IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPABy Carol ZimmermannWASHINGTON
(CNS) -- Immediately after the Supreme Court sent the contraceptive case back
to the lower courts May 16, some called the decision a punt -- the football
analogy of sending the ball back to the other team -- or in this case the lower
analogy falls short on a practical level because the seven consolidated cases
in Zubik will be sent back to the lower courts with a very different look -- bearing
the stamp of being vacated by the nation's high court.
5th, 10th and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals -- which ruled in favor of the Affordable
Care Act's contraceptive mandate and did not see it as posing a substantial
burden to the petitioners' free exercise of religion -- now must give another
look at the issue equipped with the new information submitted to the Supreme
Court showing a possible compromise.
the justices' unanimous decision in Zubik v. Burwell took many by surprise,
others said they saw something like this coming when the Supreme Court essentially
showed its hand asking both sides to provide ways to implement the contraceptive mandate that would satisfy both sides.
to most press coverage, this was not a punt," said Michael McConnell, a
law professor at Stanford Law School in California, writing about the Zubik
ruling. He described the decision as "a compromise in which the Little
Sisters won the case but no precedent was set for the future. This is unorthodox,
but arguably Solomonic," he added.
Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing
the Little Sisters of the Poor in the case, similarly didn't buy the sports
analogy that grabbed headlines.
don't see it as a punt at all," she told Catholic News Service May 27. She
said the Supreme Court was not just returning the cases to the lower courts but
was "very specific in its order and outlined several points" such as forbidding
the government from levying fines on the groups that objected to the contraceptive
coverage, erasing previous court decisions and telling the courts to
essentially find a feasible resolution.
other words, when the court sent these cases back, it also sent guidelines for
a new way forward.
the court's decision was essentially telling the federal government: "You
can do this in a different way, now you have to go back and do it."
it is going to take some time for this to work through the courts and she
couldn't predict a time frame for it.
already been nearly five years that religious groups have been involved in challenging
the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate. The Department of Health and
Human Services announced an "interim final rule" in August 2011 requiring
that coverage of contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration be included in
most employees' health plans. The rule provided a narrow religious exemption to
the mandate that only applied to houses of worship and did not include most
religious universities, schools, social service agencies, outreach ministries
or health care providers.
The plaintiffs don't seem daunted by the time it is taking for a resolution. Washington Cardinal Donald W.
Wuerl said in a statement after the Supreme Court's decision that the court's
opinion offered a path forward but "this struggle will continue."
Archdiocese is one of seven plaintiffs in the consolidated Zubik case.
question for both sides is whether the courts follow the Supreme Court's
cue and find a compromise.
In a post for scotusblog.com, University of Notre Dame law professor Richard Garnett wrote that the courts could possibly "extend unwarranted deference to the government's assertions about 'compelling interests' and the least restrictive ways of accomplishing them or engage in ungenerous second-guessing of religious claimants' descriptions of the burdens imposed by government action on their religious exercise."
experts say the government could either decline to cooperate on a solution or could
change its regulations to implement the Supreme Court's opinion and adopt a
less restrictive alternative for religious employers who currently would need to have a third party to provide contraceptive coverage through their health
insurance. However, the government would still need to determine how to accommodate
religious objectors that self-insure.
the final outcome hangs in the balance, Garnett said the case itself highlights
a troubling sign about the accommodation of religion.
the extent, the right to religious freedom is regarded as a luxury good, a
license to do wrong, or as special pleading by the culture war's losers, it is
increasingly vulnerable," Garnett wrote. "This should concern us all,
because believers and nonbelievers alike benefit from a legal and cultural
commitment to religious freedom and have a stake in the legal regime that
respects and protects it."
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Zimmermann on Twitter @carolmaczim.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Lucy Nicholson, ReutersBy WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los
Angeles said in a May 25 statement that a planned increase in federal
immigration raids is "yet another depressing sign of the failed state of
American immigration policy." The raids were announced in mid-May.
Archbishop Gomez' comment was echoed by Seattle
Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee
on Migration. The archbishop is chairman-elect of the committee.
"These operations spark panic among our
parishes," Bishop Elizondo said in a May 25 statement. "No person,
migrant or otherwise, should have to fear leaving their home to attend church
or school. No person should have to fear being torn away from their family and
returned to danger."
While saying he recognized the federal government's
role in upholding immigration laws, he said the deportations would not be
"an effective deterrent" to migration because these "vulnerable
populations" are facing a humanitarian crisis in their home countries.
On May 24, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
personnel deported a mother and her 14-year-old daughter from the South Texas
Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
ICE took the action despite knowing that the family
was afraid of being killed in their home country, that their asylum claim had
never been heard, and despite knowing that attorneys had requested a stay of
removal and were in the midst of filing an appeal, according to Katie Shepherd,
managing attorney for the Cara Family Detention Pro Bono Project, which
provides legal representation and undertakes advocacy on behalf of mothers and
children held in federal family detention centers.
According to Shepherd, ICE also knew that attorneys
had requested a stay of removal for the family and were in the midst of filing
"ICE swiftly deported the mother and her child,
informing counsel only after the fact. It is outrageous that, knowing that her
appeal was in the works and that she had expressed a fear of return, ICE chose
to hustle the family out of the detention center in the dark of night and put
them on a plane before the courthouse doors opened," Shepherd said in a
May 25 statement.
"Just like in January, we are seeing mothers and
children who are confused, disoriented, and terrified for themselves and their
children," she added.
In January, Bishop Elizondo and Bishop Kevin W. Vann
of Orange, California, chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network,
wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about recent raids that had
netted 121 undocumented immigrants in a three-day span, many of them mothers
"Our organizations have firsthand knowledge that
these actions have generated fear among immigrants and have made their
communities more distrustful of law enforcement and vulnerable to
misinformation, exploitation and fraud," the two bishops told Johnson.
"To send migrant children and families back to their home countries would
put many of them in grave danger because they would face threats of violence
and for some, even death."
CLINIC is one of four partners in the Cara Project.
The others are the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration
Lawyers Association and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and
"This family is just the latest in the string of
lives destroyed by a government that refuses to administer our refugee
protection system with the care it requires. Sadly, ICE's harsh enforcement
tactics will put many more vulnerable people at risk," said the Cara
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, also
issued a statement May 25 about the new wave of deportation raids.
"Children and families should not be used as
pawns in a politics of deportation aimed more at maintaining the illusion that
we have a viable immigration policy in this country than at actually addressing
the issue," he said. "The entire system needs reform; it fails to
protect the most basic of human goods. Those fleeing violence should be
accorded due process protection."
Over the past year or more, the Brownsville Diocese,
which is in the Rio Grande River Valley, has had an increase of immigrants with
numbers as high as 200 on some days. Mostly from Central America, the
immigrants receive help at the diocesan respite center at Sacred Heart Church
in McAllen at continue north to other states.
Michelle Mendez, who represents some clients for
CLINIC and does training and legal support as well, also moderates a closed
Facebook page for women who were detained. Introduced just last October, the
group, she said, now has 750 members.
Having worked in direct services for many years prior
to joining CLINIC, Mendez said, "I learned that clients, despite lacking
sophistication in some areas, had on their phones What's App or something
that's cheaper to call internationally and Facebook, because they want to
connect with folks all over."
On the page, "we give them guidance on the
removal proceedings," Mendez said. "They have a lot of misinformation
or lack of information. They think that reporting to ICE on a monthly basis is
the same as going to court. Or that changing your address with ICE is the same
as changing your address with the court." Neither is true, she added, and
some women have been tripped up by this false belief.
- - -
Contributing to this story was Mark Pattison.
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By Junno Arocho EstevesVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To
follow the path of Christ means to serve the poor and the downtrodden while not turning Christian
virtues simply into ideas and humanitarian endeavors, Pope Francis said.
"In them, you touch and
serve the flesh of Christ and grow in union with him, while always keeping watch so that faith does
not become an ideology and charity is not reduced to philanthropy so that the
church doesn't end up becoming an NGO," the pope told members of the general chapter of
the Little Work of Divine Providence May 27.
Founded by St. Luigi Orione,
the order is comprised of two religious congregations -- the Orionine Fathers and the
Little Missionary Sisters of Charity -- who care primarily for the sick, the elderly and
people with learning disabilities.
The pope encouraged the
religious congregations to follow the example of their founder, who sought to
heal the wounds of people
in need of "bread for the body and the divine consolation of
"With Don Orione, I also
exhort you to not remain closed in your surroundings, but to go out. There is
much need of priests and religious who do not remain solely in charitable
institutions -- albeit necessary -- but who also know how to go beyond their
own boundaries in order to bring to every environment, even the most distant, the perfume of
Christ's charity," the pope said.
Pope Francis also called on
them to not lose sight of the "church's mission to bring God's mercy to
all without distinction."
Their service to the church,
he said, will be all the more effective by taking care of their personal
commitment to Christ and their own spiritual formation.
By "giving a witness to
the beauty" of consecrated life, the Little Work of Divine Providence can
offer an example of the "good life of the religious servants of Christ and
the poor," especially to younger generations, the pope said.
"Life begets life; a
holy and happy religious person can inspire new vocations," Pope Francis
- - -
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Carol GlatzVATICAN
CITY (CNS) -- The former secretary to a saint and the oldest member of the
College of Cardinals died May 26 at the age of 100.
Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who served St. John XXIII before and after he became
pope, died in Bergamo, near Milan.
Capovilla was born in Pontelongo, Italy, on Oct. 14, 1915, and ordained to the priesthood in 1940.
journalist before starting to work for the future saint, he was an energetic
and eloquent storyteller, drawing on his remarkable and vividly detailed memory.
the freshly named patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, chose
37-year-old Father Capovilla as his private secretary in 1953, a
skeptical adviser told the cardinal -- who would become Pope John XXIII -- that
the priest looked too sickly to bear the strain of his new job.
the cardinal outlived his employer by half a century and was a dedicated custodian
of his legacy, running a small museum dedicated to the saint's memory in the
late pope's native town of Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, near Milan.
friend and confidant, he was by the pope's side during a pivotal point in the
church and the world's history: for the launch of the Second Vatican Council
and the escalation of political and military tensions of the Cold War.
turned many of his stories into numerous writings, including a memoir published
in English as "The Heart and Mind of John XXIII."
papal secretary also served Pope Paul VI for a time after his election,
following St. John's death in 1963. He was made archbishop of Chieti-Vasto in
1967 and appointed prelate of Loreto in 1971, retiring in 1988.
Francis made him the world's oldest living cardinal when he elevated him to the
College of Cardinals in 2014 at the age of 98.
observers saw the honor as an indirect tribute to Pope John, whom Pope Francis canonized
just one month later.
the then-cardinal-designate told Catholic News Service at the time, in a
telephone conversation, that his elevation was a "sign of attention to all
those thousands of priests around the world who have spent their lives in
silence, in poverty, in obedience, happy to serve God and our humble people,
who need, as Pope Francis continually says, tenderness, friendship, respect and
love."In a telegram May 27 to the bishop of Bergamo, Pope Francis offered his condolences and expressed his affection for "this dear brother who, in his long and fruitful life, gave witness to the Gospel with joy and meekly served the church."He praised the late cardinal's attentive and caring service to St. John as well as for being the "dedicated custodian" of his historical memory and "valid interpreter" of his ministry. The pope said Cardinal Capovilla had always been fully dedicated to the well being of priests and the faithful, reflecting "a firm devotion to the direction of the Second Vatican Council."Cardinal Capovilla's
death leaves the College of Cardinals with 213 members, 114 of whom are under
the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave. - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Cindy WoodenROME (CNS) -- A Corpus Christi procession should honor
Christ's gift of himself in the Eucharist, but also should be a pledge to share
bread and faith with the people of the cities and towns where the processions
take place, Pope Francis said.
Just as the "breaking of the bread" became the
icon of the early Christian community, giving of oneself in order to nourish
others spiritually and physically should be a sign of Christians today, the
pope said May 26, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
On a warm spring evening, the pope's celebration began with Mass
outside Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran and was to be followed by a traditional
Corpus Christi procession from St. John Lateran to the Basilica of St. Mary
Major, one mile away. Hundreds of members of parish and diocesan confraternities
and sodalities -- dressed in blue, brown, black or white capes and robes --
joined the pope for Mass and would make the nighttime walk to St. Mary Major
for eucharistic benediction with him.
"May this action of the eucharistic procession, which
we will carry out shortly, respond to Jesus' command," he said in his
homily. The procession should be "an action to commemorate him; an action
to give food to the crowds of today; an act to break open our faith and our
lives as a sign of Christ's love for this city and for the whole world."
In every celebration of the Eucharist, the pope said, the
people place simple bread and wine into "poor hands anointed by the Holy
Spirit" and Jesus "gives us his body and his blood."
The people's gifts are an important part of the process,
just as they were when Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish,
Pope Francis said.
"Indeed," he said, "it is Jesus who blesses
and breaks the loaves and provides sufficient food to satisfy the whole crowd,
but it is the disciples who offer the five loaves and two fish."
"Jesus wanted it this way," he said. Rather than
letting the disciples send the people away to find food, Jesus wanted the
disciples to "put at his disposal what little they had."
"And there is another gesture: The pieces of bread,
broken by the holy and venerable hands of Our Lord, pass into the poor hands of
the disciples, who distribute these to the people," Pope Francis said.
The miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish, he
said, "signals what Christ wants to accomplish for
the salvation of all mankind, giving his own flesh and blood. And yet this
needs always to happen through those two small actions: offering the few loaves
and fish which we have; receiving the bread broken by the hands of Jesus and
giving it to all."
Later in the Mass, a couple with four children and a
grandmother with her three grandchildren brought the gifts of bread and wine to
the pope for consecration.
Pope Francis urged the crowd gathered on the lawn outside
the basilica to consider all the holy men and women throughout history who have
given their lives, "'broken' themselves," in order to nourish others.
"How many mothers, how many fathers, together with the
slices of bread they provide each day on the tables of their homes, have broken
their hearts to let their children grow, and grow well," he said. "How
many Christians, as responsible citizens, have broken their own lives to defend
the dignity of all, especially the poorest, the marginalized and those
The source of strength for such given, he said, is found in
"the Eucharist, in the power of the risen Lord's love, who today too breaks
bread for us and repeats: 'Do this in remembrance of me.'"- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.