Our Sunday Visitor announced this minutes ago:
At 11 a.m. Eastern time today, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations — including Our Sunday Visitor and the University of Notre Dame — filed religious liberty lawsuits against the federal government in a dozen different jurisdictions around the country.
At issue are regulations that require Catholic organizations, employers and insurers to provide or facilitate abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception — in violation of their consciences.
Equally troubling is the extreme narrowness of the government’s new test for determining which religious organizations are exempt from this mandate — which would appear to exclude Catholic schools, health care facilities, charities and others like Our Sunday Visitor.
Their strong editorial:
It seems to us hardly a coincidence that this suit is taking place in our centennial year. Founded 100 years ago by then-Father John Noll, Our Sunday Visitor from its beginning sought to inform Catholics about the issues of the day, form them in the Faith, and defend that Faith from attack. It was Father John Noll who stood up to those who attacked Catholic immigrants as un-American and seditious. It was Father John Noll who faced down false preachers who spread slanders about the Church. It was Father John Noll who resisted the power of the Ku Klux Klan when it was such a powerful political force. And it is in his courageous spirit that we invoke as we engage in this great struggle today.
We know that many Americans — and even many Catholics — are confused about this debate. Politicians and elements of the news media have sought to make it a war against women or contraception, and they have portrayed the Church as seeking to impose its values on others or as being covertly political.
We also acknowledge that many Catholics do not understand the reasons for the Church’s moral opposition to contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. This lack of understanding points to a significant catechetical need that the Church should address internally.
We reiterate, however, that this is not about the legality of such practices in society, nor is it about how many Catholics understand the Church’s position. It is about the Church’s right to practice what it preaches.
You can find a pdf of the filing, and more, here
CNS report here
UPDATE: Over at the USCCB, Cardinal Dolan applauds
Bad Catholic: has fun with it
YIM Catholic has comments on the lawsuit from the President of Univ. of Notre Dame
Wow: Ed Morrissy has a very fast and very good roundup of reactions and related stories! Well done, Ed! He notes we didn’t go looking for this battle, and:
The institutions filing lawsuits don’t just comprise a few ultraconservative institutions, either. The University of Notre Dame hosted a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009, but today insists that Obama and his administration are attacking religious freedom in their complaint
At dotcommonweal Grant Gallicho doesn’t understand why some schools and diocese who have been (or, will be — it’s promised!) “accommodated” and are thus “exempt” are participating in this lawsuit. Me, I think its because they understand that, “exempt” or not, “accommodated” or not, the government is fundamentally overstepping its bounds with this mandate which, as noted in the filing, contains no limiting principle to the government’s interference with religious freedom if the mandate stands.
That matters. A whole lot.
A breakdown of who is filing what, and where
Kathryn Lopez is particularly delighted with Notre Dame’s inclusion in action.