Taking note of the USCCB’s new pastoral exhortation on Confession, “God’s Gift of Forgiveness,” Archbishop Schnurr asks the faithful of Cincinnati to avail themselves of the sacrament this Lent and, more interestingly, to fast and abstain from meat on all Fridays during the Year of Faith:
[T]he bishops of the United States have called us to fast and abstain from meat every Friday, if we are able, during the Year of Faith. This call to prayer is prompted by unprecedented challenges to the Church and the nation, particularly in the area of religious liberty. One year ago the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a mandate under the Affordable Care Act that requires all employer care health plans to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of the employer’s moral or religious objections. Even some ministries of institutions like Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities may not be considered sufficiently religious to qualify for the mandate’s narrow religious exemption.