Monday, November 30, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

Religious Liberty

Religious Liberty
New HHS ‘Gender Identity’ Rule Could Impact Bathroom Use at Catholic Schools
A proposed federal anti-discrimination rule threatening the religious freedom of health care providers could soon weave its way into Catholic schools and colleges, forcing them to allow students who claim a “gender identity” different than their biological sex to enter restrooms and changing rooms of the opposite sex, and mandating health coverage for abortion and “gender transition” surgeries and therapy, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Jonathan Scruggs told The Cardinal Newman Society.

ADF filed an official comment on Thursday with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding its rule proposed in September that reinterprets and expands a federal ban on sex discrimination in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include a broader ban on “gender identity” discrimination in health programs.

“The bigger concern for schools is that the Department of Education will begin to promulgate its own rules and attempt to rely on the proposed HHS rule as a means to justify the DOE’s misinterpretation of Title IX,” Scruggs told the Newman Society. “And if that happens, then every school would be forced to allow persons who claim one gender identity into the restrooms and changing rooms designated for the opposite sex.”

Catholic Educators, Not Just Little Sisters, Will Have Their Day in Court
While much of the media attention has been focused on the Little Sisters of the Poor following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Friday to hear religious freedom challenges to the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate, a number of Catholic colleges and schools will be represented in the seven cases the Court agreed to rule on during their next session that begins on March 21.

“The question before the Supreme Court concerning the Little Sisters of the Poor and the HHS Mandate has implications far beyond the Little Sisters themselves,” said Bob Laird, vice president for program development and director of higher education programs at The Cardinal Newman Society. “It will affect every non-profit faith-based organization in the U.S. including faithful Catholic colleges and universities — and Catholic elementary and high schools —whose very existence is based upon their freedom to teach, celebrate, and witness to their Catholic faith in the classroom, on the campus, and in the local community.”

CUA President: Pray for Religious Freedom, “Only So Much Lawyers Can Do”
As a potential U.S. Supreme Court decision approaches on the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate impacting the religious freedom of Catholic colleges and The Cardinal Newman Society, the true future of religious freedom in the United States is in the hands of families and educators who take their faith seriously and pray, Catholic University of America President John Garvey told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

“The future of religious liberty is in our own hands, and it’s going to survive or not depending on whether we think religion itself is important,” Garvey said. “There’s only so much that lawyers and academics can do to change the picture about religious freedom that we have in America.”

While lawyers are still important, the key to a successful defense of religious freedom will be found in those families and educators who make their faith important, stand up for their religious beliefs, understand the importance of faithful education and pray, Garvey stated.

Faculty, Students Bolster Pro-Life Efforts at Notre Dame Despite HHS Mandate Policy
With the University’s lawsuit against the contraception mandate of the Obama administration still unsettled, temporarily allowing contraception and abortifacient coverage in campus health plans, students and faculty at University of Notre Dame told The Cardinal Newman Society there was a renewed focus on pro-life efforts on campus, which they agreed are increasingly important for a strong Catholic identity.

“Of course there is disappointment among pro-life faculty at the decision of the Notre Dame administration to include contraception in the University's health insurance coverage. But that does not discourage us in our continuing efforts to build a pro-life culture here at the University,” Father Bill Miscamble, CSC, professor of history and president of the University Faculty for Life chapter at Notre Dame, told The Cardinal Newman Society.

Catholic Education Offers Key Solution to Secularism, Newman Society President Says
Catholic education must be embraced as a key solution to, not just a victim of, threats to religious freedom and an increasingly secular culture, argued The Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in a lecture and panel discussion at Franciscan University of Steubenville last Friday.

“At a time when the New Evangelization is focused on casting its nets wide but shallow, we should also consider the depth of the integral formation that Catholic education provides, ensuring a deep commitment to the Faith and the more complete preparation of our young people for sainthood in a difficult and often hostile culture,” Reilly told an audience of faculty, students and guests at the Steubenville, Ohio, campus.

A panel of Franciscan University leaders responded to Reilly’s address, identifying the many ways that the University embraces its Catholic mission. Educators discussed their commitment to exploring new ways of impacting the culture and ensuring a new generation of Catholic leaders to confront the challenges of secularism. The panel speakers included University President Father Sean Sheridan, TOR; Dr. Daniel Kempton, vice president for academic affairs; and David Schmiesing, vice president of student life.

Pope Francis Visit to Little Sisters ‘Huge Boon’ to Catholic Educators
Pope Francis’ unscheduled visit with the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, D.C., is an enormous benefit to faithful Catholic educators who are struggling for religious freedom and depending on the Little Sisters’ case, says Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

“What a huge boon to Catholic educators who yearn for relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate and protection of their First Amendment rights. This brings attention to the case that represents not only the Little Sisters but so many of us whose rights are denied,” said Reilly.

While the stop was not on the Holy Father’s scheduled itinerary for Wednesday, the Vatican confirmed the significance of the visit and the Holy Father’s continued push for religious freedom.

Facing Supreme Court Decision, Thomas Aquinas College Refuses to Compromise Catholic Beliefs
Last week, Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief from the “HHS Mandate” with The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. But should the Court fail to protect their religious freedom, TAC President Dr. Michael F. McLean told The Cardinal Newman Society that his faithful college is prepared to pay significant fines rather than violate its beliefs.

In an interview with the Newman Society, McLean discussed the pressing need for religious freedom from the sterilization and contraceptive mandate, especially for Catholic colleges that wish to maintain their sincerely held religious beliefs.

On August 25, attorneys for TAC submitted a brief to the Supreme Court, urging the Court to take up the College’s case and refuting the government’s latest arguments against exempting the College from the federal mandate. The College explained why it should be exempted from the HHS mandate and any government requirements that would compel it to go against its Catholic identity and mission by facilitating free contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage for its employees.

Manhattan College Faculty Do Not Preserve Religious Environment, Government Finds
The trickle-down effect of Catholic identity concerns and unconstitutional oversight from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has reared its ugly head at yet another Catholic college, with the latest ruling stating that adjunct faculty at Manhattan College do not perform a specific religious function within the institution.

As has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the regional Board’s recent unconstitutional interference into the affairs of several Catholic colleges has exposed Catholic identity concerns. This week, the NLRB upheld its decision that Manhattan College is not exempt from federal oversight, noting that the hiring and interview practices fall well short in maintaining a Catholic environment.

Catholic Educators Depend on Supreme Court Appeal Challenging HHS Mandate
A last-ditch appeal by the Little Sisters of the Poor to the Supreme Court for relief from the Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate” is also of great importance to many Catholic educators and The Cardinal Newman Society, which like the Sisters are participants in a unique Catholic health care trust that lies at the center of the case.

In addition to the Newman Society, the case involves Catholic schools and colleges including Iona College, Lewis University, Manhattan College and Belmont Abbey College, a faithfully Catholic institution that is recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

Last Friday, the Christian Brothers Health Benefits Trust was granted temporary relief by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to continue providing morally sound health insurance until the Supreme Court rules on the Trust’s lawsuit with the Little Sisters. The Trust and the Sisters had been granted an injunction by the Supreme Court in 2013 pending a new hearing in the Tenth Circuit, but was then denied reliefby the appeals court last month. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Jesuit University’s Faculty Not Held to Religious Standards, Government Finds
The chain of events stemming from the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges has taken a predictable turn, with the latest ruling stating that professors at Seattle University do not perform a religious function within the Jesuit university.

As has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the regional Board’s recent unconstitutional interference into the affairs of Seattle University has exposed Catholic identity concerns. This week, the NLRB upheld its decision that the University is not exempt from federal oversight.

“Traditional assumptions about religious freedom in our country are quickly eroding,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “Strong Catholic identity is now the surest safeguard of this fundamental liberty for Catholic colleges and schools. Those institutions that have sold their religious mission down the river for decades now find themselves in a tight spot, but faithful Catholic colleges and schools have the surest footing to protect their freedom.”

‘Be Clear about What You Believe,’ Legal Experts Tell Catholic Colleges, Schools
The first step to protecting the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges is to clearly define and enforce their mission and purpose, according to experts recently gathered by the Family Research Council (FRC).

Legal and educational experts took part this week in the FRC’s webinar, “The Court and the Classroom: How the Supreme Court's Redefinition of Marriage Affects Religious Schools.” The event was offered in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage, and to equip educators with the practical steps needed to defend their religious missions.

Greg Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), kicked off the event by emphasizing the need for schools to clearly define their missions and their purpose.“ Be consistent and clear about what you believe,” Baylor stated. Many schools might believe that flying under the radar is the way to go in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and ensuing discrimination lawsuits. Catholic schools and colleges should in fact be doing quite the opposite, he said. “Root [your policies] in your theological convictions and then apply them consistently.”

Case Representing Little Sisters, Newman Society Goes Back to Supreme Court
For the second time in two years, attorneys representing a broad class of Catholic institutions, including The Cardinal Newman Society, have turned to the Supreme Court for relief from the morally objectionable HHS Mandate. Earlier this week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the government and refused to grant these religious organizations an exemption.

“The federal government is determined to keep playing theologian and determine for religious institutions what their beliefs really require of them,” said Tom Mead, executive vice president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “The Supreme Court must put a stop to this once and for all.”

The lawsuit, widely known as The Little Sisters of the Poor case, also involves the Christian Brothers Health Benefits Trust, which has refused to comply with the HHS mandate and provides morally appropriate insurance benefits for dozens of Catholic organizations.

Catholic Education ‘Necessary Response’ to Supreme Court Ruling, Newman Society President Tells EWTN
Despite serious challenges facing Catholic education in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly told Jason Calvi of EWTN News Nightly that Catholics must preserve Catholic education.

“The truth is still the truth and we have to keep teaching it,” Reilly stated in the interview that aired Wednesday. “We have to teach a new generation.”

For those disappointed by the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage, the outlook is not entirely bleak, Reilly explained. “I think things are very hopeful in a certain respect,” he said. “Catholic education in many ways is a necessary response to the Supreme Court ruling.”

CUA President Teaches Catholic Responsibility to Protect Religious Freedom
Everyone has a role to play in the continued fight to protect religious freedom, says John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., and author of a new teaching aid for Catholic educators to discuss the crucial issues of our time.

Garvey was invited by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to develop the resource, titled “Religious Liberty and the Practice of Charity,” possibly because he has been so regularly involved in matters of religious freedom during his time at CUA, he said.

The USCCB has promoted the teaching aid in advance of Catechetical Sunday, which will be celebrated on September 20. It is a time when U.S. Catholic churches recognize and commission those in the community who will serve as catechists. According to the USCCB, the day also allows Catholics “to reflect on the role that each person plays, by virtue of Baptism, in handing on the faith and being a witness to the Gospel.”

“Religious freedom is only important in a country where religion is important,” said Garvey, encouraging Catholics not to shy away from defending and witnessing to their faith and morals. All Catholics—especially those involved in education—must find their role in protecting religious freedom if they truly see their faith as important, he said. “The freedom to do that will be important to us because knowing and loving and serving God is important to us, and it is not the business of the government to interfere with our efforts to do that.”

Interview: Sen. Lee Pushes Bill to Protect Marriage Advocates
A new bill that would prohibit the federal government from discriminating against Catholic and other individuals or institutions who believe in marriage between one man and one woman is garnering significant political support, Senator Mike Lee recently told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview.

The First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) was introduced on June 17 by Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Raul Labrador. It prohibits the federal government from punishing marriage supporters with regard to tax exemption for nonprofits, tax deductions for donations, grants, loans, accreditation, employment and other government benefits and programs.

Lee told the Newman Society that although the odds of passage were “difficult to say at this point,” the bill has gathered “a lot of cosponsors,” including the Republican Whip of the Senate.

Catholic Education ‘Going to Win’ HHS Mandate Suits, Predicts Becket Fund Attorney
All the evidence suggests that Catholic schools and colleges are going to win their challenges to the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” attorney Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told The Cardinal Newman Society.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Winning permanent injunctions against enforcement of the HHS mandate is critical to the protection of Catholic schools and colleges and their ability to faithfully live out their Catholic identity and mission, attested Rienzi, who is also an assistant professor at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Under the current form of the HHS mandate, most Catholic institutions would be forced to facilitate employee access to full insurance coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion. If schools and colleges are not granted relief from the HHS mandate, they will be subjected to severe fines for not participating.

Status of Catholic Education Challenges to HHS Mandate
As of July 2015, at least 33 Catholic institutions have filed suits challenging the Obama administration’s “HHS mandate,” requiring employer coverage of sterilization and contraceptives (including some that cause abortion) in employee health plans.

In a summary of lawsuits compiled by the Newman Society with information from the Becket Fund, at least 22 Catholic schools and 11 Catholic colleges have challenged the mandate in federal courts. Two of the schools— Pius X Catholic High School in Lincoln, Neb., and Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla.—are on the Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll of faithful Catholic high schools.

Eight of the colleges are recommended in the Newman Guide, including Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn.; Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Fla.; Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Cal.; University of Dallas, Tex.; and Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo.

Catholic School Teacher Fired for Same-Sex Marriage Files Federal Lawsuit
A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.

The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.

“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

Newman Society Issues Marriage Statement on Steps of U.S. Supreme Court
Vice President Bob Laird today issued a Cardinal Newman Society statement on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to press for religious freedom as well as sustained fidelity in Catholic schools and colleges to the truth about marriage. 

LifeSiteNews organized the press conference in response to the Court’s ruling last week in Obergefell v. Hodges, even as the nation prepares to celebrate American independence and the religious freedom upon which America was founded. Laird, the Newman Society’s vice president for program development, issued the following statement.

House Targets D.C. Funding to Prevent Violation of Religious Freedom
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to block a District of Columbia law which violates religious freedom, an action that is both necessary and commendable, according to Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA), signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on January 23, may force religious schools, colleges and other organizations to employ people who favor abortion and to provide coverage for elective abortions in their employee health plans, regardless of their religious objections. Despite attempts in the House to block RHNDA in April, Senate leaders failed to act and the provision officially became law on May 2.

New attempts are now being made in the House to fight the law in the appropriations process, which would prevent local or federal funds from being used to enforce the law, but would not in fact repeal it. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia said she will oppose the appropriations amendment on the House floor, and it must get Senate approval.

“I applaud those who have stood tall to try and block RHNDA, which violates our constitutional right to religious freedom, not just for those in Catholic education but for all who have deeply held religious beliefs,” said Reilly. “Everyone must do their part to defend religious freedom or risk losing our ability to faithfully hand on the Catholic faith without compromise.”

NLRB Continues Dangerous Path with Ruling against Duquesne University
A domino effect has been created by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which continues its unconstitutional oversight of Catholic colleges with a ruling last Friday against Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., which the University intends to appeal.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s interference in religious education has exposed Catholic identity concerns at Duquesne. Despite the Board’s policy of exempting individual faculty members from NLRB-approved labor unions, as long as the college itself identifies the professors as having a religious function, an NLRB regional director found that Duquesne does not in fact have substantial expectations that adjunct faculty members teach and witness to the Catholic faith.

“The adjuncts’ one semester contracts do not reference religious duties or the Employer’s Mission, or any role that the adjunct would be expected to play in furthering the Mission or the Employer’s religious educational environment,” ruled the NLRB director.

NLRB Finds Saint Xavier University Professors Not Held to Religious Standards
In a ruling Monday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continued its decades-long harassment of Catholic colleges by asserting its authority over employee relations at Saint Xavier University in Chicago and proceeding with its oversight of a vote by adjunct faculty members on whether to form a union.

But as has been the case with other NLRB rulings against Catholic colleges, the Board’s unconstitutional interference in religious education has also exposed Catholic identity concerns. The NLRB determined that even Saint Xavier University’s theology professors are not exempt from federal oversight, because the University itself fails to identify them as having a religious function.

Last December, religious colleges won a significant concession from the NLRB, when it abandoned its intrusive test into whether a college has a “substantial religious character.” The test violated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1979 ruling in NLRB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, which forbids the Board to assert jurisdiction over employee relations in religious education and to attempt to decide whether institutions are sufficiently religious for exemption.

Philly Catholics Celebrate Classical Education as Hope for Families, Religious Freedom

At the annual “Stand Up for Children” gala hosted by Regina Coeli Academy of Abingdon, Penn., last month, prominent Philadelphia-area Catholics celebrated the impact of Catholic education in defense of religious freedom and the family.

The topic of the family was especially on their minds, as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia anticipates the World Meeting of Families and the arrival of Pope Francis in September.

Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, delivered the keynote address and praised the benefits of classical Catholic education at Regina Coeli Academy.

“My talk today is about hope—and I believe that our reasons for celebrating Regina Coeli Academy today are as much about hope for the future as they are about the lives that were touched even just today, as I watched your teachers witness the love that Christ has for your students,” Reilly said.

Catholic Educators, Pro-Marriage Groups Urge Congress to Protect Tax Exemption

Today The Cardinal Newman Society and 34 leaders of Catholic schools and colleges joined with a coalition of religious groups led by the Family Research Council (FRC), in a letter urging Congress to protect the tax-exempt status of educational institutions that uphold traditional marriage.

During oral arguments in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Obama administration seeks the redefinition of marriage, the U.S. Solicitor General suggested that religious colleges and schools could lose their tax-exempt status “if [they] opposed same-sex marriage.”

Rob Schwarzwalder, vice president of policy for the Family Research Council, which organized today’s letter, explained the threat to Christian schools and colleges. If they were to lose their tax-exempt status, the aftermath would be “almost unimaginable,” he told The Cardinal Newman Society, which recruited many Catholic institutions to join the letter. “It would devastate the ability of the Church to function.”

Notre Dame Loses Round in Court, Maybe Due to Compliance with HHS Mandate
It appears that one reason the University of Notre Dame lost its court appeal yesterday—denying the University relief from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate to force employers to include sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in employee health plans—is the University’s compliance with the mandate since January.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled two-to-one to deny an immediate religious exemption to the University.

“This marked the first time that a federal appeals court had rejected a claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling last June in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores should shield a non-profit religious organization from any role whatsoever in carrying out the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate,” Lyle Denniston of the SCOTUS blog reported.

Why the difference with Notre Dame? Denniston suggested that the problem may be Notre Dame’s compliance with the HHS mandate, while simultaneously claiming that the mandate would violate its religious freedom.

Georgetown, Obama Use Poverty Summit to Distract from Religious Freedom, Abortion
Religious freedom is at the core of the critical debates—education, marriage, family—in our society today. However, this is exactly what Georgetown University and President Barack Obama appeared to be undercutting during the President’s visit on Tuesday to a “Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty” on Georgetown’s Jesuit campus in Washington, D.C.

“The Catholic Church, through her teaching and the statements of Pope Francis, has very important things to say about poverty,” said Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly. “But instead of focusing on how Catholic and Evangelical Christian insights can inform American policy—the stated purpose of last week’s conference—the Georgetown organizers used the event as a platform for President Obama to distract religious voters from his violations of religious freedom and push a political agenda.”

Although key religious leaders were invited to speak at the summit, including Bishop Jaime Soto of the controversial Catholic Campaign for Human Development, media coverage and Georgetown’s own public promotion of the event focused on President Obama’s argument that poverty issues should constitute a more vital role for Christians in America—apparently more vital than issues of religious freedom and human life.

Catholic and other Christian groups including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Bread for the World, World Vision, the Salvation Army, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Sojourners were invited to be “partners” in the conference, but it was President Obama whose views were promoted by Georgetown.

“This may sound self-interested,” Obama acknowledged to the Catholicand Evangelical participants. “[T]here are issues where we have had disagreements around reproductive issues, or same-sex marriage, or what have you. And so maybe it appears advantageous for me to want to focus on these issues of poverty, and not as much on these other issues.”

Knights of Columbus Leader Laments Obama’s False Promise at Notre Dame
After accepting the Evangelium Vitae Medal from the University of Notre Dame last week, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus looked back six years to the University’s scandalous commencement honors for President Barack Obama and boldly criticized the President for failing to keep his promise to protect Americans’ conscience rights by forcing the HHS mandate on religious organizations.

In 2009, pro-life law professor Mary Ann Glendon protested the honors for President Obama by refusing to share the stage with him to accept the Laetare Medal. The Cardinal Newman Society led opposition to Notre Dame’s invitation, together with 83 bishops and more than 367,000 individuals who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s petition.

During the 2009 address, President Obama acknowledged his support for abortion rights but promised to find common ground with pro-life Catholics, including protections for religious freedom:
Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women. Those are things we can do.
But his promise to protect the freedoms of religious objectors has fallen precipitously short, Anderson lamented last week. In light of the Obama administration’s threats to religious freedom, including the insufficient “accommodations” in the HHS mandate that requires health care coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortifacients, religious freedom is more in danger than ever before.

House Votes for Religious Freedom in D.C., But Republicans Fail to Halt Laws
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to overturn the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA), an unconstitutional law passed by the D.C. City Council which would force religious organizations to work with and hire abortion advocates in the nation’s Capital.

The Washington Post reported that the final vote was 228-192. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reportedly said that “the issue is one of religious liberty.”

“It is a very important step forward, that a majority of the House is now on record opposing this so-called anti-discrimination law that, in fact, has minimal impact except to discriminate against religious groups,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “But the fight must go on. Congress needs to finish this job and overturn both D.C.laws that violate our religious freedom.”

Newman Society Pres: Catholic Education Becoming 'Battleground' for Religious Freedom
Catholic education has swiftly become a “battleground” for religious freedom as the federal government relentlessly pushes for the redefinition of marriage, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly wrote in a recent Crisis Magazine piece.

Colleges and schools that are maintaining Catholic values and Church teaching are most at risk, Reilly noted. On Tuesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., confirmed during an oral argument before the Supreme Court that “religious colleges could lose their tax exemption and suffer other penalties if the Court redefines marriage.”

Reilly reported that Verrilli was asked by Chief Justice John Roberts how a federal redefinition of marriage wouldn’t present an enormous problem to religious schools. Verrilli admitted that there were “issues” posed by federally banning sexual orientation discrimination, not least of which included the possibility that a religious college could lose its nonprofit tax exemption for refusing to accommodate same-sex marriage.

Congress to Vote on Law that ‘Takes Away Our Right in Catholic Schools’ to Teach Faith
Down to the wire—and despite indications last week from Republican leadership aides that there were no plans to schedule a vote to overturn the District of Columbia’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA)—a floor vote has been scheduled Friday on House Joint Resolution 43, according to the D.C. Catholic Conference. Debate is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 30. 

“If RHNDA becomes law, then it takes away our right in Catholic schools to control our message and to control what we teach our children,” said Tom Burnford, education secretary for the Archdiocese of Washington, in an interview today with The Cardinal Newman Society. “Catholic schools would be obliged to keep teachers that sow confusion amongst their students.”

RHNDA will go into effect after May 2, if Congress does not act to stop it. House Joint Resolution 43, sponsored by pro-life Congresswoman Diane Black, was reportedly held back by Republican leaders but then was scheduled for a vote today after conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus demanded action.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Aquinas College New Hearing on HHS Mandate
The U.S. Supreme Court today gave an important victory to Newman Guide-recommended Aquinas College and its sponsor, the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia, by ordering the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its ruling last year that would force the College and Sisters to comply with the Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate.” 

The order also protects the Diocese of Nashville, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, and other Michigan and Tennessee charities. 

This ruling—the sixth similar order from the Supreme Court—requires the Sixth Circuit to reconsider the rights of religious nonprofits in light of the 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, which exempted some businesses from the mandate to include sterilization and contraceptives—including some that cause abortion—in employee health plans.

Opinion: Where’s the Tolerance in San Francisco?
Archbishop Cordileone and all U.S. bishops are bound by Canon law and Church teaching to do what he is doing: ensuring that Catholic schools in his diocese are Catholic. And indeed, he is not alone in this effort. He is joined by similar significant efforts underway by bishops in the dioceses of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Santa Rosa, Honolulu and Oakland, among others.  He is just currently the biggest target in a bastion of the fully-empowered tyrannical Left who will not tolerate any deviance from their liberal orthodoxy.  

The sexual dogmas of the liberal orthodoxy are so confused and so consuming that any other understanding of the nature and purpose of human sexuality and marriage, even those views held by the vast majority of humanity throughout all ages, must be condemned and ultimately silenced. To state the clear and unequivocal Catholic teaching that the only proper and moral exercise of the marital act is exclusively in the context of a committed natural marriage in the service of both love and life is viewed by some as a type of hate crime.  

These “anti-bully” bullies are doing what bullies do. They are seeking to gain in their own social status and self-concept by belittling, shaming and humiliating someone outside their local social norm. As the authors admit, the social sexual norms in the Bay Area are completely supportive of sex outside of natural marriage. Those who control the culture are dead set on humiliating and eliminating anyone who would not fully support their power and the status quo.

Wyoming College’s Decision to Forego Federal Aid Protects Catholic Identity

Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., recently became the latest among a small number of American colleges choosing not to participate in the federal student aid program in order to protect their mission from government intrusion.

Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., also does not participate in the federal aid program. Both colleges are recommended in The Newman Guide for their strong Catholic identity. interviewed Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly on this development, and he identified some of the threats from the federal government that persuaded Wyoming Catholic to reject the government aid. Although Reilly noted that many Catholic colleges accept federal student aid without compromising their Catholic identity, he agreed with Wyoming Catholic’s apprehension about the future.

Pope Benedict’s Vision Key to Survival of Catholic Colleges, Says Author
Questions have been raised recently about the future of Catholic higher education: Is it dying? Where is it going? Assumption College theology chair and professor Dr. Marc Guerra, author of a new book compiling some of Pope Benedict XVI’s most important speeches on truth and learning, says that Catholic colleges have available to them a tremendous blueprint and model for the survival of faithful Catholic education.

The Vatican’s constitution on higher education, Ex corde Ecclesiae, and the example and writings of Pope Benedict XVI provide a crucial model for Catholic colleges, Guerra told The Cardinal Newman Society. And they are especially needed today.

“Catholic colleges and universities today face threat[s] both from without and from within,” Guerra said, adding that it is a critical time for Catholic education in America. “These threats take a particular form for us today, a form that, in my view, represents something relatively new under the sun.”

Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More
Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More

Indiana Protects Religious Freedom, but Does Notre Dame Want the Protection?
A new law recently passed in Indiana could serve as legal protection for the University of Notre Dame if it chooses to reverse its policy of providing employee benefits to same-sex spouses, but it remains unclear whether such a reversal will occur.

‘Right Thing to Do’: Sens. Cruz, Lankford Make Last-Ditch Effort to Protect D.C. Religious Schools
With only three weeks remaining for Congress to overturn two Washington, D.C., laws that violate the religious freedom of Catholic schools and colleges—as well as other religious and pro-life organizations—Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma have done the “right thing” by introducing joint resolutions this week, said The Cardinal Newman Society’s Bob Laird.

The District’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) and the Human Rights Amendment Act (HRAA) were signed into law by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in January, despite significant concerns by The Cardinal Newman Society, The Catholic University of America, the D.C. Catholic Conference, and Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Several other D.C.-based organizations—both religious and pro-life—have called on Congress to protect their constitutional rights to religious practice and free speech.

Christian College Stands for Religious Freedom, Catholic College Retaliates by Cancelling Sports Matches
Emmanuel College athletic director Pam Roeker formally severed ties with Gordon College after learning that the College’s president was among several religious leaders to sign a letter to President Barack Obama requesting a religious exemption, according to The Hub.

Congress Needs to Overturn Unconstitutional D.C. Laws, Say Heritage Foundation Scholars
Congress has a responsibility to stop two unconstitutional bills due to their potential to severely impede religious freedom in the District of Columbia, Ryan Anderson and Sarah Torre contend in a recent issue brief from The Heritage Foundation.

Supreme Court Tells Lower Court to Reconsider Notre Dame HHS Mandate Case
Momentum is on the side of religious organizations against the HHS mandate, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is arguing, in light of the latest U.S. Supreme Court move directing a lower court to reconsider its ruling against the University of Notre Dame.

NLRB Rules against Seattle U., Claims Lack of Catholic Identity in Faculty Responsibilities
The Seattle office of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Seattle University cannot claim a religious exemption from the board’s oversight because no evidence was found that individual faculty members are responsible for furthering the University’s Catholic mission.

HHS Delaying Decision on Unconstitutional Abortion Mandate in California
California’s coercive abortion mandate—which would force Catholic universities and other organizations to violate their beliefs and provide health coverage for elective abortions—is still under investigation, and some are criticizing the administration for taking too much time.

Cardinal Wuerl: Catholics Should Speak up for Faith amidst Religious Freedom Attacks
This Lent gives Catholics a perfect opportunity to defend the faith, argued Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington in a recent post critiquing the double standard presented by two Washington, D.C., laws attacking the religious freedom of Catholic schools.

Bishops Designate Teachers as 'Ministers' To Strengthen Catholic Identity
Catholic teachers serve an integral role in the formation of students at Catholic schools and should rightly be held to the standard of ministers, argued Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly in a recent op-ed for the National Catholic Register.

Another Catholic College's Religious Freedom at Stake with NLRB Decision
The case for Duquesne University in Pittsburgh was sent back down to a regional director this week following the NLRB’s creation of a new policy which seeks to determine whether individual faculty members at a Catholic college have a specifically religious function.

Exemption from HHS Mandate Reversed for Christian College, Catholic Dioceses
A Christian college and two Catholic dioceses in western Pennsylvania are again under the yoke of the HHS mandate as a federal court reversed the injunctions previously granted to the institutions by lower courts.

Canadian Christian Law School Wins Crucial Religious Freedom Victory, But Opposition Remains
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia recently ruled that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society could not coerce an Christian educational institution to discard its religious principles. Despite the recent victory, the University faces more opposition to its policy in the months ahead.

CUA, Washington Archdiocese Join USCCB Urging Congress to Protect Religious Freedom
The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington have joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in sending a letter to Congress asking legislators to disapprove two recently passed laws in Washington, D.C., that attack religious freedom.

Catholic Colleges Must Motivate Alumni to Stand for Religious Freedom
Catholic colleges and universities should rally their alumni networks to defend religious freedom, argued David French, senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

‘Human Rights’ Include Religious Freedom
The concept of human rights has been misused to silence traditional understandings of marriage and family. The most recent example of this misappropriation is the District of Columbia's attack on the religious freedom of religious schools and organizations, argues Kathryn Lopez.

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