HHS Mandate Decision

Did you hear about the decision last week by U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan in the lawsuit brought by the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, (the agency coordinating our Catholic healthcare in the archdiocese) and three plaintiffs from the Diocese of Rockville Centre on Long Island, against the administration for the unconstitutional HHS mandate?

You probably did not, as there seems to have been virtually no mention of the decision – in favor of the archdiocese, by the way – in any local newspaper or on television.  As far as I can tell, and I’ve looked rather carefully, there hasn’t even been a story in the New York Times, which couldn’t wait to publish an editorial this past October, admonishing the bishops, when a federal judge in Missouri found for the administration and dismissed a similar case brought by a private, for-profit, mining company.   (The Times also didn’t have much to say last week, when the appeals court temporarily blocked the bad Missouri decision the Times had gushed over.)

(UPDATE: The Staten Island Advance DID publish a story last week.  My apologies to Maura Grunlund for not remembering!)

Judge Cogan’s decision last week turned back a motion by the administration to have our lawsuit dismissed.  You’ll remember, perhaps, that back in May, the Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, and Catholic Health Systems of Long Island filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn, one of more than two dozen similar lawsuits filed around the country that day.  These lawsuits argue that the mandate from Health and Human Services would unconstitutionally presume to define the nature of the Church’s ministry, and force religious employers to violate their conscience or face onerous fines for not providing services in our health insurance that are contrary to our consciences and faith.

The judge’s decision doesn’t settle the case, but allows the case to proceed so that it might be heard in court.  (Two of our original co-plaintiffs, the Diocese of Rockville Centre and Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, have been dismissed from the suit, as the judge found that their insurance plans would not presently be affected by the HHS mandate.  The Archdiocese of New York, ArchCare, and CHSLI remain as plaintiffs.)   That’s significant, because the administration has been successful in getting some of the other cases dismissed, but in his decision Judge Cogan found that there was very real possibility that we plaintiffs would “face future injuries stemming from their forced choice between incurring fines or acting in violation of their religious beliefs.”

And what of the administration’s contention that the suit should be dismissed because they were going to change the HHS mandate to address the concerns of religious employers? As Judge Cogan wrote, “…the First Amendment does not require citizens to accept assurances from the government that, if the government later determines it has made a misstep, it will take ameliorative action. There is no, ‘Trust us, changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”

Bravo, Judge Cogan!

Of course, there is still a long way to go before these cases are final, and it would be our hope that the administration will be true to their word and amend the HHS mandate so that it does provide a real religious exemption and freedom of conscience protection.

Until then, we will continue to seek justice in the courts.  Thanks to last week’s decision in Federal Court in Brooklyn, it looks like we will have that chance.  We’ll keep you posted.

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23 Responses to “HHS Mandate Decision”

  1. Renee Miller says:

    Thanks for all the updates Cardinal Dolan! I appreciate them!

  2. Daniel Andrew Hendrick says:

    It is some good news in a country fixated on promoting the administrations HHS agenda. Thanks so much for the thoughtful update.

  3. Eileen Hedrick says:

    Your Excellency, Thank you for the hope filled information. We are a faith based Private Duty Home Care ministry. Our company’s motto is from Mother Teresa… To serve with our hands, love with our hearts and seek the face of our Creator in those we serve. God has blessed us as we provide compassionate care to the sick & the elders of all faiths. As a privately owned company, we need our First Ammendment rights upheld and need a religious exemption as our ministry is a reflection of our Catholic faith in which we were raised. We ask you to continue to support us in this endeavor. May God continue to bless us and our ministries of loving God by serving His people. Advent blessings, Eileen Hedrick

  4. Ridge Sink says:

    Congrats to all of you who have been leading this charge. The Light and the Truth will prevail. God bless

  5. Susan Abel says:

    This doesn’t specifically impact the Archdiocese, but it does impact how we should be viewing any hints of the administration regarding change… Is there any indication that there would be an exemption for Catholics engaged in for-profit business? I guess “Hobby Lobby” is one example. Because if it’s only for religious institutions, I can’t see how we could ever accept any “compromise.”

    Personally, I think they’ve figured out they need everyone in their pool to cover the cost. If you take out all of those not clamouring for their free contraceptives and abortions, you’re left with those…clamouring for their contraceptives and abortions.

    Of course, the other way to see their goal is to render the Catholic Church irrelevant, either eliminate their presence in hospitals, schools, etc., or make the Catholic Church subservient to their gravely immoral absolutes.

  6. Don Story says:

    With all due respect, if the Catholic Church had not sided with the Democrats and the Obama Administration, then our institute would not be facing these challenges. God’s Law and Word is what the Catholic Church should be advocating not social justice or feel good programs. The Catholic Church has strayed from providing the proper example for the world. Too many social justice projects have disabled and created fake victims instead of enabling people to be productive. I pray the Catholic Church is prepared to separate itself from providing serices should the courts not rule in it’s favor. Atheists and other nonbelievers can turn to their government god for assistance.

  7. JSusan says:

    Thank you for the update, Cardinal Dolan. That is good news. This important topic should not be forgotten so I am glad that you can share the information via this blog. Those of us who are praying daily for religious liberties can feel encouraged by this victory.

  8. Awesome news, Cardinal! :)

  9. K M Meyers says:

    Yes, Cardinal, I did hear about Judge Cogan’s decision, and was very encouraged. I too noticed a lack of coverage by TV stations and newspapers, but I believe I did hear and read about it on Fox News, in addition to my other Catholic news groups. I don’t think you will ever read anything positive about the Catholic church from the NYT, so I wouldn’t even bother to check that newspaper. I have been following this issue very closely, and I am concerned that this does not bother more people than it does, including many Catholics. You have my continued support and prayers.

    Kathleen Meyers
    Archdiocese Galveston-Houston
    Mary Queen Parish

  10. Paige Matthews says:

    Bravo! Cardinal Dolan

  11. Joy Valle says:

    Keep up the good work. I wish you all the success in the world in doing what you can to defeat this government takeover of healthcare in this country. A major decision in favor of the Catholic Church may help to give all of us a better chance at overturning this unconstitu-tional law.

  12. Lewis Bernard says:

    Thank you Archbishop for standing firm against the Obama Administration.

  13. Joan Desmond says:

    The New York Times may have ignored Judge Cogan’s decision, but here’s a story in the National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/new-york-archdiocese-wins-preliminary-victory-in-hhs-mandate-challenge

  14. Laura Lambert says:

    Your Eminence,
    I just wanted to say thank you for allowing God to use you in this fight for religious freedom. Together, you and Jesus, bring hope to the hopeless.
    With gratitude and many prayers,
    Laura Lambert

  15. Ellen P. says:

    It is unfortunate that most of the secular news media refuses to print anything that does not conform to their personal desires.

    For the Obama Administration to tell people that they must violate their long held religious beliefs (“Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition”), is purely social engineering and evil.

    We must get all literate persons to study the CCC as directed by Pope Benedict in Porta Fidei (paragraphs #11).
    Accurately knowing the truth of our Faith, there will be more solidarity and unity, and less dissention within the Church of the Faithful.

    We must do everything we can to stop public SCANDAL by those who call themselves “Catholic”.
    Scandal, heresy and schism must be rooted out, or Souls will be lost. 1 Cor 5:11-13.

  16. Gail says:

    Good news…and so sad that it hasn’t been made known by our media. Here’s hoping it is only the 1st in a long series of right-minded court decisions!

  17. Lambert Simnel says:

    Has anyone considered the possibility that President Obama knows very well that the healthcare plan is financially unsustainable, and has forced the confrontation with the Catholic Church on this issue to have someone to blame when — as must be the case when the economy finally implodes under the pressure of Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy — it falls flat on its face?

  18. Janet O'Connor says:

    Trust me, the Administration will NOT be true to their word because as too many of us out there know his and cronies word means NOTHING. It is naive at this late date 4 years later to think we can and should keep giving them the benefit of the doubt. However maybe the Courts will do the right thing and keep the Mandate off the Books because it is not legal and it goes against the US Constitution as well as violating our rights as Christians Catholic and Protestant alike. Let us all hope and pray this is the case.

  19. Fritz Geisler says:

    Way to go, Excellency! Keep up the good fight. We are praying daily.

  20. Michael Langlois says:

    I pray everyday that the HHS mandate and all of Obamacare will be repealed or neutralized. Besides that I write letters to the editor of my local paper, contact my legislators, post statements on facebook, send emails to friends and relatives, speak to whoever will listen in favor of the Church’s position. If more people took up the cause maybe we would reach a “critical mass” and get results. Will you help?

    It is scandalous that as churchgoing Catholics we may willingly help pay for the challenge lawsuit but as taxpayers we are forced to also pay for the administration’s defense. This is a disgrace and should be a source of shame for all Catholic Christian Americans.

  21. Edward Mendez says:

    Amazing, Cardinal Dolan nailed when his excellency mentioned that the media always amplifies coverage when the Catholic Church goes through a negative situation, and does the exact opposite when the scenario is reversed.

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan, for your blog, otherwise I would have never known this has happened; I’ve also forwarded this to several people!

  22. Laura says:

    Thank you for the update! I certainly was one who missed this good news. I hope there will be a resolution to this issue, but am grateful to the archdiocese for doing what it has to do to protect us.

  23. Robert Carney says:

    Great news, your Eminence! I am praying for your fight from Massachusetts. I pray that the Obama administration will come to see the light on this terrible threat to religious freedom.