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Bishops Hail Court Decision Upholding Religious Liberty

January 11, 2012
Great day for First Amendment, says Bishop Lori
Who chooses ministers, chooses message
‘Ministerial Exception’ grounded in First Freedom

WASHINGTON—“It’s a great day for the First Amendment,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

Bishop Lori spoke January 11, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold a church’s right to determine who its ministers are and banned government interference in the process. His statement follows.

The Supreme Court decision marks a victory for religious liberty and the U.S. Constitution. Freedom of Religion is America’s First Freedom and the Court has spoken unanimously in favor of it. The Founding Fathers would be proud. Respect for the long-standing “ministerial exception,” which is grounded in the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, prevents the government from interfering in the employment relationship between a Church and its ministers. This decision makes resoundingly clear the historical and constitutional importance of keeping internal church affairs off limits to the government—because whoever chooses the minister chooses the message.It’s a great day for the First Amendment.

Bishop William E. Lori
U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty


Keywords: Bishop William E. Lori, religious liberty, Hosanna-Tabor, U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, ministerial exception

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Sr. Mary Ann Walsh


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