Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In addition to the Right to Religious Freedom, what is also at risk is access to Catholic Health Care in the United States for those who need it the most

In the history of the United States of America, from the beginning, Catholic Hospitals existed to care for the sick. The Catholic Church is currently one of the very largest health care providers in the United States of America. If this Administration persists in its iron handed effort to compel the Church to bend the knee to a new Caesar, that service to the Nation is placed in jeopardy. It appears that the administration wants to remove the vital role of mediating institutions such as the Church in serving the Common Good of society through providing health care. One must now ask - Why?

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/5/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: HHS Mandate, Obama Mandate, Kathleen Sebelius, Blunt Amendment, Free Exercise of Religion, Religious Freedom, Cardinal Dolan, Catholic Health Care, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Since January 20, 2012 when the unjust Edict issued by Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, was issued, Catholics have heard strongly worded and courageous letters read at Mass, written by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Every single US Bishop has stood up to this injustice. We have been asked to rise up in prayer, fasting and concerted Catholic Action.We have only just begun our fight.  

The mandate requires all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to provide sterilization, abortion inducing drugs and contraception in their health care plans, making them available for free. The alleged "exemption" for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other expressions of our Catholic faith and mission. The alleged compromise later offered was simply sophistry. It accomplished nothing, except perhaps pouring salt into the wound.

Catholics believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands a response which goes beyond the walls of our Church buildings. We are our brother and sister's keeper. We do not reach out to people in need because they are Catholic. We reach out to people in need because we are Catholic.We will not retreat from the world because we are called into it by the God who still loves the world so much that he sends his Son.We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, continuing every aspect of His redemtive mission until he returns.   

The HHS Edict is a violation of the Free Exercise of Religion. That protection, enshrined in the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, is based upon the Fundamental Human right to Religious Freedom secured by the Natural Law. The HHS Edict is an unjust law which must be opposed. The Federal Government of the United States is trying to force the Catholic Church to act against its deeply held religious convictions and to violate conscience.

Failure to comply with the HHS Edict will bring punitive measures upon the Church and her institutions in the form of onerous fines. They would have the practical result of closing many of the Church's outreaches, ministries and institutions of care and compassion.  Certainly this not only injures the Church, it injures American society. What is at stake is the continued existence of many of the Catholic outreaches in the United States.

In his recent letter to the US Bishops, Cardinal Dolan wrote, "The regulations struck at the heart of our fundamental right to religious liberty, which affects our ability to serve those outside our faith community." He is absolutely correct.

Concerning the purported "accommodation" he wrote "On Friday, February 10, the Administration issued the final rules. By their very terms, the rules were reaffirmed "without change." The mandate to provide the illicit services remains. The exceedingly narrow exemption for churches remains. Despite the outcry, all the threats to religious liberty posed by the initial rules remain."

His summary of the threat to Religious Freedom reminded us, "Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government's decision to grant it: it is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions, and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations."

"Recent actions by the Administration have attempted to reduce this free exercise to a "privilege" arbitrarily granted by the government as a mere exemption from an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism. The exemption is too narrowly defined, because it does not exempt most non-profit religious employers, the religiously affiliated insurer, the self-insured employer, the for-profit religious employer, or other private businesses owned and operated by people who rightly object to paying for abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. And because it is instituted only by executive whim, even this unduly narrow exemption can be taken away easily."

"In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our "first freedom" and respect for it must be broad and inclusive-not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is "religious enough" to warrant religious freedom protection."

The Cardinal puts the real issue forward, "This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization - although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all."

"If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded."

It is apparent that President Obama and his administration do not respect fundamental human rights including the Right to life and the Right to Religious Freedom. The Nation we love is slowly devolving into a secularist State.

A legislative response, The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, was introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) to ensure that all who participate in the health care system "retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions."

Language from this legislation became the "Blunt Amendment" voted on in the Senate on Thursday, March 1, 2011. Unfortunately, the opponents of the Free Exercise of Religion managed to table it by a 51 to 48 vote. Though the vote followed mostly Party line, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, all Democrats, voted with Republicans to defend the Free Exercise of Religion.

Several Federal court challenges have been filed against the unconstitutional mandate, including a recent one filed by the Attorneys General of seven States. I am sure this is only the beginning of similar lawsuits. The strategy behind the lawsuits is intended to ensure a fast track to the United States Supreme Court.

Rallies are already scheduled - with many more to follow. There is talk of a massive March on Washington. This unjust edict - and its defense by the shrill opponents of religious freedom - have unleashed a massive civil resistance movement only in its infancy.What is now eminently clear is that Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will who recognize the real threat to religious freedom, will not back down.  

In addition to the Right to Religious Freedom, what is also at risk is access to Catholic Health Care in the United States for those who need it the most. Make no mistake; the Church will continue to minister healing to the sick because she must. It is at the heart of her mission.However, the current Administration seems "hell bent" on squeezing the Church out of providing health care to millions of Americans who currently receive it at Catholic Institutions.  

In a section entitled "Christ the physician", the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds the faithful that "Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that "God has visited his people" and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. (Mk. 2:17)

"His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me." (Mt. 25:36) His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1503)

The Gospel imperative catholics follow is found in these words of Jesus "Heal the Sick". (Matthew 10:8)  The early Christians understood that this call to heal involved the ministry of the Sacraments as well as ministry to the physical needs of those who were ill. That is because the Church proclaims the unity of the human person, body, soul and spirit.

The Catholic Church proclaims the dignity of every human person from conception, through every age and stage up to and including natural death. In those who are sick, Catholics see the very face of Christ. The Church views those who are sick as "the poor" and in caring for them one cares for the Lord Himself who identifies with the poor.

This is the heart of the Catholic understanding of the call to give a love of preference to the poor. Caring for the sick is a part of Church teaching on our obligation in solidarity to one another.  In the middle Ages in Europe, religious communities of both men and women were formed with the mission of carrying on Christ's mandate to "Heal the Sick!"

In the history of the United States of America, from the beginning, Catholic Hospitals existed to care for the sick. The Catholic Church is currently one of the very largest health care providers in the United States of America. If this Administration persists in its iron handed effort to compel the Church to bend the knee to a new Caesar, that service to the Nation is placed in jeopardy.

The excellence of the care provided by Catholic Medical Professionals and health care institutions flows not only from their excellence in training and preparation but from the very reason why the Catholic Church is involved in health care to begin with, fidelity to the Gospel.  Catholic Health care is not simply about business, it is about ministry. It is about love.  Now, because of an unjust edict by a new Caesar, those who need this care the most may not be able to receive it, because of the Obama Administration.

Make no mistake; the Catholic Church will not back down on this. It appears that the Obama Administration wants to remove the vital role of mediating institutions such as the Church in serving the Common Good of society. One must now ask, Why?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

REVENGE KILLING: Two New York City policemen gunned down in cold blood - revenge believed to be motive Watch

Image of Officers Liu and Ramos were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill in Bedford-Stuyvesant before 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon when they were shot point-blank in the head by lone gunman 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later shot and killed himself.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Without apparent rhyme or reason - NYPD Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. "No warning, no provocation - they were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their ... continue reading


Defending cop killers? Why is New York's mayor infuriating America Watch

Image of New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio has stirred up a national and major controversy for his criticisms of the NYPD.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The long-standing tensions between the mayor of New York City and the NYPD seems about to come to a head, following a Sunday appearance by Mayor Bill de Blaisio at St. Patrick's Cathedral where a mourning service was held for two officers who were killed in ... continue reading


The Assassination of Two Police Officers in New York Reveals a City at a Crossroads Watch

Image of One of the officers, Rafael Ramos, was 40 years old, happily married and leaves behind his wife and two sons. The other officer, Wenjin Liu, was 32 years old and married only two months.

By Keith A. Fournier

The flames that fueled this lunacy were fanned by a Mayor who repeatedly and irresponsibly touted a racial narrative which attributed racial bias to the Police as he led this City through recent altercations between some police officers and some citizens. It was ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter