Bridgeport, Conn. Bishop William E. Lori was installed as the new archbishop of Baltimore, Md. on Wednesday, and he entered the cradle of American Catholicism with a series of bangs aimed at the Obama administration.
To loud applause in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Lori articulated orthodox Catholic messages about gay marriage, abortion and government control over religion — three hot-button issues on which observers expect him to lead at the national level.
Lori is chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee For Religious Liberty, a body created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to fight the Obama administration’s mandate that employees of Catholic schools and hospitals must receive health care benefits that cover birth control. That committee’s work has also recently included the defense of traditional marriage.
President Obama announced this week that he personally supports the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Lori fired back.
“Let’s never shrink from entering the public square to proclaim the person of Christ, to teach the values that flow from faith and reason,” Lori said during his homily, “to defend the sanctity of life from conception ’til natural death, and to uphold the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman, and to serve effectively —”
At that point, the cathedral erupted in applause directed at the reference to the gay marriage controversy.
“— and to serve effectively those in great need with convictions borne of the moral law,” he concluded.
“Now, dear friends,” Lori added, “you and I must be loyal Americans by being bold and courageous Catholics.” Again, lengthy applause filled the historic cathedral.
The Catholic church has been among the most vocal opponents of the Obama administration’s health care position regarding birth control.