Monday, November 30, 2015

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Catholic Education Daily Articles


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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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

Holder Touts Work for ‘Marriage Equality’ in Georgetown Student Paper Interview
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
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
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
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
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
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
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’
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
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
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
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’
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

Christian College Secures Victory over HHS Mandate
Last week, a federal court ruled in favor of Louisiana College in its suit against the HHS mandate ... The decision ruled that the mandate violated the college’s religious freedom.

California Could Force Abortion Coverage at Catholic Universities, Violating Federal Law
California’s health care agency is conducting “an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding coverage for abortion services,” in reaction to last year’s decisions by two Catholic universities to end payments for employee health insurance coverage of elective abortion.

Changes to HHS Mandate ‘Accommodation Process’ Coming, Says Obama Admin.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's order granting a Christian college temporary relief from the HHS mandate, the Obama administration is promising to "augment" the mandate's "accommodation process" within the next month.

Use Religious Freedom to Evangelize the Culture, Argues Bishop Conley
In an article about the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case, Bishop James Conley of the Lincoln Diocese sounded a call for the importance of evangelization in the face of aggressive secularization.

Include Religious Exemption in Looming Executive Order, Religious Leaders Urge President
A number of religious leaders and academics are urging President Barack Obama to include religious freedom protections in an upcoming executive order which would essentially ban any discrimination based on sexual orientation among federal contractors.

Gonzaga Alumni Group Calls for New ‘Sexual Revolution’ Embracing Catholic Teaching
In its latest bulletin, the alumni group 1887 Trust pointed to the words of Pope Francis, who in January of this year spoke of the need for Catholic colleges to give "uncompromising witness" to the "Church's moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom."

Supreme Court Action Protects Religious College
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a temporary injunction against enforcement of the HHS mandate for the evangelical Christian Wheaton College, despite the Obama administration’s arguments that its “accommodation” to the HHS mandate does not place a substantial burden on the college’s religious freedom.

Happy Independence Week for Catholic Educators, Religious Freedom
In addition to the Supreme Court's landmark ruling Monday subsequent federal rulings may hold far-reaching, positive consequences for Catholic schools, colleges and other religious nonprofit organizations.

Hobby Lobby Ruling Supports Challenge to HHS Mandate, Says Thomas Aquinas College
President Dr. Michael McLean announced in a statement that the College has submitted a letter in a federal court arguing that the recent verdict supports the College's challenge to the HHS mandate.

Wyoming Catholic College, Cheyenne Diocese Win Relief from HHS Mandate
Now, reports the Becket Fund, the plaintiffs "join the 80%+of HHS legal challenges that have resulted in favorable rulings supporting religious freedom."

Cheered by Ruling on HHS Mandate, Catholic Educators Await Their Day in Court
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that theowners of Hobby Lobby stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties are not required tocomply with the HHS mandate because of the owners’ religious beliefs.

U.S. Bishops Call for Prayer, Education, Action in Fortnight for Freedom
The Fortnight takes place during a time, the bishops note, “when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power...”

Notre Dame Could Be ‘Only Catholic Litigant’ Held to HHS Mandate, Warns Alumnus
The chairman of the Sycamore Trust, a group of Notre Dame alumni committed to strengthening its Catholic identity, wrote a letter arguing that the University should remove a recently appointed board member who supports the HHS mandate.

Alumni Launch Novena for ‘Flourishing and Faithfulness’ of Gonzaga University
The 1887 Trust, an organization committed to strengthening and promoting the Catholic identity of Gonzaga University, is urging Catholics to join the organization in praying a novena for the University to St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

Media Research Center Case against HHS Mandate Awaits Decision
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia reportedly said he would examine the case further and “would issue a written ruling in the coming weeks.”

Federal Court Exempts Hundreds of Catholic Employers from HHS Mandate
A federal court has decided that a recently formed coalition called The Catholic Benefits Association, which represents more than 450 employers and 19,000 employees, is exempt from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

Alumni to Notre Dame: Arrange for Departure of Trustee Who Supports HHS Mandate
The Cardinal Newman Society broke the news last month that Notre Dame named to its Board of Trustees Katie Washington, who has publicly supported the HHS mandate and criticized the U.S. bishops’ opposition to it.

Diocese of Greensburg, Catholic School File Suit over HHS Mandate
Greensburg Bishop Lawrence Brandt reportedly called the HHS Mandate a “direct affront to our religious freedoms.”

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