Order of Malta hosts presentation on HHS and religious liberty
BELMONT — The Order of Malta is not backing down in its defense of religious liberty and the Catholic faith.
That was evident on Feb. 11, as the Charlotte Chapter of the Order of Malta hosted a forum on religious liberty in the Haid Theatre at Belmont Abbey College, actively living its charism to "defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman Faith against the enemies of religion."
More than 100 people attended the event. It was hosted in light of recent attempts by the Obama Administration to seek compromise between Catholic leaders and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on its recent mandate to include contraception in all health insurance plans over religious organizations' objections.
Pictured: Dr. Bill Theirfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College, speaks during the HHS presentation Feb. 11. (Anthony Perlas, Catholic News Herald)
The forum began with the recitation of the rosary, followed by several talks during the afternoon, each with a question-and-answer session. The day concluded with Mass.
Dr. Grattan Brown, assistant professor of theology at Belmont Abbey, spoke on natural law and bioethical issues at the forum, noting that despite promised concessions that Obama announced Feb. 10, "there is good reason to believe that this change does not exempt the Church from cooperation in evil."
The HHS contraception mandate would threaten the ability of religious institutions to identify actions that they believe would ultimately threaten the common good.
Also speaking at the forum were Kyle Duncan, senior legal counsel of the Becket Fund, representing Belmont Abbey College in its federal lawsuit over the HHS contraception mandate; and Nancy Matthews, retired chancellor for the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Matthews, who is working alongside the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its ad hoc committee on religious liberty, spoke on the necessity of the Church to organize and publicly defend its moral teachings against government encroachment.
— Charlie Jackson, intern