The Diocese of Des Moines

Statements from Bishop Richard Pates


March 20, 2012 -- Bishops of Iowa issue statement for prayer for religious liberty
In conjunction with the bishops of Iowa through the Iowa Catholic Conference, Bishop Richard Pates is asking that all Catholics dedicate the regular Lenten Friday practice of prayer and abstinence as well as the practice of fasting on Friday, March 30, to the preservation of religious liberty.

Feb. 10, 2012 -- Bishop issues statement on HHS revision
Following President Obama's news conference on revisions to the HHS rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Bishop Pates issued this statement.

Feb. 8, 2012 -- HHS mandate
Bishop sent the following letter all priests and deacons of the diocese to convey to the faithful regarding the HHS controversy to be either read from the pulpit or placed in parish bulletins the weekend of Feb. 11-12. If printed and placed in the parish bulletin, attention should be called to it.
Letter in English
Letter in Spanish

Feb. 3, 2012 -- Bishop on HHS in e-newsletter
In the monthly e-newsletter "In the Diocesan Loop" distributed to about 1,000 email addresses of those in parish and school leadership throughout the diocese, Bishop Pates commented on the HHS mandate.

Jan. 23, 2012 -- HHS mandate
Bishop sent the following to all priests, deacons and diocesan staff:


 "On Jan. 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule, which is considered a      direct assault on Freedom of Conscience and the free exercise of religion (First Amendment). The rule would require virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, female sterilization procedures and related "patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity." In order that you might be fully informed of this ruling, I am attaching the following material provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

  • General Press Release
  • Backgrounder
  • Questions and Answers

There is also a video message from Archbishop (now Cardinal) Dolan.


"For the present, in terms of response by the local and national Catholic community, I advise:

  • Updating yourself on the matter through familiarity with the attached information;
  • Educating parishioners about the issue through parish bulletin, website, pulpit
  • Participating in a unified response as organized by the USCCB;
  • Continuing to pray that our culture will find the way to commit ourselves to the dictates of the Natural Law and foster the inalienable right and gift of life."