Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The current student health insurance plan will expire on August 15, 2012

The Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover "women's health services" including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications. Franciscan University has excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Franciscan University, Catholic, Fr Michael Scanlan, Fr Terence Henry, Pro-Life, HHS Mandate, Kathleen Sebelius, Steubenville, Obama, Deacon Keith Fournier


STEUBENVILLE, OH (Catholic Online) - I graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in May of 1977. As a "revert" to the Catholic Church, I came back to the faith after turbulent years searching for truth and meaning. I was a teenage "hippie", caught up in the sixties and early seventies.

During this period I became enamored with the little poor man of Assisi, Francis. In my faith journey I reached out to one of his brothers, a holy Franciscan priest named Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. who was the rector of a seminary in Pennsylvania. He had just agreed to assume the Presidency of a small college in Steubenville, Ohio and was dedicated to returning it to fidelity to the Catholic faith.

I had a year of philosophy while I was discerning a monastic vocation and wanted to continue my studies once I left the monastery. So, with his full support and encouragement, I joined him at that College as one of the "first responders" to his vision. I became a part of the early renewal of that great work of the Holy Spirit now called Franciscan University of Steubenville .

I led one of the first student households and helped in many other ways to form the Catholic culture on the campus, one of the distinctive marks of that now extraordinary Catholic College. I became a worker in the vineyard, a part of that miracle of the Lord. I graduated with honors in philosophy and theology.

After marrying my wife on the campus we began to have children. I went on to law school in nearby Pittsburgh.  Upon graduation I stayed to serve the work of Steubenville in any way that I could, standing with Fr. Michael Scanlan. I learned so much from that wonderful priest and champion of the Church.  

In the early 1980's, I started my first law firm while still helping Fr Mike in his work. I soon left the practice to go in house as a Dean. I served as the Dean of Students and the Dean of Evangelization. That chapter of my life helped to inform the chapters of my life which have followed. I am deeply indebted to Franciscan University for my foundations in the faith, my worldview and my heart for the mission of the Church.

I love Franciscan University of Steubenville. It is one of the seeds of the spiritual renewal which has broken forth in Catholic higher education around the world. I was privileged to stand at the side of a man who understood the mission of a Catholic College and had the courage and the heroic faith to fight to both establish it and protect it against all odds. 

On Wednesday, the Franciscan University, under the inspiring leadership of Fr Michael's Successor, Fr Terence Henry, TOR, once again made U.S. history. It became the first Catholic College to be forced by the Federal Government to stop offering health insurance to its students.  It had no choice. It cannot and will not violate its deeply held religious convictions. President Obama has forced a Franciscan College to choose between the poor. Let me explain.

In the words of Mother Teresa, children in the womb are the "poorest of the poor". This University has taken the only stand possible. They will not participate, directly or indirectly in taking their lives through procured abortion. Nor will they participate in other immoral acts - such as funding sterilization or dispensing contraception - in the name of "health care". So, needy students, who are also the poor, will suffer.

All this is occurring because of a United States Administration which is acting unconstitutionally. Here is the University announcement: "The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover "women's health services" including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)."

"Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life."

"Additionally, the PPACA increased the mandated maximum coverage amount for student policies to $100,000 for the 2012-13 school year, which would effectively double your premium cost for the policy in fall 2012, with the expectation of further increases in the future."

"Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance. The current student health insurance plan will 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.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

LET US PRAY! National Day of Prayer calls on Americans to come together in prayer Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On April 17, 1952, President Truman initiated a law calling on the President to set a National Day of Prayer every year; a day where Americans can "turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals." In 1988, Congress specified the ... continue reading


President Obama's Declaration of a National Day of Prayer (FULL TEXT) Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

"Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom," wrote President Barack Obama. "On National Day of Prayer, we rededicate ourselves to extending this freedom to all people." READ OBAMA'S FULL STATEMENTS BELOW: In times of steady calm and extraordinary ... continue reading


The Feast of the Ascension is the Portal to Eternity Watch

Image of We really can participate in the Divine Nature - beginning now - and continuing for all eternity. We are in communion with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and with one another.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Ascension invites us to reflect on who Jesus is - and who we are empowered to become in Him, beginning now and opening up into the life to come. He is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus helps to ... continue reading


Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May: A Day to Celebrate Heritage and History

Image of On May 5, 1862 the smaller Mexican army, with older, more inferior weapons and equipment, defeated the French at Puebla, southwest of Mexico City.

By Fr Randy Sly

Cinco de Mayo currently has only a regional importance in Mexico. In the United States and other countries, however, the day has come to be known as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest, one doesn't need to be of ... continue reading


Catholic woman heartlessly fired for refusing to support Scientology Watch

Image of Catholic woman denied pay raises and pressured to watch Scientology videos before being fired (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez is a Catholic who was pressured to take part in Scientology at work. When she refused, she was passed up when raises were available and was eventually fired. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Echevarria-Hernandez filed a wrongful ... continue reading


Captain James Cook wreckage discovered! Watch

Image of Legendary British explorer Captain James Cook's vessel is believed to have been discovered (John Webber).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Captain James Cook was a famous British explorer who commanded the HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771. Since it was intentionally sunk, its whereabouts fell into question - until now? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, researchers from  the Rhode ... continue reading


You won't believe why this ICONIC WWII image is being investigated! Watch

Image of Two amateur historians raised questions concerning a service member in the image (Corbis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two amateur historians believe one of the men in the iconic Mount Suribachi image was misidentified, prompting a Marine Corp investigation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The image, taken by the Associated Press' Joe Rosenthal, reveals the struggle six servicemen ... continue reading


Puerto Rico drowns in debt - What is the U.S. going to do about it? Watch

Image of Puerto Rico missed its first nearly $400 million bond payment (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. territory Puerto Rico defaulted its first payment of nearly $400 million - so what is the territory going to do? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Puerto Rico has suffered a recession for the past decade, resulting in the government borrowing money from foreign ... continue reading


ISIS kills U.S. Navy SEAL in violent attack Watch

Image of ISIS breaks Peshmerga lins to kill U.S. Navy SEAL (navysealsmuseum).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in the line of duty when ISIS forces pushed their way through a Kurdish Peshmerga line. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said during an official ... continue reading


'It was an escape:' father of Scientology founder tells all Watch

Image of Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, opens up (20/20)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ron and Becky Miscavige escaped the California Scientology compound known as the "Gold Base" and have stepped forward to share their story. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientology is a quiet religion shrouded in secrets - many of which are believed to be ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Hilary of Arles: Saint of the Day for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 HD Video
  • Cinco de Mayo - What is the day really about?
  • LET US PRAY! National Day of Prayer calls on Americans to come ...
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Monday, May 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • Fr. Tom still missing - Bishop holds tight to faith

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 1:1-11
1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:46-53
46 and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer ... Read More

Reading 2, Ephesians 1:17-23
17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 5th, 2016 Image

St. Hilary of Arles
May 5: Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative ... Read More