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Zubik & Rooney

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Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

In Paul Kengor's column “Church v. State: The unreported scandal involving Dan Rooney & the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh” (Nov. 3 and, he raises the issue of why Bishop David Zubik has not addressed Dan Rooney's active support for the Affordable Care Act.

He cites the lawsuit that Bishop Zubik has filed addressing the violation of religious freedom in the mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That mandate requires that contraception, sterilization and abortifacients be included in the medical coverage provided by the Catholic Church and church-related entities.

As early as 1919, the U.S. Catholic bishops outlined their support for the right to universal health care for all. That remains the position of the U.S. Catholic Church, including the Diocese of Pittsburgh — that everyone have access to affordable health care.

The lawsuit does not call into question the ACA itself, whose intention it is to provide health care coverage to all. To clarify, the lawsuit brings to the courts our most serious objection to one aspect of the ACA as imposed by HHS — specifically, the mandate that takes away religious freedom by forcing religious institutions and private business owners to violate their consciences and religious beliefs.

It should be noted as well that Zubik has met and will continue to meet and dialogue with leaders in the community whose positions might appear to violate a Catholic understanding of social justice and human rights. When he does so, those discussions remain private.

Helene E. Paharik

The writer, associate general secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (, directs its Department for Human Life and Dignity.

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