Obama Forces Franciscan University to Drop Health Insurance Coverage
expire on August 15, 2012."
"We encourage you to decide how you are going to provide for accidents or illnesses requiring visits to physicians, health clinics, or the hospital emergency room while you are a student here. As always, our Health Center on campus will be staffed by a certified nurse practitioner Monday - Friday during normal business hours. No insurance is necessary to receive basic health-related services at the Health Center, and the visits cost only $5 at the time of service. However, if you are referred off campus for further lab testing, physician specialists, X-rays, etc., you will be responsible to pay for those services."
As one of the "living stones" (I Peter 2:5) formed in the early days at Steubenville, I knew that this genuinely Catholic University would not bend the knee to the new Caesar. I want Fr Tery, Fr Michaels worthy successor, to know I am a loyal living stone, placed in the foundation of that great work. I will help him and that wonderful University in any way that I can.
I ask the readers of Catholic Online to pray for Franciscan University of Steubenville. I also ask you to pray for all other genuinely Catholic Colleges and Universities facing the same crossroads. The promise of Jesus still stands. The Catholic College is a part of the Church which Jesus founded upon Peter the Rock and stands under the protection of heaven. The gates of hell will not prevail. (Matt. 16:17,18)
The unconstitutional Edict issued by On January 20, 2012 by Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services requires all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception if they offer health care plans.
The alleged exemption provided for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other vital expressions of Catholic faith and mission. The purported accommodation which followed was a fraud, a shell game, which accomplished nothing. When the Mandate was recorded in the Federal Register, nothing had changed.
Catholics, like many other Christians and people of faith, 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.
The HHS Edict is a violation of the Free Exercise of Religion which is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF!
That Right to the Free Exercise of religion has been called the "FIRST FREEDOM" in the American tradition for good reason. It is a foundation for all of our freedoms. Religious Freedom is a fundamental human right. The Birth Certificate of our Nation, the Declaration of Independence, affirmed the existence of inalienable rights and self evident truths. Those Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness are endowed by our Creator and not conferred by a Government.
They cannot - they must not- be taken away by Government. Religious Liberty is at the heart of the very understanding of Right to Liberty in the Western tradition. The Obama Administration is violating human rights. If this Mandate will require all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans or face the boot of fines and penalties.
These fines and penalties would have the practical result of closing many of the Church's outreaches, ministries and institutions of care and compassion. This HHS Mandate not only injures the Church and religious institutions it injures American society. It harms the common good.
It is an unjust law. The Federal Government of the United States is trying to force us to act against deeply held religious convictions and to violate conscience. The claim that such an edict is an unjust law is rooted in the western understanding of the nature of law itself.
It is the firm foundation upon which the American founders grounded their insistence that there are inalienable rights, endowed upon us all by a Creator, which cannot be taken away by any civil government. Positive law must reflect the Natural Law.
Saint Augustine said of an unjust law, "For it seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all." Saint Thomas Aquinas explained, "Human law is law only in virtue of its accordance with right reason: and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence." In doing so, they echoed Cicero, Aristotle and Plato and the entire Natural Law Tradition.
Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, gave this explanation of how one determines whether a law is unjust, "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."
This Edict came one day after Pope Benedict XVI addressed a group of US Bishops during their visit. He warned them of the growth of radical secularism in the United States and the accompanying threats to the fundamental Right to Religious Freedom so integral to the American experiment.
The action of Franciscan University is only the beginning of a coming avalanche. An Administration which claims to care about the poor fails to hear the cry of the poorest of the poor, our first neighbors in the womb, and routinely violates their Right to Life. They also fail to respect the Free Exercise of Religion, violating another human right.
Now, they have forced a Catholic University to stop providing health care coverage to poor and needy students. They are compelling a University named in honor of the little poor man of Assisi to choose between the poor whom they can service. This is a terrible miscarriage of justice. Franciscan University is showing the kind of courage which should be seen as an example for many.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Franciscan University, Catholic, Fr Michael Scanlan, Fr Terence Henry, Pro-Life, HHS Mandate, Kathleen Sebelius, Steubenville, Obama, Deacon Keith Fournier
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