Just breaking: 43 Catholic diocese and organizations, including Our Sunday Visitor, the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend and the University of Notre Dame have filed a lawsuit challenging the HHS mandate.
From OSV’s Press Relese:
The lawsuits are in response to regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force all Catholic organizations and employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception to their employees free of charge, despite the fact that they are against Catholic teaching.
“Our lawsuit raises two questions,” said Gregory Erlandson, president of the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division: “Whether the government can use such criteria to define the religiousness of an organization, and whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to provide and facilitate services which violate their religious beliefs.”
Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., is a not-for-profit enterprise that is self-insured. It does not fund abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization or contraception. “We are concerned that these regulations, if not overturned, would force Our Sunday Visitor to provide such coverage even when the Catholic Church has consistently taught that they are wrong and a violation of Church teaching,” said Erlandson.
Our Sunday Visitor is joined in the lawsuit by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the University of Saint Francis, Catholic Charities, Saint Anne Home and Retirement Community and Franciscan Alliance. The University of Notre Dame has filed a separate lawsuit in South Bend, Ind. The lawsuit in defense of religious liberty was filed in federal court on May 21st, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., in Fort Wayne, Ind. All totaled, 43 plaintiffs filed suit in 12 jurisdictions the same day.
Cardinal Dolan, as President of the USCCB applauds the move:
“We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.”