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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

American Bishops and Religious Freedom: Legacy and Limits

Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6299, USA
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Byrnes
Religions 2016, 7(11), 131;
Received: 3 March 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Bishops in US Politics)
This paper explores continuity and change in the American Catholic hierarchy’s promotion of and later reliance on religious freedom. With an analysis spanning more than 50 years, it first traces the pressures for reform that created the Declaration more than 50 years ago, demonstrating that American bishops were crucial actors in the Declaration’s existence and passage, and that this was the case because of the strong legitimacy pressures they were under as Roman Catholic leaders in a predominantly Protestant country. The paper then turns to a summary of how the Birth Control Mandate of the Affordable Care Act once again created pressures for legitimacy for the American Catholic hierarchy, pressures which were again articulated in terms of critiques of hypocrisy. It demonstrates that although the specific critique changed, accusations of hypocrisy remain central in discussions of the Catholic Church’s stance on the Birth Control Mandate in the Affordable Care Act. View Full-Text
Keywords: Roman Catholic bishops; religious freedom; Affordable Care Act; Vatican II Roman Catholic bishops; religious freedom; Affordable Care Act; Vatican II
MDPI and ACS Style

Wilde, M. American Bishops and Religious Freedom: Legacy and Limits. Religions 2016, 7, 131.

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