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By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I have never had much tolerance for big bullies. Especially big bullies like a Federal Administration which has exceeded its constitutional authority and decided to take on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Little Sisters correctly insist that sterilizations, abortifacient chemical birth control and artificial contraception are all immoral. They are not only against the teaching of the scripture and Christian tradition but, as Catholics, the Sisters also maintain that they violate the Natural Moral Law.The Obama administration has asked the Court to compel these Little Sisters of the Poor to do indirectly what they refuse to do directly. They asked the Court to force Catholic nuns to sin, to act against conscience, to pursue an immoral course of action.  The nuns are placed in a situation reminiscent of other times in the history of the Church when unjust rulers sought to compel the Church to bend the knee to Caesar.

The Little Sisters of the Poor

The Little Sisters of the Poor

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/12/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: HHS Mandate, Obamacare, Little Sisters of the Poor, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, Pro-Life, contraceptive mandate, Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor, Becket Fund, religious liberty, St. Jospeh home, Richmond, Virginia, bullies, Keith Fournier, Deacon Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - I love the Little Sisters of the Poor. Anyone with a heart who has ever had any contact with them feels the same way. The epitomize everything beautiful about the Gospel, the Catholic Church, Christian faith, and humanity itself.

These women put legs on love. Their smile dispels the darkness of the hour. They offer their hands to the Jesus who still loves the poor so much that he comes to serve them. He reveals the depth of His love in a most beautiful way through these Little Sisters of the Poor. They care for Jesus himself, in the face of the sick and the dying. (See, Matthew 25) 

My last personal contact with them was during the years I served St Benedict Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia  while I was engaged in doctoral studies in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America.

Visiting St Joseph Home in Henrico, Virginia  always moved me deeply inside. It drew me to my knees after I left. It showed me what I was studying, Moral Theology, in a way that all the books, lectures and research could never fully communicate. Those Little Sisters of the Poor reveal the Gospel without a need for words.

St Joseph Home is only one of many outreaches of this Catholic religious community. These faithful, humble, beautiful women of God provide Love to thousands around the world. They are beloved wherever they are.

My friend, the pastor of St. Benedict Catholic Church, Fr James Kauffmann, provided some pastoral care to them. His mother, of blessed memory, spent the last season of her beautiful life with the Little Sisters. They not only helped to care for her, but became a profound influence in her already saintly life.

On January 1, 2014, the Little sisters celebrated 175 years of caring for the elderly poor. The Lord, who loves them with such a special love, gave them a great gift to affirm them in their work of charity. They expressed their gratitude in a simple, non-confrontational Press release:

Supreme Court issues favorable decision on HHS Mandate: January 1, 2014, Baltimore: 2014 marks 175 years that the Little Sisters of the Poor have been caring for the elderly poor. We are grateful for the decision of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granting us a temporary injunction protecting us from the HHS contraceptive mandate. We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated.

These women are peacemakers, healers and missionaries of love. They are genuinely humble. They are also now the focal point in a major constitutional case before the US Supreme Court. Justice Sonia Sotomayor handles what are called emergency applications from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Little Sisters in Denver, Colorado filed a motion for an emergency stay.

They asked the Highest Court in the United States of America to prevent the Obama Administration from compelling them - under threat of fines which would literally shut some facilities down and force them to violate their faith (which they will never do) - to pay for condoms, sterilizations, and chemical abortions under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

The Justice granted the stay in an order which can be read here. She  gave the Obama Administration until Friday, January 10, 2014, to file a responsive brief. The Obama Administration filed the brief. In effect, they argued that since the nuns can - as they wrote in their argument "with the stroke of a pen" - sign a form which allows them to shift the distribution to a third party, their case should be dismissed. 

These simple, faithful, humble Catholic nuns who spend every waking hour caring for the poor, will not do indirectly what they cannot do directly. They are faithful Catholic Christians, with the courage borne of living faith. In other words, the Obama Administration is telling these nuns do what we say or you will be subjected to punitive fines which will threaten your work with the poor.

The Little Sisters correctly insist that sterilizations, abortifacient chemical birth control and artificial contraception are all immoral. They are not only against the teaching of the scripture and Christian tradition but, as Catholics, the Sisters also maintain that they violate the Natural Moral Law.  

The Obama administration has asked the Court to compel these Little Sisters of the Poor to do indirectly what they refuse to do directly. They asked the Court to force Catholic nuns to sin, to act against conscience, to pursue an immoral course of action. 

The nuns are placed in a situation reminiscent of other times in the history of the Church when unjust rulers sought to compel the Church to bend the knee to Caesar. This administration, led by a man who claims to admire Catholic Social Teaching and understand the concept of giving a love of preference to the poor, is seeking to compel the Little Sisters of the Poor to bend the knee.

In effect, the Little Sisters of the Poor are being bullied by the Obama Administration. There, I said it. They are being bullied and they need our support, in prayer, public outcry and support.

I know these self effacing, humble nuns women will not say it. They are being bullied by a regime which is violating the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. A regime which gives lip service to caring for the poor while now seeking to compel nuns who serve the poor to violate their deeply held religious beliefs and violate the Natural Moral Law.

Fortunately these Little Sisters of the poor have a legal champion in their corner. They are being represented in this David v Goliath lawsuit by some of the best constitutional lawyers in the Nation, the lawyers at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Fund is working in tandem with Locke Lord, a national law firm and Kevin Walsh, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

The Little Sisters are  joined in the lawsuit by religious health benefit providers, Christian Brothers Services, Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust. 

For the most accurate explanation of the issues, as well as the most accurate news coverage on this historic case, go right to the source, the Becket Fund.  Remember, much of what is often called the main stream media has become a propaganda arm for the current Federal administration and does not report the news.

I know that my blunt assertions in this article will be met with some negative reaction. First from those who seek to use sophistry to argue that it is somehow OK for this Administration to compel faithful Catholic nuns to do indirectly what they cannot do directly. I contend with these folks regularly.

However, I will also be met with negative responses from some who, thinking that we now need a kinder, gentler tone, will object to the manner in which I state my position.

Frankly, I do not care. I write as a Constitutional lawyer, a Catholic Deacon and someone who has experienced the beauty of the acts of love in which the Little Sisters of the Poor are engaged. What is being done to them is not only unconstitutional, it is immoral and wrong.

I have never had much tolerance for big bullies. Especially big bullies like a Federal Administration which has exceeded its constitutional authority and decided to take on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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