Skip to main content

Ave Maria University to Fight HHS Mandate

2/7/2012 - 10:16 AM PST

Catholic PRWire

Deacon Forrest Wallace
Ave Maria University

Statement by Jim Towey
President of Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida, and
Former Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2002-2006
Ave Maria University to Fight HHS Mandate
Former White House Faith-Based Director Decries Attack on Religious Liberty

AVE MARIA, FL (February 7, 2012) - The first responsibility of any president of a Catholic college or university is to protect and promote its Catholic identity and mission.

The federal government has no right to mandate that Ave Maria University make available services under our health plan that undermine our identity and threaten our religious liberty. The University subsidizes a very generous health plan that is available to all employees and does not cover contraceptive services, including sterilization, because we follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Our non-Catholic employees and students understand fully that the University must adhere to Catholic teaching and they do not expect us to provide such services.

Unfortunately, a provision in the massive health care reform legislation will now force the University to either violate our core beliefs or discontinue health care coverage for our employees, and in the process, pay a steep fine to the federal government. This is wrong. Ave Maria University rejects this religious intolerance and will not bow down before government regulations that are manifestly unjust.

This effort by the federal government to coerce compliance by Catholic universities like ours is wrong and Ave Maria University will fight it. We will use all lawful means at our disposal to oppose this unjust mandate because our rights of conscience and religious liberty demand such action. The Board of Trustees of the University will be meeting to discuss what legal action, if any, the University should take to protect our religious liberty and Catholic mission.

Finally, as a former director of the Faith-Based Initiative under President Bush and as one who worked with as many Democrats as Republicans in advancing that effort, I am troubled by President Obama's failure to understand the threat that this mandate poses to religious liberty for peoples of all faiths. Why have faith-based offices in HHS and the other federal agencies if they are going to run roughshod over the rights of faith-based colleges and other institutions? The Faith-Based Initiative is descending to the level of farce - a stratagem that has turned incomprehensible, and a romp of mistaken identity that is no laughing matter.


Ave Maria University  FL, 34142 US
Forrest Wallace - Dir. Public Relations,  239.280.1678


Towey, Ave Maria University, Faith-Based Initiative


Catholic Organizations

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 4:1-11
This made Jonah very indignant; he fell into a rage. He prayed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:3-4, 5-6, 9-10
take pity on me, Lord, for to you I cry all the day. Fill your ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:1-4
Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 7 Saint of the Day

St. Artaldus
October 7: Artaldus (also called Arthaud) was born in the castle of ... Read More