Pope Francis to Notre Dame: Defend Religious Freedom

In the wake of Notre Dame's announcement that it would comply with the HHS mandate, the pontiff calls for "unambiguous testimony" to "Catholic identity."

Thursday, January 30, 2014 6:57 PM Comments (2)

We read a lot about how Pope FRancis wants to back off from hot-buttom topics like abortionand religouis freedom. But you wouldn't guess that from the pope's remarks during a Jan.30 meeting with the University of Notre Dame's president and members of the board of trustees.

The meeting took place about a month after the university drew unwelcome headlines when it announced it would comply with the HHS contracepiton mandate, after a court denied its petition to secure an 11th hour reprieve. Guess the news reached the Vatican, because the pope used the occasion to offer  pointed remarks about the need for Catholic universities to defend religious freedom and to embrace, rather than...READ MORE

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Not Part of the Script—Pope Francis' Critique of Abortion Ignored, Spun by Media

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:01 PM Comments (29)

[UPDATE: Here's an interesting analysis of the media's treatment of Pope Francis' remark regarding persons with same-sex attraction: "Who am I to judge?"

The mainstream media has devoted much time to advancing a specific narrative of Pope Francis. He thinks Catholic leaders are "obsessed" with hot button issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. He believes that capitalism has failed to help the poor. The pope did indeed say such things, but he is not the only pope to do so, and he has said much more besides, which allows us to place his remarks in context. 

Nevertheless, the media drumbeat continues.

Last week, when I began to research a brewing controversy in Seattle, provoked...READ MORE

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HHS Contraception Mandate: Notre Dame "Pulls the Trigger"?

Notre Dame has notified faculty and employees that they will be contacted by a third-party administrator, following the university's failure to obtain a preliminary injunction.

Thursday, January 02, 2014 4:59 PM Comments (124)

Today, Notre Dame reportedly alerted faculty and employees that a third party administrator would be in touch to outline provisions of the HHS contraception mandate. Apparently, co-pay free contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacient drugs and devices will now be available in the employee health plan for "Our Lady's University."  Here's an update on Bench Memos from Gerard Bradley, a professor of law at Notre Dame:

Two days ago I reported here that the Seventh Circuit denied Notre Dame’s motion for a stay of enforcement, pending appeal of the District judge’s decision to force the university to comply with the “contraception” mandate starting with the new health plan year. That...READ MORE

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ZERO HOUR: Bishops Ask Obama for "Temporary" Break from HHS Mandate, Fearing Massive Fines

One day before the deadline for compliance with the mandate, Archbishop Kurtz, the USCCB president asks for a break, noting recent exemptions and rule changes to Obamacare, and the huge penalties Catholic employers will be forced to pay.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 3:55 PM Comments (12)

For the past couple of months, news headlines have noted various 11th-hour rule changes for Obamacare, but one group has yet to win a reprieve: religious employers who have consistently opposed the contraception mandate for almost two years, filing legal challenges and drawing political attacks from partisan groups that dismissed their claims as a "war on women."

Today, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, just released his Dec.31 letter to President Obama that requests "temporary" relief from compliance with the contraception mandate while legal challenges make their way through the courts  Some time after Jan. 2014,...READ MORE

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Sanity Amid Duck Dynasty Hysteria: Read This Post

"The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigroty Than Phil's," argues Brandon Ambrosino in Time.

Friday, December 20, 2013 7:40 PM Comments (32)

"The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigroty Than Phil's," argues Brandon Ambrosino, identified in this Time.com post  as a Baltimiore-area dancer with same-sex attraction.

You don't have to share the writer's support for same-sex marriage and related sexual rights to respect his call to engage in reasoned discourse rather than personal attacks.

Ambrosino quotes G.K. Chesterton, among others, and asks why homosexual activists can't "engage" rather than "silence" their opponants on "marriage equality."

G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck...READ MORE

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U.S. Bishops: ACLU Lawsuit's "Claim is Baseless"

Lawsuit reportedly ignores Ethical and Religious Directives that specifically address medical complications for pregnant women and "informed consent."

Saturday, December 07, 2013 4:22 PM Comments (12)

[UPDATE: The New York Times posted an editorial today that echoes the ACLU's claims, and asserts that the bishops actually "direct" medical care at Catholic hospitals. The editorial suggests that the rise of hospital mergers that unite secular and Catholic institutions has made it more difficult for women to obtain competent care. No data are supplied to buttress this assertion, or the allegation that Catholic hospitals are unsafe for women. Read here.]

Earlier this week,  a slew of headlines  marked an ACLU lawsuit, charging that the U.S. bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which guide moral decision making at Catholic hospitals, were...READ MORE

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Divorce & Re-Marriage for Catholics: Kennedy Annulment Battle Offers Cautionary Tale

Pope Francis has fueled hopes that norms barring reception of the Eucharist might be relaxed, but there are two sides to every annulment petition.

Monday, December 02, 2013 9:13 PM Comments (27)

Pope Francis has signaled that he wants to help more Catholics who have divorced and re-married return to the sacraments.

Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, published an article that reportedly sought to defuse speculation on this matter, but during an interview at the U.S. Bishops' 2013 meeting in Baltimore, Cardinal Seán O'Malley of Boston confirmed that Pope Francis

wants us to find ways to help people in second marriages to return to the sacraments and be reconciled and to see if the annulment process can be more user-friendly.

But, as they say, there are two sides to every story.

Some Catholic -- and non-Cathiolic --...READ MORE

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Single Issue Politics: The HHS Contraception Mandate, the Filibuster and the Catholic Church

Cardinal Dolan on Meet the Press addresses the HHS mandate and efforts to brand the U.S. bishops as "anti-gay."

Saturday, November 30, 2013 1:34 PM Comments (14)

These days, media commentators have suggested that Pope Francis is criticizing the U.S. bishops for being "obsessed" with abortion and other hot-button issues. But there's another story on display right now that exposes the obsession of abortions-rights activists. In this story,the same 'single-issue politics' that reframed the religious freedom battle over the HHS contraception mandate as a "war on women," has led Democrats to limit the GOP's use of the filibuster to block the appointment of liberal judges. 

So what does the filibuster have to do with the HHS mandate?

Everything, according to the New York Times. Reportedly, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and like-minded Senate...READ MORE

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About Joan Frawley Desmond

Joan Frawley Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.