Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Notre Dame Alumni: Fr. Jenkins Comments on HHS Mandate ‘Startling’

Notre DameNotre Dame alumni group Sycamore Trust recently contrasted the University’s claim in court that the HHS mandate “would require Notre Dame to commit scandal” with President Fr. John Jenkins’ comments from a recent student Town Hall event that, “I don’t see this as a scandal because we are not giving out contraceptives.”

At the beginning of this year, the University named after Our Lady announced it would comply with the mandate which requires employees of the University to be covered for abortifacients, contraception, and sterilization procedures.  The University continues to seek relief from the HHS mandate in the courts.

Fr. Jenkins said, according to The Irish Rover, “We feel this is an infringement on religious freedom, but we have a variety of factors to consider, like legitimate government authority.” He reportedly added, “I don’t see this as a scandal because we are not giving out contraceptives.”

The alumni group Sycamore Trust juxtaposed Fr. Jenkins’ comment with Notre Dame’s claims in court, specifically arguing, “[T]he mandate would require Notre Dame to commit scandal.” The alumni group, which is committed to promoting Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, called Fr. Jenkins’ comment “startling.”

Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit questioned the University’s intention since the Notre Dame had already submitted the required form to opt-out and switch the cost for abortifacients and contraceptives for employees to a third party administrator.

According to The Irish Rover, Jenkins also said, “Our complicity is not an evil so grave that we would compromise our conscience by going along.” And he reportedly pointed out that it would cost Notre Dame $1 million per day if it did not comply.

Last week, the University filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for a rehearing of its plea for an injunction against the HHS mandate in front of the entire Seventh Circuit, rather than the panel of three judges which earlier denied the plea.

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