Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/23/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Hinge of the Door of our future can swing either to totalitarianism or freedom.

'The Government seeks to require Plaintiffs - all Catholic entities - to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by providing, paying for, and/or facilitating access to those products and services. American history and tradition, embodied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), safeguard religious entities from such overbearing and oppressive governmental action. Plaintiffs therefore seek relief in this Court to protect this most fundamental of American rights'.

Pray for Religious Freedom

Pray for Religious Freedom

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/23/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Health and Human Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Jones Day, religious freedom. First Amendment, religious liberty, HHS, Franciscan University, Deacon Keith Fournier


NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - In an action which will make US Church history and shape  Church State/ Constitutional Law for years to come, a 62 page Federal Court Complaint was filed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and other Catholic institutions, Dioceses and organizations on Monday, May 21, 2012.

It was one of twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Government of the United States. The Twelve Lawsuits were coordinated by the prestigious power house law firm of Jones Day and strategically filed throughout the United States. The complaints represent 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief. They also demand a jury trial.

The introductory paragraph of the complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, summarizes the fundamental legal issue, "This lawsuit is about one of America's most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one's religion without government interference. It is not about whether people have a right to abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. Those services are freely available in the United States, and nothing prevents the Government itself from making them more widely available."

"Here, however, the Government seeks to require Plaintiffs-all Catholic entities-to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by providing, paying for, and/or facilitating access to those products and services. American history and tradition, embodied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), safeguard religious entities from such overbearing and oppressive governmental action. Plaintiffs therefore seek relief in this Court to protect this most fundamental of American rights."

As a constitutional lawyer, I can affirm that these are extraordinarily well drafted Federal Lawsuits. The New York Complaint can be read in its entirety here. I am further convinced that these lawsuits will be successful. The actions of this Administration are unconstitutional.

The complaints allege violations of the First Amendments' Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses as well as violations of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and the Administrative procedures Act. They ask the Courts for what is called a Declaratory Judgment.

In effect, the Plaintiffs ask the Federal Courts to declare that the questionable provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the HHS Mandate are unconstitutional and then to enjoin or prohibit the Government from enforcing those provisions of the Law and the regulations. They further ask for Attorneys fees and costs.

The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said of the lawsuits, "We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress - and we'll keep at it - but there's still no fix. 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."

As an alumni of Franciscan University of Steubenville, (1977) I was thrilled to see that wonderful College participating in these historic legal proceedings. I spoke to the President of Franciscan University, Fr Terrence Henry, TOR about the lawsuits. He  asked me, "Deacon Keith, who would have thought that we would be in a position to have to file a federal court lawsuit against our own government?"

Fr Terence continued, "We must end this unconstitutional coercion by Government officials. If we concede to this we will be in the situation of the Church in China which has to clear everything with the Government! We cannot and we will not back down. This fight is for future generations. We need a climate of freedom for the Church in this country."

I agreed wholeheartedly! I also encouraged this wonderful priest and College president in his heroic effort. He reminded me, "Deacon, I was history teacher. I am reminded today of the five volume set on World War II. One of the books was called "The Hinge of Fate". We are at a similar time in our own Nation. There is a hinge of history involved here. The Hinge of the Door of our future can swing either to totalitarianism or freedom. We must make sure - for future generations - that it swings to Freedom."

I told Father Terence - and I remind our readers - there is a silver lining in this cloud. This egregious HHS Mandate 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 HHS action has prompted a tide of resistance and a movement of solidarity which is strengthening the Catholic Church in America. She is rising up like a sleeping giant and being strengthened in adversity. Her response is also inspiring other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will to defend America's First Freedom, religious freedom. This is one more example of how God, in His infinite mercy and love, can pull good even out of what it was intended for evil.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Threatening note promising revenge attacks found on U.S. military serviceman's car Watch

Image of The anonymous note comes just a week after the tragic shooting at military locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under the windshield wiper of a car, owned by an unidentified serviceman, was a note warning the military of a revenge under investigation. Authorities believe the car was targeted because of the license plate identified the owner is a part of the military service. ... continue reading


Missouri Sheriff's 'inspiring' phrase on police patrol cars enrages atheists Watch

Image of Stone County police cars now have

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Missouri sheriff made the decision to adorn all of his station's police patrol cars with the words, "In God We Trust." It has quickly sparked up a major debate and inevitably, atheist activists are quite frustrated about it. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES -The Missouri ... continue reading


Humility not Haughtiness: Dana Milbank is Absolutely Wrong about Rick Santorum Watch

Image of Pictured: Rick and Karen Santorum at campaign launch

By Keith A Fournier

Dana Milbank was wrong in insinuating that Rick Santorum's use of the third person in referring to his campaign was akin to a - royal we. To the contrary, it reveals the heart of a humble man who deeply cares about others. Humility is such a rare quality these days ... continue reading


Does Planned Parenthood Contribute Anything of Value to Society?

Image of Margaret Sanger

By Matt C. Abbott

Granted, the Church's infallible teaching on the intrinsic immorality of contraception is derided by the libertine left, and too few Catholics assent to it. (At least some of the blame for this sad reality falls on weak and dissident clergy, but that's a subject ... continue reading


Obama to Abortionists: Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. Watch

Image of President Obama at Planned Parenthood conference

By Ken Blackwell

In two startling videos, we have seen Planned Parenthood leaders engaged in a ghoulish traffic in the organs of unborn children whom they have killed. My colleague at Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, discussed this horror on his recent radio show in an ... continue reading


Mystery man found decomposing inside his car identified by fiancee as an undercover agent

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A man was found dead and decomposing inside his car, parked in a neighborhood in Southern California last Friday. Apparently, he had already been dead for two weeks when he was discovered. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - CBS Sacramento Local reported that ... continue reading


Disgusting, horrific stories of abuse: 68-year-old man drugged, sexually abused and performed surgical procedures on a young girl for six years Watch

Image of Girl [not pictured] experiences traumatizing abuse for six years. [Photo by: Alamy]

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 68-year-old man has drugged a young girl, sexually assaulted her with sharp objects and sucked fat from her stomach to inject into her breasts over a devastating span of six years. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the police, Louis Romano ... continue reading


Lone gunman kills two before turning gun on himself in Lafayette movie theater shooting Watch

Image of Fifty-nine-year-old John Russel Houser opened fire at the Grande Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana as they watched the romantic comedy

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an all-too-common occurrence in American society as of late, a lone gunman opened fire on a crowd of innocent civilians, leaving death and injury in his wake. Fifty-nine-year-old John Russel Houser opened fire at the Grande Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana as they ... continue reading


FBI reveals ISIS poses bigger threat than '9/11's' al-Qaeda attack Watch

Image of ISIS continues to reach out to possible recruits through social media.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirms the growing threat from ISIS surpasses, in comparison, its terrorist rival, al-Qaeda when it comes to violence and being tech-savvy on social media. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - FBI director James Comey ... continue reading


Possible footage of dissection of aborted baby: What will Planned Parenthood be exposed of next? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Statements from Planned Parenthood's legal counsel hint the next revealing undercover footage may show the actual dissection and harvesting of an aborted baby. Los Angeles, CA (Catholic Online) - Following a 30-month-long investigation, the Center for Medical Progress ... 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, Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
15 Moses turned and came down the mountain with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
19 At Horeb they made a calf, bowed low before cast ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2015 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... 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