Diocese provides further details on bishop’s men’s march homily

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Diocese of Peoria on Thursday provided the following additional information regarding the April 14 homily of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral during the annual “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” event:

Diocesan Chancellor Patricia Gibson stated, “It is unfortunate that many of Bishop Jenky’s comments in his homily at our Men’s March were taken out of context.”

With respect to national legislation, particularly the much debated Department of Health and Human Services requirements, there is genuine fear that this will force the Church to exit from various ministries in the face of being forced to violate Church teachings. “Bishop Jenky is concerned that Catholic institutions may not be able to continue in ministry if they are required to violate their religious beliefs,” said Gibson.

The proposed legislation would require Catholic institutions to provide abortion inducing drugs, or other services considered immoral, as a condition of continuing services. This would apply not only to Church employee health plans but also healthcare delivery. Some beliefs are fundamental and non-negotiable to Catholics and there is no permissible compromise with an intrinsic evil.

“Furthermore, it is beyond the scope of government to define Church ministry without limiting the free exercise of religion as guaranteed in the First Amendment,” continued Gibson. “Based upon the current government’s threatened infringement upon the Church’s religious exercise of its ministry, Bishop Jenky offered historical context and comparisons as a means to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions.”

Gibson added, “Bishop Jenky is concerned that our government is treading on one of our most dear freedoms: religious liberty. In his homily on April 14, Bishop Jenky expressed concern that our country is starting down a dangerous path that we have seen before in history. Bishop Jenky gave several examples of times in history in which religious groups were persecuted because of what they believed. We certainly have not reached the same level of persecution. However, history teaches us to be cautious once we start down the path of limiting religious liberty.”

Bishop Jenky made his comments in a religious ceremony in which he spoke as a shepherd to his flock. Bishop Jenky spoke as any religious leader with a responsibility to challenge his people to lead lives of faith with a strong sense of conviction for his or her beliefs. Religious leaders have always called their people to live their faith courageously. Bishop Jenky hopes that people of all faiths will stand up for religious liberty now before our freedoms are eroded.


For the full text of the homily, click here.

A podcast audio version of the homily is available at
The Bishop’s Podcasts.

For The Catholic Post’s story regarding “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith,” click here.

For dozens of photos from the event, see the album on The Catholic Post’s Facebook site.

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