The Diocese of Des Moines

Issue Awareness and Education

Religious Liberty


To address issues of concern, the U.S. bishops established the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, led by Archbishop William Lori (now Archbishop of Baltimore). Among the first issues the committee has addressed is a federal Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring employer health plans to cover contraception, including abortifacients, and sterilization in all private health insurance plans.

Making the case for Religious Liberty

The U.S. bishops have issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to work to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. The HHS mandate is just one of several troubling examples of affronts to religious liberty. Read the U.S. bishops' statement "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," (click here for the Spanish version)


Click here to order "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty" in bulk! 

Fortnight for Freedom

In their document "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," the bishops call for "A Fortnight For Freedom," which will be a two-week period between June 21 to July 4 during which we are urged to focus "all the energies the Catholic community can muster" for religious freedom. They also asked that the feast of Christ the King, which is Nov. 25, be "a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad."


Resources for Fortnight for Freedom:


Letters to the Editor:

The following are letters that have been submitted to the Des Moines Register.
2-28-12 By Linda Nesbit (unpublished)
2-29-12 By John Cortesio (unpublished)

6-29-12 By Bishop  Richard Pates, full, unedited version of what was printed 6-30-12

7-2-12 By John Cortesio


3-11-12 Deacon Joe Cortese, including HHS mandate
10-16-11 Deacon Mike Manno, Render to Caesar


Archived USCCB Resources:


Letter from Cardinal Dolan to Bishops in English (USCCB, published 2/22/12)

Letter from Cardinal Dolan to Bishops in Spanish (USCCB, published 2/22/12)

Bulletin insert in English (USCCB, published 2/17/12)
Bulletin insert in Spanish (USCCB, published 2/17/12

Six more things to know (USCCB, after White House "accommodation," published 2/13/12) 

Six things to know in English (USCCB, published 2/6/12)
Six things to know in Spanish (USCCB, published 2/6/12)
USCCB: White House misrepresents its own contraceptive mandate (published 2/3/12)