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Little Sisters in court: Don't stop our ministry of serving the dying poor


MARY REZAC

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
12/8/2014

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ABSTRACTLittle Sisters in court: Don't stop our ministry of serving the dying poor :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Pope Francis Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Cinemazlowski Fr. Robert Barron Guest Columnist In Good Company Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Russell Shaw The Dispute of the Humanum The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Way of Beauty Viewpoint Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood CNA Blog Home » News » US Little Sisters in court: Don't stop our ministry of serving the dying poor Follow By Mary Rezac Denver, Colo., Dec 8, 2014 / 05:30 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- The Little Sisters of the Poor asked an appeals court Monday to shield them from the federal contraception mandate, saying that it threatens their 175 years of service to the poor and dying. “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to Himself,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire told members of the press. “But now the government demands we choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith. We cannot do that and we should not have to.” Mother Maguire’s comments came after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals listened to oral arguments in the Little Sisters’ lawsuit against the HHS Mandate in Denver. The oral arguments fell on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a special day for the religious community. “Little Sisters around the world renew their vows each year on the feast of the Immaculate. Please be assured of our prayers for you on this beautiful feast day,” a note on their website reads, which also asks for prayers for the success of the lawsuit. Over a year ago, the Little Sisters of the Poor, aided by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and some drugs that may cause early abortions. Amid religious freedom concerns, the Obama administration revised the initial mandate, allowing religious employers such as the Little Sisters to sign a form that would trigger a separate health benefit provider to offer the coverage instead. The Little Sisters object that they cannot in good conscience sign the form because it authorizes a third-party insurance company to provide the very products and procedures they believe to be gravely immoral. “What the government has done, and it’s a strange thing to do, is say, ‘The only way we’ll accept your objection is if on the same piece of paper saying ‘I object’, you modify the plan to give someone else the authority to give out contraceptives on the plan,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, at a press conference following the oral arguments. Should the Little Sisters of the Poor lose their case and still refuse to sign the form, they would be faced with massive fines amounting to around $2.5 million a year, or around 40 percent of the $6 million the Sisters beg for annually to run their ministry. “…the government forces us to either violate our conscience or take millions of dollars that we raise by begging for the care of the elderly poor and instead pay fines to the IRS,” Mother Maguire said. Flanked by four of her fellow sisters, Mother Maguire gave a statement at the press conference expressing the Sisters’ desires to receive an exemption in order to avoid massive fines and to continue to work with the elderly poor, as they have in the United States for 175 years. The Little Sisters of the Poor lawsuit is a class action lawsuit involving almost 500 other Catholic nonprofit organizations that receive health benefits through the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust and Christian Brothers Services. “The sisters’ view is, ‘I can’t create a situation where s.......