Category Archives: Religious Liberty
In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, former Ambassador to the Vatican and Harvard Law School Professor Mary Ann Glendon explains:
“The main goal of the contraception mandate is not to protect women’s health. It is a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda.”
This week Catholic bishops are heading to federal courts across the country to defend religious liberty. On Monday they filed 12 lawsuits on behalf of a diverse group of 43 Catholic entities that are challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) sterilization, abortifacient and birth-control insurance mandate. (more…)
The news in the Catholic Church today centers around the 43 entities filing lawsuits against the HHS mandate announced earlier this year. In an unprecedented move, diocese, organizations, and universities from across the Catholic spectrum filed 12 different lawsuits in federal courts around the country defending our religious liberties.
This move is not surprising. The unity of Catholic institutions is encouraging. In response, Cardinal Dolan issued the following statement praising the coordinated response:
Cardinal Dolan Applauds Church Agencies As They Challenge HHS For Violating Religious Freedom
With time running out, dioceses, agencies resort to the courts
Church united in defense of religious liberty
Diversity of church ministries at stake
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in a May 21 statement applauded 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies for filing 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates religious freedom.
His statement follows.
“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”
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.
Visit Catholic Advocate’s Action Center and tell Congress to support conscience protections.
Continue to read the full announcement from Franciscan University: (more…)
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has weighed in on Georgetown University inviting Secretary Sebelius as a participant in an event affiliated with their commencement activities this weekend.
Below is the editorial published in the latest issue of the Catholic Standard.
Editorial: “Disappointed But Not Surprised”
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.”
Pope Benedict’s words encouraged us as we wrote in The Washington Times last year that Catholic voters hold the power to change elections.
Our bishops’ are an important voice, but when we, the laity, join with theirs’ we make a sound so loud it cannot be ignored.
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 full Catholic Advocate Congressional Scorecard is available at http://scorecard.catholicadvocate.com/.
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.”