Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

6/20/2014 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I commend the heroic action of EWTN. We should all commit ourselves to prayer and solidarity with them.

We are extremely disappointed with the decision reached by the court in this case. The opinion issued is clearly inconsistent with the decisions reached in nearly all of the cases decided to date. The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling. As an organization that was founded by Mother Angelica to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization should be defined as health care. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices. We have no other option but to continue our legal challenge of the mandate. We are making an immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta - EWTN

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/20/2014 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: EWTN, Obamacare, Unjust mandate, HHS Mandate, Michael P. Warsaw, Judge Callie V.S. Granade, Free exercise of religion, Deacon Keith Fournier


IRONDALE, AL (Catholic Online) - On February 1, 2013, the Obama Administration announced an allegedly new modification to its purported "exemption" for religious institutions which had objected to being compelled to offer contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs  to their employees by the Administration - or face the punitive boot of the State.

The original HHS mandate, through which Obamacare will be enforced, required all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans. 

The initial exemption provided for religious employers did not cover hospitals, universities, soup kitchens, outreaches to the poor and many other vital expressions of our Catholic faith and mission. In effect, it limited the exemption to activities which took place behind the four walls of the Church or were directly operated by the Church.

The purported accommodation which followed amounted to a shell game, which accomplished nothing. When the Mandate was recorded in the Federal Register, nothing had changed.In other words, the Obama Administration is still attempting to force Catholics, other Christians, other People of Faith and good will, to violate their deeply held religious beliefs and conscience convictions.

This unjust action is in direct contravention of the fundamental human right to religious freedom and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

Anyone who is genuinely concerned over this violation of the First Amendment guarantee of the fundamental right to religious freedom which this matter involves must act. That action must proceed from prayer and be directed toward the defense of religious freedom. No-one should sit idly by as this threat to liberty looms.

We are living in an historic moment in the United States. A serious threat to the very foundations of freedom upon which the American experiment stands is well underway. The vital role of the Church and her influence as a leavening agent and a servant in American culture is seriously threatened.

There is no question that the vital constitutional issues presented by the HHS mandate, the conflicting opinions of both the multiple lower Federal Courts and Appellate Courts, and the importance of this matter, have positioned this issue for a resolution by the United States Supreme Court.

In the myriad of Court cases, arising out of the HHS Mandate there have been many promising signs that those who defend the Free exercise of religion will prevail. However, while the process unfolds, there  was some disappointing news on June 17, 2014.

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) received notice that United States District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade issued a ruling which, in effect, unless overturned on Appeal, would attempt to compel this wonderful network to offer sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plan or face punitive penalties.

Fortunately, the EWTN Global Catholic Network, true to its mission, immediately announced it will Appeal the wrongly decided opinion and offered heroic witness to the kind of courage that this situation calls forth from all of us.

Below is the full statement offered to the Press by the network:

Michael P. Warsaw, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of EWTN Global Catholic Network, in response to today's decision by Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Mobile, Ala. denying EWTN protection from the government mandate that it must provide coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization as part of its employee health care coverage: 

Irondale, AL (EWTN) - "We are extremely disappointed with the decision reached by the court in this case. The opinion issued is clearly inconsistent with the decisions reached in nearly all of the cases decided to date. The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling.

As an organization that was founded by Mother Angelica to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization should be defined as health care. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices. We have no other option but to continue our legal challenge of the mandate. We are making an immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta."


This HHS Mandate is a violation of the Free Exercise of Religion which is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" 

That Right to the Free Exercise of religion has been called the "First Freedom" in the American tradition for good reason. It is a foundation for all of our other freedoms. Religious Freedom is also a fundamental human right.

The Birth Certificate of the United States of America,  the Declaration of Independence, affirmed the existence of inalienable rights and self evident truths. Those Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness are endowed by our Creator and not conferred by a Government.

They cannot - they must not- be taken away by Government. Religious Liberty is at the heart of the very understanding of this Right to Liberty in the Western tradition.

The fines and penalties which non-compliance with the HHS mandate brings would have the practical result of closing many of the Church's outreaches, ministries and institutions of care and compassion.  It is repugnant.

This HHS Mandate not only injures the Church and religious institutions it injures American society. It harms the common good.

It is also an unjust law.

The Federal Government of the United States is trying to force us to act against deeply held religious convictions and to violate moral conscience. The claim that this HHS Mandate is an unjust law is rooted in the western understanding of the nature of law itself.
 
It is the firm foundation upon which the American founders grounded their insistence that there are inalienable rights, endowed upon us all by a Creator, which cannot be taken away by any civil government. Positive law must reflect the Natural Law.

Saint Augustine said of an unjust law, "For it seems to me that an unjust law is no law at all." Saint Thomas Aquinas explained, "Human law is law only in virtue of its accordance with right reason: and thus it is manifest that it flows from the eternal law. And in so far as it deviates from right reason it is called an unjust law; in such case it is no law at all, but rather a species of violence."

In doing so, they echoed Cicero, Aristotle and Plato and the entire Natural Law Tradition.

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, gave this explanation of how one determines whether a law is unjust, "How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law."

Catholics, like other Christians and people of faith, believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands a response which goes beyond the walls of our Church buildings. We are our brother and sister's keeper. We do not reach out to people in need because they are Catholic. We reach out to people in need because we are Catholic.   

I commend the heroic action of EWTN. We should all commit ourselves to prayer and solidarity with them, and with all who are standing up to an unjust mandate. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Pope Francis names Bishop Blasť Cupich to replace ailing Chicago Archbishop Watch

Image of Ill from liver cancer, Cardinal George said at a news conference in Chicago that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has chosen Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich as Chicago's new archbishop. The ailing Cardinal Francis George welcomed his pending retirement after his 17 years of service, with only the highest praise for his successor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


World population could hit 11 billion by 2100 new study reveals Watch

Image of Africa will see the largest population boom, going from 1 billion to 4 billion by the century's end. Asia will also likely rise a bit, but will peak at 5 billion by 2050 and decline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations-led analysis published on September 18 has revealed that the world's population may reach 11 billion by 2100, which would mean two billion more people than previously expected, largely due to high birth rates in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:16-18
16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Thomas of Villanueva
September 22: Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter