- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pope Francis gave President Obama a mini-lecture in public about religious freedom Wednesday, as several U.S. religious institutions press court challenges to the administration’s contraception mandate under Obamacare.

American Catholics are “concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and the right to religious liberty,” Francis told the president at the arrival ceremony in his honor at the White House.

“As my brothers, the United States bishops, have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” the pope told the president.

Francis didn’t mention Obamacare or cite any specific examples of threats to religious liberty in his remarks. But some observers have been urging the pontiff to speak out in defense of religious liberty, in light of dozens of court challenges to the government mandate that religious-affiliated employers provide contraceptive coverage through their health-insurance plans.

The pope also said U.S. Catholics “are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.”

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