Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago joined an ongoing lawsuit in federal court July 9, seeking to overturn the mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The following was posted on its website:
“To receive an exemption from the mandate, Catholic Charities must abandon its longstanding commitment, rooted in its Catholic faith, to serve the poor regardless of their religion.
“The sole matter at hand is that religious freedom has been compromised by the mandate in violation of the First Amendment of our nation’s Constitution,” said Msgr. Michael Boland, administrator, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. Regarding the limited exemption to the HHS mandate, Boland added that “HHS fails to understand that there is no distinction between our Catholic faith and our commitment to serve the needs of all people regardless of their religion.”
“We support health care reform and efforts to expand access to health care to all Americans. But we oppose any policy that compels us to compromise our Catholic faith. Make no mistake: This mandate affects all religions and anyone of faith. This is about religious liberty. We must take a stand, not only on behalf of Catholic Charities, but for all faith-based organizations. We must protect our right to serve all the poor, not just those HHS defines for us,” Boland said.
In response to the lawsuit, Cardinal George said on the archdiocesan website:
“Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is a ministry that feeds the poor, protects the homeless, counsels the troubled and houses the homeless. This ministry will lose its identity as Catholic unless the HHS mandate now in force as the recent law of the land is changed and the Catholic Church and other religious bodies are given back their constitutional freedom to minister publicly. This is the issue now before a court. It is also the issue before a nation that portrays itself as the ‘land of the free.’”
I am proud of the work of our Catholic Charities. This ministry gives flesh to the church’s constant concern for the poor. I am sorry that the intransigence of the Department of Health and Human Services has made it necessary to defend in court what every American could take for granted until this year.”
For more information, visit www.catholiccharities.net.