Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York City, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., along with Notre Dame University and nearly 40 other diocese and organizations across the country announced on Monday that they have filed a law suit against the Obama Administration for violating their freedom of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution.
The diocese and organizations, in their different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts all around the country.
Cardinal Wuerl and the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. have set up a website just for the cause – PreserveReligiousFreedom.org. This website has been set up to explain the lawsuit and also to give present news on it and developments in the case.
The archdiocese website says this about it on their website:
“This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference. It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs.”
The suit that the many diocese and organizations have filed is focused on the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in August of last year and then finalized this year. The mandate requires that all health care plans in the United States pay for sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptives, including those that would cause abortions.
In the Catholic churches teachings, sterilization, artificial contraceptives and abortions are morally wrong and Catholics should not be involved in them. Therefore, the regulation would require good and faithful Catholic and Catholic organizations to act against their consciences and violate the teachings of their faith.
Back around February when Cardinal Dolan and many others where coming out against the regulation. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that regulation was an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty” and they continued to ask the Obama administration to rescind it.
“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress–and we’ll keep at it–but there’s still no fix,” Cardinal Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement this morning released by the conference. He went to say - “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.”
The Archdiocese of New York filed suit today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. Joining them as plaintiffs in the suit are the Catholic Health Care System, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, and Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
The archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is being joined in its lawsuit by Catholic Charities of the Washington Archdiocese, the Consortium of Catholic Academies of the Archdiocese of Washington (which includes four parochial schools), Archbishop Carroll High School, and the Catholic University of America.
If you want to see the entire list, follow this link - List of Catholic entities which filed against the Obama Administration.
This following video is from Cardinal Wuerl explaining the lawsuit and why it is necessary-
One name on the list that may jump out to people, and has been in the national news recently. Is Franciscan University of Steubenville Ohio. They were recently talked about because they decided to drop their students insurance because of the same regulation.
I am glad and not to surprised that this has happened. I support all who have filed in this suit, including my diocese (Diocese of Pittsburgh). I’ll continue to keep an eye on the developments and report on them as necessary.
CNS News contributed to this article.
- Catholic dioceses, colleges sue Obama (wnd.com)
- Archdiocese of New York Files Federal Lawsuit Against Health Care Mandate (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Catholic Diocese of Erie sues federal government over health care requirements (goerie.com)
- In massive coordinated effort, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations hit federal government with 12 lawsuits over HHS mandate (catholicnewsagency.com)
- Boom! Dozens of Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate (nicedeb.wordpress.com)