Franciscan University of Steubenville becomes the first Catholic institution forced to drop their campus health insurance coverage. In a post on their website, Franciscan sites the violation of our religious liberties and additional new requirements which would double premiums.
Franciscan University might be the first but they will certainly not be the last.
Late last Friday, Georgetown University announced that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is the featured speaker for an awards ceremony at the University’s Public Policy Institute. This news is a disappointment but not a surprise. (more…)
A letter signed by 49 professors and staff sent to University of Notre Dame President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, and Board Chairman, Richard C. Notabaert, demands Bishop Daniel Jenky resign from the Board of Fellows. Bishop Jenky of Peoria, IL made national news when he compared Obama’s violation of religious liberty to Hitler and Stalin. The signers also demand the university issue a statement “distancing itself” from the bishop’s “incendiary statement.”
Here is what Bishop Jenky said:
“Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care. In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama — with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda — now seems intent on following a similar path.” (more…)
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the highest-ranking U.S. prelate in the Vatican, has described the HHS mandate as a temptation for Catholics to “materially and formally” cooperate with evil. Or, to put it simply, any Catholic who obeys the government mandate is committing a mortal sin.This interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family gave Cardinal Burke the opportunity to explain the reason behind the tough stand being taken by Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal George, Archbishop Lori, Archbishop Chaput, and the bishops’ conference in general. (more…)
On Palm Sunday, our Holy Father Benedict XVI explained the promise of God contained in the joyous shouts of those who welcomed Jesus into the city of Jerusalem:
The answer is found throughout Scripture, which reminds us that the Messiah fulfills the promise of God’s blessing, God’s original promise to Abraham, father of all believers: “I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you … and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (Gen 12:2-3).
Though all the Church will pass through the darkness of Holy Thursday and the Passion of Good Friday, we advance towards Easter with the hope that God fulfills His promises.
As Benedict XVI explained, that promise is a “drawing to Himself humanity of every age and offering to all the gift of redemption.” Every age! That means even our own, the age of the 21st century with all its dangers, challenges, and opportunities.
We at Catholic Advocate have created this apostolate in response to His promise and to our obligation as Catholics to participate thoroughly in the political process.
Please join us this Easter in praying for the future of our nation and our Church and that all of us will affirm the hope that God’s blessings will be in our future, each and every day.
Good news! The Administrative Committee of the USCCB has released a statement on the HHS mandate that doesn’t retreat a single step from the position taken by Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal George, Archbishop Chaput, and the dozens of other bishops who have condemned this gross violation of religious liberty. It should be noted that the bishops not only list all the reasons why the mandate is objectionable but also “thank” faithful Catholics and others of good will who have condemned it. The final paragraph is literally a rallying call to all Catholics and men and women of faith, to take whatever steps are necessary to have the mandate rescinded:
“Most importantly of all, we call upon the Catholic faithful, and all people of faith, throughout our country to join us in prayer and penance for our leaders and for the complete protection of our First Freedom—religious liberty—which is not only protected in the laws and customs of our great nation, but rooted in the teachings of our great Tradition. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength—for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible” (more…)
Twice this past week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan urged the laity to be more engaged in political life. His remarks follow his return from Rome where he was elevated to the College of Cardinals.
Prior to his public comments, the Cardinal wrote on his blog (3/1/12) that faithful Catholics should continue to oppose the HHS mandate: “We need you more than ever! We can’t give up hoping, praying, trying, and working hard.”
Then this past Saturday (3/3/12), Cardinal Dolan addressed the annual diocesan public policy forum in advance of lobbying efforts at the state capital in Albany, New York. As The New York Times reported in their article:
“Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan told Roman Catholics on Saturday that in an era when the church was fighting the government on several fronts, they needed to make their voices heard more clearly in the political sphere.”
We applaud Cardinal Dolan for articulating what we as the laity should be reminded at this critical moment for our church and our country.
This is why we founded Catholic Advocate: To defend the settled issues of our Church’s teaching, including the right to religious liberty. Towards this end, we work hard everyday on your behalf.
We take seriously what Pope Benedict XVI said to the Pontifical Council of the Laity during the “Witnesses to Christ in the political community” gathering on May 21, 2010:
“It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well- founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defense of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good.”
Today, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 51 – 48, defeated the effort led by Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri) to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act as an amendment to pending legislation. Thirteen Catholic Senators joined the majority.
“By consenting to the disastrous HHS mandate, the U.S. Senate has taken the unprecedented step to deny our religious liberties instead of defending the Constitution,” said Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate. “It is disappointing to witness a group of senators misled on this issue at the expense of one of our key founding principles.”
The following is a list of how the 24 Catholic Senators voted on the Blunt amendment:
Senator Mark Begich (Alaska, D) – Opposed
Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska, R) – Supported
Senator Marco Rubio (Florida, R) – Supported
Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa, D) – Opposed
Senator James Risch (Idaho, R) – Supported
Senator Richard Durbin (Illinois, D) – Opposed
Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisiana, D) – Opposed
Senator David Vitter (Louisiana, R) – Supported
Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts, D) – Opposed
Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland, D) – Opposed
Senator Susan Collins (Maine, R) – Supported
Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri, D) – Opposed
Senator John Hoeven (North Dakota, R) – Supported
Senator Mike Johanns (Nebraska, R) – Supported
Senator Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire, R) – Supported
Senator Robert Menendez (New Jersey, D) – Opposed
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York, D) – Opposed
Senator Bob Casey Jr. (Pennsylvania, D) – Supported
Senator Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania, R) – Supported
Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island, D) – Opposed
Senator Pat Leahy (Vermont, D) – Opposed
Senator Maria Cantwell (Washington, D) – Opposed
Senator Patty Murray (Washington, D) – Opposed
Senator Joe Manchin III (West Virginia, D) – Supported
“Faithful Catholics should take the opportunity to thank those Senators supporting our religious liberties,” added Smith. “It is our duty as laity to hold those who did not support our values accountable and vote our conscience when the time comes.”
The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary (in the case of individual coverage) without penalty.”
Urges people of faith to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act
Catholic Advocate launched our latest effort to defend religious liberty by calling on people of faith to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience act through a web video. The video entitled “Consultation” is targeted toward the potential activity in Congress on H.R. 1179/S. 1467 in the coming weeks.