Wednesday, May 04, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily

Catholic Education Daily Articles

HHS

HHS
Govt. Admits HHS Mandate Alternatives Possible, Good News for Catholic Educators
4/19/2016
The federal government recently admitted in a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that it does not need to force religious objectors to provide contraceptive coverage as part of the HHS mandate, meaning a Court victory for Catholic colleges and schools, and others challenging the mandate, could be in sight, according to Becket Fund for Religious Liberty senior counsel Mark Rienzi.

“The government has now admitted ‘yes, we can get people contraceptives without involving nuns,’” said Rienzi in a recent press call discussing the briefs requested by the Court last month. “That’s a pretty logical point. It shouldn’t have taken five years of litigation to admit that, but it’s good that they have admitted it. And now it’s a pretty easy path to consensus for the Court.”

In a surprise twist last month, the Supreme Court asked both the government and petitioners against the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate to submit additional briefs. The briefs, according to the Court’s request, were meant to explain ways in which the objectionable coverage could be provided to employees while also preserving the religious freedom of employers — including Catholic colleges, schools and nonprofits — seeking to live out their sincerely held beliefs.


Notre Dame Sends ‘Mixed Signals’ by Honoring Both Biden and Little Sisters of the Poor
4/6/2016
By presenting prominent awards to both Vice President Joe Biden and the Little Sisters of the Poor, the University of Notre Dame has once again set up a contradictory example of how Catholic colleges should act in the public sphere, said alumnus and Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn.

“All in all, it’s a sad message Notre Dame sends: Principles are a fine thing—just don’t let them get in the way of a comfortable place in society,” he wrote, commenting on the contradictory nature of honoring pro-abortion Biden and the staunchly pro-life Little Sisters of the Poor at two separate events in the coming weeks.

On Saturday, the Little Sisters of the Poor will receive the 2016 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, a lifetime achievement award for “heroes in the pro-life movement” meant to honor those who have “served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages,” according to its description.


Catholic Colleges Prepare Responses to SCOTUS HHS Mandate Request
4/5/2016
The U.S. Supreme Court is seeking alternatives to the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate that would provide coverage for these services while preserving religious freedom, and Catholic colleges involved in challenging the mandate are preparing to respond.

“There are numerous ways for the government to preserve religious freedom without forcing contraceptive coverage on objecting religious organizations and colleges,” Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) legal counsel Quincy Masteller told The Cardinal Newman Society, noting that the Supreme Court justices may now be recognizing the moral dilemma facing religious organizations and colleges.

Last week, the Supreme Court made an unusual request, asking both the government and religious organizations to submit additional briefs exploring possible alternatives to the mandate. The alternatives, according to the Court, should spare religious non-profit organizations from performing any role in providing objectionable coverage while also assuring that those services are available to employees through other means.


SCOTUS Request for Alternatives to HHS Mandate a Hopeful Sign for Catholic Colleges?
3/31/2016
The U.S. Supreme Court’s unusual request of parties in the HHS mandate case to submit alternatives for contraception coverage that avoids forcing religious organizations to cover services in their health insurance contrary to their faith could be an optimistic sign for Catholic colleges and schools looking to preserve their religious freedom, according to several plaintiffs and lawyers involved in the cases.

“This is encouraging news,” said Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) President Michael McLean, according to a press release issued on Tuesday. “It suggests that the justices are looking for a solution that satisfies the government’s policy aims without getting religious organizations, such as the college, involved in furnishing access to morally objectionable coverage.”


Public Called to Join in Prayer and Fasting on Day of HHS Mandate Arguments
3/22/2016
Members of the Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) community will be joined by other Newman Guide colleges in observing a day of prayer and fasting on Wednesday, March 23 — when the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the cases against the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate — and the public is being encouraged take part in praying for religious freedom.

TAC President Dr. Michael McLean asked that friends of the College and supporters of religious freedom everywhere join students, faculty, staff and alumni in praying for the justices, and for the future of religious freedom in the United States.


HHS Mandate Seeks to Silence Catholic Institutions on Dignity of Human Life
3/21/2016
It is essential that Catholic colleges and schools defend the dignity of all human life when it is challenged, which makes it “particularly egregious that the federal government is trying to silence the few institutions who are,” Helen Alvaré, George Mason University School of Law professor, told The Cardinal Newman Society in comments on the challenges to Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

“If Catholics really believe that the relationship between a man and a woman provides a unique glimpse of the love of God, and if we reflect on the stunning fact that sexual relations make all human children, it seems clear that Catholics have a particular responsibility to educate on the matters challenging the dignity of human life,” she said. But the Obama administration’s contraception mandate threatens the ability of Catholic colleges and schools to fulfill that responsibility.


Faculty, Students at Catholic Colleges Defend HHS Mandate in Court Brief
3/18/2016
Included among the briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate challenges was an amici curiae brief signed by students and faculty members from several Catholic universities who argued that the mandate is necessary for women’s health, education and professional achievement. The Court will hear oral arguments on the challenges to the mandate on March 23.

The brief was signed by 240 students, faculty and staff at “religious institutions.” All but one of the colleges and universities represented in the brief are Catholic. The faculty members who signed the brief are employed by DePaul University in Chicago, Fordham University, Fordham University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.


Bishop Rhoades Slams Notre Dame Honor of Pro-Abortion Biden: ‘Can Provoke Scandal’
3/14/2016
Fort Wayne – South Bend, Ind., Bishop Kevin Rhoades severely criticized the University of Notre Dame’s decision to award pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden with the 2016 Laetare Medal, saying the controversial choice could “provoke scandal” by giving the impression “that one can be ‘a good Catholic’ while also supporting or advocating for positions that contradict our fundamental moral and social principles and teachings”

“While I understand Notre Dame’s intentions in conferring the Laetare Medal upon Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner, I disagree with the decision,” Bishop Rhoades said in his official statement released today to The Cardinal Newman Society. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception.”


Catholics Join in Prayer, Fasting Before Supreme Court Review of HHS Mandate Cases
3/14/2016
In the days leading up to March 23, when the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments for the challenges to the HHS contraception mandate, faithful Catholics across the country will unite in prayer and fasting for the protection of religious freedom.

Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Va., released a statement encouraging the faithful to join in a novena beginning March 14 and ending March 22, one day before the scheduled oral arguments. “Prayer is the one indispensable element in any undertaking or strategy,” Bishop Loverde began in his statement. “Whatever other elements may be needed, if prayer is not the absolute and essential action, the effort will ultimately be unsuccessful.”


Newman Society: Notre Dame Honor for Pro-Abortion Joe Biden Betrays the University’s Catholic Mission
3/7/2016
Seven years after the University of Notre Dame received worldwide criticism for its public honor to pro-abortion President Barack Obama — including more than 367,000 signatures to The Cardinal Newman Society’s online petition and public opposition by 83 American Catholic bishops — Notre Dame has once again chosen to betray the Church and its Catholic mission.

Notre Dame has announced that it will bestow its 2016 Laetare Medal, the “oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics,” on pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden. This time, however, the offense is even greater: a pro-abortion Catholic politician is being honored as one “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church [emphasis added] and enriched the heritage of humanity.”

... The Cardinal Newman Society emphatically condemns the awarding of the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden.


SCOTUS Outcome for HHS Mandate Cases Unpredictable, Says Catholic University President
2/25/2016
Whether with eight justices or nine, it is simply impossible to predict how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in the upcoming challenges to the HHS contraception mandate, Catholic University of America President John Garvey told The Cardinal Newman Society, commenting on the potential impact of Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing.

“It’s always a little presumptuous to suppose we can foretell the outcome of a case, or predict the judgment of the members of the Court. So we can’t be sure how Justice Scalia’s death might bear on the result,” Garvey said. Oral arguments are scheduled to be heard before the Court on March 23.


Thomas Aquinas College Still Hopeful as SCOTUS Hearing on Contraceptive Mandate Case Approaches
2/25/2016
In recent weeks, many commentators have speculated on the potential outcomes of U.S. Supreme Court cases following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but Dr. Michael McLean, president of the Newman Guide-recommended Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., told The Cardinal Newman Society that he is still confident about the College’s chances in the HHS contraception mandate case being brought before the nation’s highest court next month.

“Justice Scalia’s death leaves a void on the high court that will be difficult to fill,” said McLean. “However, we at Thomas Aquinas College are confident in the case our attorneys will make against the HHS mandate when they argue before the Supreme Court.” 

Thomas Aquinas College is part of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sylvia Burwell, which also includes The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and several Catholic high schools as petitioners. The Cardinal Newman Society and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., will be affected by the outcome of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, as both are insured by Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, which also covers the Little Sisters.


College Professors Who Are Building a Culture of Life
1/21/2016
The Cardinal Newman Society’s reporting in 2015 featured interviews with numerous Catholic professors who, doing their best to build a culture of life, spoke on pro-life topics such as the undercover Planned Parenthood videos, support for Planned Parenthood on campus and the Obama administration’s contraceptive “HHS Mandate.”

The following list highlights seven professors that the Newman Society spoke to in the last year who are helping to advance the pro-life movement, both at their respective institutions and within society. This list is not meant to be exclusive or to be considered as a ranking of any kind.


SCOTUS Brief: Catholic Colleges Know What They Believe, Not the Courts
1/13/2016
Catholic colleges and schools, not the government or the courts, should determine whether or not their beliefs have been violated, argued Ave Maria University in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court stating the government’s implementation of the HHS contraception mandate is in clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

“Under RFRA, the religious adherent gets to define the nature of his own sincerely held beliefs as well as what constitutes a violation of those beliefs. Hence, the proper question under RFRA is ‘whether the HHS mandate imposes a substantial burden on the ability of the objecting parties to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs,’” Ave Maria’s brief stated, citing the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.


White House Targeted Catholic Education in Crafting HHS Mandate Exemptions
1/12/2016
Despite the Obama administration’s assurances that it is trying to accommodate religious freedom interests, recently discovered government emails show that institutions of Catholic education were specifically targeted and denied religious freedom exemptions from the HHS Mandate while similar religious entities received exemptions, according to the Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino.

Severino stated in an article for National Review Online last week that she’s filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the HHS contraception mandate case, Zubik v. Burwell, calling out the Obama administration’s direct targeting of Catholic education and citing the emails between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and White House discovered during congressional inquiries into the sharing of tax information.


SCOTUS Brief Against HHS Mandate Defends Catholic Education
1/8/2016
A brief filed today by the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in coordination with The Cardinal Newman Society and six other national religious organizations strongly urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the sincerely-held religious beliefs of Catholic universities, colleges and schools by invalidating any directive to provide coverage of sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients in employee health plans as part of Obamacare’s HHS contraception mandate.

The Obama administration’s “HHS Mandate” is the “elephant in the room” threatening faithful Catholic education, said Bob Laird, vice president for program development at the Newman Society. “If our schools can teach the faith and the public good in the classroom but not practice it in the conduct of their own business, then education is merely an ideological shell with no substance.”


Catholic Colleges Prepare for HHS Showdown Before the Supreme Court
1/8/2016
Three Newman Guide-recommended colleges involved in lawsuits against the Obama administration’s HHS contraception mandate submitted their formal briefs this week as they prepare for oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court that could determine the fate of their religious freedom protections.

The government has embraced an unreasonably narrow view of religious freedom which excludes Catholic education and “denies full religious status and protection to clearly religious organizations,” according to Thomas Aquinas College’s summation of thebrief submitted on its behalf. “By concluding that only ‘houses of worship’ but not religious charitable and educational institutions should be considered ‘religious employers,’ the Government betrays a distressingly narrow view of the proper place of religious faith and practice in our society.”


Catholic Education in 150-Year Battle for Religious Freedom
1/5/2016
The anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments and HHS contraception mandate have bookended a 150-year attack on Catholic education and religious freedom and should be overturned immediately so that Catholic universities, colleges and schools can operate according to their mission and the freedoms insured by the U.S. Constitution, said Ave Maria University President Jim Towey in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society.

“This is a struggle that’s gone on for thousands of years, but for our democracy it’s particularly acute in that we’ve had this history with the Blaine Amendments, with anti-Catholic discrimination, that goes on to this day with the example of the ‘HHS Mandate,’” Towey said.

“One of the reasons Ave Maria University raced to court,” Towey continued, “was because we knew that the Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate was an attack on our religious freedom, and without that you can’t be a Catholic university.”


New HHS ‘Gender Identity’ Rule Could Impact Bathroom Use at Catholic Schools
11/16/2015
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.”


CUA President: Pray for Religious Freedom, “Only So Much Lawyers Can Do”
11/6/2015
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.


Pope Francis Visit to Little Sisters ‘Huge Boon’ to Catholic Educators
9/24/2015
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
9/1/2015
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.


Catholic Educators Depend on Supreme Court Appeal Challenging HHS Mandate
8/27/2015
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.


Case Representing Little Sisters, Newman Society Goes Back to Supreme Court
7/24/2015
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.


CUA President Teaches Catholic Responsibility to Protect Religious Freedom
7/9/2015
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.”


Catholic Education ‘Going to Win’ HHS Mandate Suits, Predicts Becket Fund Attorney
7/8/2015
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
7/8/2015
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.


Notre Dame Loses Round in Court, Maybe Due to Compliance with HHS Mandate
5/21/2015
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
5/15/2015
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
5/5/2015
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.


U.S. Supreme Court Grants Aquinas College New Hearing on HHS Mandate
4/27/2015
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.


Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More
4/6/2015
Vatican official says Cath. colleges have higher calling, Archbishops call for religious protections, and More


Holder Touts Work for ‘Marriage Equality’ in Georgetown Student Paper Interview
3/16/2015
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently touted his approval of same-sex marriage in an interview with the student paper of Georgetown University, though his opposition to Church teaching was evidently not called into question.


Notre Dame’s Compromised Legacy on Life Issues Depends on Faculty, Alumni Say
3/16/2015
The University of Notre Dame has had a more-than complicated history with right-to-life issues. The pro-Catholic identity alumni group Sycamore Trust recently observed that the University’s pro-life character depends on ensuring a majority of pro-life faculty on campus, but studies have shown minimal support for the issue among professors.


Supreme Court Tells Lower Court to Reconsider Notre Dame HHS Mandate Case
3/9/2015
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.


Archbishop Criticizes Xavier Univ. (La.) for Choice of Commencement Honorees
3/5/2015
Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans recently expressed his disappointment in some of Xavier University of Louisiana’s honorary degree recipient selections for its 2015 commencement. Several of the University’s honoree choices support positions contrary to Catholic teaching.


Oral Arguments Heard in Case against HHS Mandate
12/9/2014
Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor presented oral arguments before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals for the case representing more than 400 Catholic organizations in the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, including The Cardinal Newman Society.


‘Fight Not Done’ over HHS Mandate, Says Thomas Aquinas College President
11/28/2014
Dr. Michael McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in Santa Paula, Calif., recently spoke with host Molly Smith on her show "From the Median" about TAC's courtroom battle against the HHS mandate.


Oral Arguments Scheduled in Case against HHS Mandate
11/7/2014
On December 8, more than 400 Catholic organizations participating in the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust, including The Cardinal Newman Society, will have oral arguments against the HHS mandate heard before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, The Becket Fund reported.


Ave Maria Wins Relief from HHS Mandate, President Towey Says Battle ‘Far from Over’
10/28/2014
The order from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida is the first "enjoining the government's latest attempt to coerce religious organizations via an 'augmented rule' that it issued last August," stated the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.


Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate
10/27/2014
Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule still “directly violates the religious liberty of organizations and individuals.”


HHS Mandate Accommodation Still Presents Substantial Burden, U.S. Bishops Say
10/9/2014
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) officially submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Despite the “accommodations” made, the HHS mandate remains a substantial burden on religious freedom, according to the USCCB.


Settlement on HHS Mandate Breaks New Ground for Religious Freedom
10/7/2014
L. Brent Bozell, III announced today in a press release that MRC is ending its first-of-a-kind lawsuit against the HHS mandate because of an Agreed Order of Dismissal from the government.


Fr. Miscamble: Notre Dame Board Appointment ‘Mistake That Must Be Rectified’
10/7/2014
Writing one day before the Notre Dame Board of Trustees’ meeting, history professor Fr. Wilson Miscamble, C.S.C., argued that the appointment of HHS mandate supporter Katie Washington to the board is a “failure in leadership and judgment” and “a mistake that must be rectified.”


Notre Dame Asks SCOTUS to Void Lower Court Decision in Case against HHS Mandate
10/6/2014
The University of Notre Dame filed paperwork on Friday, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling in light of the Hobby Lobby case and exempt the Catholic university from complying with the HHS mandate, The Observer reported.


California Bishops Respond to Abortion Mandate, File Official Complaint
10/2/2014
The California Catholic Conference filed a formal complaint this week with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services citing civil rights violations committed by the California Department of Managed Health Care.


Obama Admin Targets More than 400 Catholic Organizations for HHS Mandate
9/11/2014
The Obama administration’s indication that it will continue its fight for enforcement of its “HHS mandate” against religious nonprofits, could immediately affect more than 400 Catholic organizations participating in the Christian Brothers Trust, including The Cardinal Newman Society.


Colleges Recommended in Newman Guide Comment on HHS Mandate Accommodation
9/8/2014
Several Catholic colleges and universities recommended in The Newman Guide have issued press releases and statements commenting on the Obama administration’s recent update to the HHS mandate accommodation.


Criticism Mounts over Notre Dame’s Student Health Plan Covering Abortifacients, Contraceptives
9/5/2014
The University of Notre Dame’s recent decision to renew its student health plan—which provides students with free contraceptives and abortifacients as stipulated in the HHS Mandate—was unnecessary and could undermine its lawsuit against the Mandate.


Newman Society Releases Statement on New HHS Mandate Accommodation
8/28/2014
The following official statement was released this week by The Cardinal Newman Society in response to the changes to the HHS mandate accommodation announced on Friday, August 22.


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