that these nuns could continue in a conscience compromising situation such as the mandate demands? Is this the reward of the state for these ladies, and thousands like them, who have given service unselfishly and sacrificially for generations? Are they and we to be penalized by this mandate, because we have served, loved and taught non-Catholics?
Mr. President, I appeal to your conscience, will you allow the pressure of those who see abortion and contraception a more important “right” than our constitutional rights and our consciences to destroy our charitable works, our educational works, our hospitals, our clinics and our nursing centers?
Mr. President, my students and I await your response. Mr. President, you once said: “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end with conception.” In your heart of hearts, you must know what science has always taught, that life begins at conception. The Catholic Church does not believe pregnancy is a disease to be prevented; the Catholic Church does not believe any problem justifies the killing of another human being in abortion, the destruction of embryos, or euthanasia. We are united in this conviction, and prepared to defend it with the closing of all those institutions which have made life better for millions of Americans for hundreds of years.
Msgr. Richard Lopez, Instructor, St. Pius X Catholic High School