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Category Archives: U.S. House of Representatives

Speaker Ryan supports Little Sisters of the Poor

On March 22, 2016, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke on the House floor in support of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the day before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in their fight against the Affordable Care Act’s HHS mandate through which the U.S. Government is forcing them to violate their religious beliefs.

Below are Speaker Ryan’s full remarks as delivered:

“Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. And today, I stand in support of the Little Sisters.

“Mr. Speaker, this is an order of Catholic nuns who serve the elderly poor in 31 countries. We talk a lot about public service up here. Well, these are the people who live it. They are the definition of public service.

“In fact, I had the honor of hosting two of the sisters at the State of the Union address this January. And I was amazed to hear of all the good work that they do. So the last thing the federal government should do is make their jobs harder. But that, unfortunately, is exactly what this administration is doing.

“Under the health-care law, the Department of Health and Human Services is insisting on a regulation that requires the sisters to offer benefits that violate their religious beliefs. The administration claims to have offered them an ‘accommodation.’ But it is just a fig leaf. So this is the choice that they are facing: Either violate your faith or pay up to $70 million a year in fines.

“Mr. Speaker, there is no good reason for any of this. A full one third of the American people are exempt from this regulation. So why insist that the sisters—of all people—follow it? There are other ways to protect people’s health—that do not violate people’s faith.

“And Mr. Speaker, it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that this regulation is a violation of theReligious Freedom Restoration Act. A broad, bipartisan majority in Congress voted for that law. And what Congress said was this: The burden is not on your faith to obey government mandates. The burden is on the government to respect your faith.

“Mr. Speaker, that is the very meaning of religious liberty. That is one of our founding principles. That is why we should do everything we can to let people live out their faith. That is why many colleagues of mine and I have joined an amicus brief asking the Court to grant the sisters the relief that they deserve.

“And that is why I am here today—to stand in defense of the sisters, to stand in defense of the law, and to stand in defense of religious liberty. Thank you.”

Questions for Archdiocese of Boston Official Appearing with Rep. Barney Frank


Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith today issued the following statement regarding the panel discussion “Truth, Lies and Politics” being held this evening, Jan. 3, in Newton, Massachusetts at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center. The event has been promoted in the Boston Globe as “Truth, Lies and Politics, a panel discussion featuring [Congressman Barney] Frank, journalist Robert Kuttner, and Father J. Bryan Hehir [Archdiocese of Boston Secretary for Health Care and Social Services]. Author Leonard Fein moderates the program exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between politicians and truth-telling.”

“Father Hehir has an opportunity this evening to represent the teachings of our Church. The question is: will Father Hehir himself speak the Truth tonight?” asked Smith. “Will he speak the Truth to Congressman Frank about marriage being between one man and one woman? Or address Congressman Frank’s 100% pro-abortion voting record? These are pressing issues of ‘truth-telling’ between politicians.”

According to Freedom to Marry, a pro-same sex marriage organization: “We need more Barney Franks in public life, not fewer, and fortunately we will always have his indelible example to work from.” From their own website, “Freedom to Marry is leading the campaign to overturn DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] and is working across the country to win marriage in more states and educate the public about why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families.”

Smith added, “With Congressman Frank’s retirement at the end of this year, will Father Hehir take the opportunity tonight to publicly speak the Truth that faithful Catholics do not need more representatives voting like Barney Frank in Washington if we are going to make progress on the settled issues of life and marriage?”