Religious liberty? Pope Francis approves.

Wednesday, a spokesman from the Vatican confirmed Pope Francis met with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

According to Aleteia:

Fr. Frederico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, told reporters at a Washington, D.C. press conference that Francis met with the nuns as “a sign of his support” for them in their lawsuit against the Obama administration. The sisters are seeking exemption from Obamacare’s birth control mandate, which requires employers to facilitate the provision of full, copay-free coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and the so-called “morning-after pill” for their female employees – all of which the Catholic Church considers immoral.

The meeting, which was not on the pope’s publicly-released schedule of events, was held just hours after the pontiff met with President Obama at the White House. Father Lombardi did not say where, but he noted that the Little Sisters have a convent near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope Francis celebrated a late afternoon Mass. It is likely that he visited the order just after celebrating the liturgy.

In their public remarks at the White House, Obama spoke at length about religious freedom overseas. But Pope Francis highlighted his concerns about religious freedom right here in the U.S., where the government and the Christian faithful, including the Little Sisters, have clashed over issues like same-sex “marriage” and employer-funded birth control.

Little Sisters of the Poor began their legal battle against Obamacare’s contraceptive mandates in 2012. Represented by The Becket Fund, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell is expected to make its way onto the Supreme Court’s docket. Their legal struggle is active, even as of this month. According to The Becket Fund:

On September 3, 2015, five federal judges issued an opinion sharply criticizing their court’s refusal to correct its recent decision against the Little Sisters of the Poor.

For a comprehensive timeline of their fight to protect religious liberty, see here.

Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Pope Francis said:

“With countless other people of good will, they [Christians] are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions. And, 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.”

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