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STATEMENT ON THE LAWSUIT FILED TODAY AGAINST FEDERAL
AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR FORMULATING AND ENFORCING
THE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES MANDATE
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc. and The Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the February 15, 2012 mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The following is a joint statement on this lawsuit:
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc. and The Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, together with 12 other archdioceses and dioceses representing a total of 43 Church-related organizations, have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the February 15, 2012 mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Among the others joining in the lawsuit are: the University of Notre Dame, the Diocese of Erie, Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Archdioceses of Washington, New York and St. Louis, Catholic University of America, the Michigan Catholic Conference and Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.
This lawsuit has been filed for a simple reason: the HHS mandate violates the fundamental rights to Religious Freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Under the HHS mandate, our Church-sponsored organizations – everything from hospitals for the sick to soup kitchens that feed the hungry – are required to let the federal government determine which of our beliefs we can follow and which of our beliefs we cannot follow in our services to the community. The only Church-sponsored organizations that would be exempt from the mandate are those that primarily employ Catholics and primarily serve Catholics.
We simply cannot accept this.
We cannot accept that rather than asking “Are you sick?” and “Are you hungry?” that we must first ask “Are you Catholic?” We help people because we are Catholic, not because they are Catholic.
We cannot accept that we would have to turn people away who want to serve in our institutions because they are not Catholic.
We cannot accept that the federal government has the right to force us to choose between our sacred beliefs or shutting our doors.
The issue at heart here is whether the federal government can force the Church to do something that the Church considers morally and religiously objectionable.
In filing this complaint, we are one of a total of 12 lawsuits nationwide that have been filed representing 12 other archdioceses and dioceses and Church-related organizations totaling 43 separate plaintiffs. We did not pick this fight or this timing. The federal government chose to impose this mandate on us now. This is a level of interference in Religious Freedom that no administration – Democrat or Republican – has ever done before in the history of the United States.
Religious freedom is the cornerstone of every basic human right. Religious freedom means that each of us has the right to pursue the truth, embrace the truth and to shape our lives by the truth without government coercion.
This lawsuit is meant to protect that freedom already guaranteed to us by the Constitution, not just for Catholics, but for every American.
View the official statement release: lawsuitmediastatement
For more information please visit the Diocese of Pittsburgh web site: www.diopitt.org
Call us at 1.866.794.5081 for more information...