Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

6/20/2014 (2 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I commend the heroic action of EWTN. We should all commit ourselves to prayer and solidarity with them.

We are extremely disappointed with the decision reached by the court in this case. The opinion issued is clearly inconsistent with the decisions reached in nearly all of the cases decided to date. The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling. As an organization that was founded by Mother Angelica to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization should be defined as health care. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices. We have no other option but to continue our legal challenge of the mandate. We are making an immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta - EWTN

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/20/2014 (2 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: EWTN, Obamacare, Unjust mandate, HHS Mandate, Michael P. Warsaw, Judge Callie V.S. Granade, Free exercise of religion, Deacon Keith Fournier


IRONDALE, AL (Catholic Online) - On February 1, 2013, the Obama Administration announced an allegedly new modification to its purported "exemption" for religious institutions which had objected to being compelled to offer contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs  to their employees by the Administration - or face the punitive boot of the State.

The original HHS mandate, through which Obamacare will be enforced, required all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans. 

The initial exemption provided for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other vital expressions of our Catholic faith and mission. In effect, it limited the exemption to activities which took place behind the four walls of the Church or were directly operated by the Church.

The purported accommodation which followed amounted to a shell game, which accomplished nothing. When the Mandate was recorded in the Federal Register, nothing had changed.In other words, the Obama Administration is still attempting to force Catholics, other Christians, other People of Faith and good will, to violate their deeply held religious beliefs and conscience convictions.

This unjust action is in direct contravention of the fundamental human right to religious freedom and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

Anyone who is genuinely concerned over this violation of the First Amendment guarantee of the fundamental right to religious freedom which this matter involves must act. That action must proceed from prayer and be directed toward the defense of religious freedom. No-one should sit idly by as this threat to liberty looms.

We are living in an historic moment in the United States. A serious threat to the very foundations of freedom upon which the American experiment stands is well underway. The vital role of the Church and her influence as a leavening agent and a servant in American culture is seriously threatened.

There is no question that the vital constitutional issues presented by the HHS mandate, the conflicting opinions of both the multiple lower Federal Courts and Appellate Courts, and the importance of this matter, have positioned this issue for a resolution by the United States Supreme Court.

In the myriad of Court cases, arising out of the HHS Mandate there have been many promising signs that those who defend the Free exercise of religion will prevail. However, while the process unfolds, there  was some disappointing news on June 17, 2014.

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) received notice that United States District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued a ruling which, in effect, unless overturned on Appeal, would attempt to compel this wonderful network to offer sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plan or face punitive penalties.

Fortunately, the EWTN Global Catholic Network, true to its mission, immediately announced it will Appeal the wrongly decided opinion and offered heroic witness to the kind of courage that this situation calls forth from all of us.

Below is the full statement offered to the Press by the network:

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network, in response to today's decision by Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Mobile, Ala. denying EWTN protection from the government mandate that it must provide coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization as part of its employee health care coverage: 

Irondale, AL (EWTN) - "We are extremely disappointed with the decision reached by the court in this case. The opinion issued is clearly inconsistent with the decisions reached in nearly all of the cases decided to date. The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling.

As an organization that was founded by Mother Angelica to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization should be defined as health care. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices. We have no other option but to continue our legal challenge of the mandate. We are making an immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta."


This HHS Mandate 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 other freedoms. Religious Freedom is also a fundamental human right.

The Birth Certificate of the United States of America,  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 this Right to Liberty in the Western tradition.

The fines and penalties which non-compliance with the HHS mandate brings would have the practical result of closing many of the Church's outreaches, ministries and institutions of care and compassion.  It is repugnant.

This HHS Mandate not only injures the Church and religious institutions it injures American society. It harms the common good.

It is also 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 moral conscience. The claim that this HHS Mandate 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."

Catholics, like 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.   

I commend the heroic action of EWTN. We should all commit ourselves to prayer and solidarity with them, and with all who are standing up to an unjust mandate. 

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... continue reading


Should Americans have job preference over unskilled-illegal immigrants? President Obama doesn't think so Watch

Image of New polls are showing that Americans are tired of illegal immigrants getting benefits at the expense of citizens and legal immigrants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to the Associated Press: "one of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted," which would "essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... 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, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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