Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/23/2012 (2 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 (2 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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... continue reading


What will Boston Marathon bomber face in Supermax prison, described as 'worse than death?' Watch

Image of Inmates have little to no contact outside of guards and prison staff. All prisoners must wear leg irons, handcuffs and stomach chains when taken outside their cells.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ADX, the nation's most secure "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado may be getting another inmate shortly: 21-year-old Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may get life in prison - or if he's given the death penalty, a brief stay in Terre Haute, Indiana ... continue reading


Has OPEC won the oil war? Oil prices rebound after shale market collapse Watch

Image of The first battle between OPEC and the U.S. over the oil market may be over, but don't count the U.S. out just yet.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia's strategy of flooding the global markets with oil in an effort to hamper production by rivals such as Russia, the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries seems to be working. The oil producing giant has produced a little more than 10 million barrels of ... 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, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... 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