Skip to comments.43 Catholic organizations, including Notre Dame, sue Obama administration over HHS mandate
Posted on 05/21/2012 2:59:33 PM PDT by NYer
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, May 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) In a coordinated defense of religious liberty, at 11 a.m. 43 Roman Catholic organizations filed a dozen lawsuits nationwide to strike down the HHS mandate.
The plaintiffs include some of the most significant organs of the U.S. church, including the Archdioceses of New York, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis; the Dioceses of Dallas, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ft. Worth, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Pittsburgh, and Rockville Centre; the University of Notre Dame, Catholic University of America, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville; and Our Sunday Visitor.
The Archdiocese of Washington has created a website dedicated to the new lawsuit. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., called the mandate a “government attempt to force the Church out of the public square.”
“The Catholic rebellion has begun,” said Catholic League President Bill Donohue in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.
The HHS mandate amounts to nothing less than a grave threat to our constitutionally protected First Amendment right to freedom of religion, said Franciscan University President Father Terence Henry, TOR. He added, although they never envisioned taking such a step, the board of trustees unanimously approved the lawsuit.
Our Sunday Visitor linked its involvement to the legacy of its founder, Fr. John Noll, who fought the political clout of the Ku Klux Klan as that organization attempted to impose anti-Catholic policies at the turn of the 20th century. Today, Our Sunday Visitor stands proudly with our fellow Catholic apostolates and with our bishops in resisting this challenge, the publication announced in a press release.
Perhaps nothing so encapsulated President Obama’s fall from grace with American Catholics than the participation of the University of Notre Dame, where his invitation to deliver the 2009 commencement address stirred controversy.
We have filed this lawsuit neither lightly nor gladly, but with sober determination, wrote Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins in a letter explaining his actions. Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the [g]overnment from providing such services…We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the [g]overnment not impose its values on the University when those values conflict with our religious teachings.
Notre Dame does not qualify for the administration’s religious exemption because, although it is firmly grounded in the tenets of Catholicism, it does not primarily employ or serve other Roman Catholics.
Notre Dame cannot be forced to give up its beliefs on abortifacients, sterilization, or contraception, nor its devotion to serving all mankind, without violating its religious beliefs and compromising its religious purpose, the university’s legal complaint states.
Fr. Jenkins writes that he had registered his objection to the administration’s overly narrow religious exemption numerous times without satisfaction.
The university’s legal complaint states that after Obama announced an accommodation that would require insurance companies to directly provide contraceptives to employees and students for free, college officials informed the White House that such a policy would not help Notre Dame, which is self-insured, and would not protect its religious liberties.
The lawsuit argues the government has no compelling interest in the mandate, that forcing a religious institution to finance abortifacient drugs is not the least restrictive means of providing them, that the rule burdens the university’s free exercise of religion, and that it favors those religions that either favor abortion or have no interest in serving members of other religions.
The university’s health care plan is not grandfathered, and officials maintain they are not certain if it qualifies for the one-year safe harbor that extends the implementation of the HHS mandate past the election, into August 2013. The uncertainty over future regulations makes it impossible for the university to plan for its future.
If religious institutions fail to comply with the regulations promulgated next year, they could face a penalty of $100 per day per individual covered. In an online video, Chancellor Jane Belford of the Archdiocese of Washington said that could cost that diocese $4.2 million a year.
Although Fr. Jenkins does not question the good intentions and sincerity of administration officials, he warned if the HHS mandate were accepted, it will be the end of genuinely religious organizations in all but name.
Even some liberal Catholics have greeted today’s lawsuit as a positive step. Michael Sean Winters writes at the dissenting National Catholic Reporter, The lawsuit, and Jenkins’ commentary, are very good news.
First, I doubt there is anyone who could charge Notre Dame with being unreasonably hostile to the Ibama [sic] administration, he wrote. Yet the administration has still refused to back off the four-part test to grant an institution a religious exemption that was, and is, for many of us, the principal difficulty in finding a solution.
Could you tell us what HHS stands for?
Health and Human Services???
Is there a list anywhere of all 43 organizations?
1. D.D.C. Lawsuit
o Archdiocese of Washington
o Consortium of Catholic Academies
o Archbishop Carroll High School
o Catholic Charities of D.C.
o The Catholic University of America
2. E.D.N.Y. Lawsuit
o Diocese of Rockville Centre
o Catholic Health Services of Long Island
o Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre
o Archdiocese of N.Y.
3. W.D.Pa. (Erie Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Erie
o St. Martin Center
o Prince of Peace Center
4. W.D.Pa. (Pitt. Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Pittsburgh
o Catholic Charities of Diocese of Pittsburgh
o Catholic Cemeteries Association of Diocese of Pittsburgh
5. N.D.Tex. (Dallas Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Dallas
6. N.D.Tex. (Fort Worth Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Fort Worth
7. S.D. Ohio (Columbus Div.) Lawsuit
o Franciscan University of Steubenville
o Michigan Catholic Conference
8. S.D.Miss. (Gulfport Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Jackson
o Catholic Charities of Jackson
o Vicksburg Catholic School
o St. Josephs Catholic School
o Diocese of Biloxi
o De lEpee Deaf Center Inc.
o Catholic Social & Community Services Inc.
o Resurrection Catholic School
o Sacred Heart Catholic School
o St. Dominic Health Services
9. N.D.Ind. (South Bend Div.) Lawsuit
o The University of Notre Dame
10. N.D. Ind. (Fort Wayne Div.) Lawsuit
o Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
o Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne-South Bend
o St. Anne Home
o Franciscan Alliance
o Our Sunday Visitor
o University of St. Francis
11. N.D.Ill. Lawsuit
o Diocese of Joliet
o Catholic Charities of Joliet
o Diocese of Springfield
o Catholic Charities of Springfield
12. E.D.Mo. (St. Louis Div.)
o Archdiocese of St. Louis
o Catholic Charities of St. Louis
Well he damn well should unless he is a complete idiot or just in from a prolonged vacation on Mars.
Most Catholics won’t but ‘Good’ Catholics like John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi will still vote for Obummer. /s
Maybe there is still hope for Notre Dame. Wow!
Are you sure about that? In 08 they had all the info needed to make an informed vote yet 54 percent of Catholics supported Obama and 44 percent voted for McCain.
This is very good news. I hope they can be successful getting the word out to Catholics. They’ve also got to get the many Catholics in unions to understand who really deserves their loyalty.
I imagine this was coordinated, probably through the USCCB. But where are the other dioceses??? Incidentally, where's Georgetown?
Maybe they're planning a second (and third, and fourth) wave? I hope so!
I wonder how many millions in donations previous stupidity by "Father" Jenkins cost them. I think he is trying to make amends to a large group of alums who are thoroughly ticked at him.
Glad you found that list. I looked for it, but must have overlooked it.
This is just a drop in the bucket in my judgment.
Every Catholic Bishop and every University, Catholic Hospital, Catholic Charity, etc. need to be a part of this.
It it’s not 100%, then loopholes will exist and Obortion Obama and his minions will not take this seriously.
11 of 43. Wimps, why not 43 of 43?
It is about time. 43 organizations. Now take his Doctorate away from him they gave him at Notre Dame.
I can handle the devil coming after my money but when he goes after my religion he has a problem.
I don’t see Catholic Charities of NY Archdiosese?
Undoubtedly Jenkins at Notre Dame joined the lawsuits so he could traitorously feed legal strategy to Obama and the abortionists.
If the Catholic Church is smart they'll absolutely isolate Jenkins so he can't harm them.
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