Cardinals Dolan, Wuerl and 40 Catholic dioceses and organizations sue Obama administration
Organizations say White House is infringing on religious freedom
The archdiocese of New York, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the University of Notre Dame along with 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations nationwide announced on Monday that they are suing the Obama administration for violating their freedom of religion, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
"Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now," Cardinal Dolan said.
"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," the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. explains on its Web site, preservereligiousfreedom.org.
"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 Web site explains.
The suits filed by the Catholic organizations are chiefly in reaction to the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January. The mandate requires that all health-care plans in the United States cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.
The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong. The regulation requires that faithful Catholics and Catholic organizations act against their consciences and violate the teachings of their faith.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had called the regulation an "unprecedented attack on religious liberty" and asked 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, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.
"Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now," the cardinal said.
"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."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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