Catholic Benefits Association presses Trump to end contraceptive mandate

Catholic Benefits Association presses Trump to end contraceptive mandate

President Donald Trump talks to reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Credit: Evan Vucci/AP.)
August 30, 2017
The Catholic Benefits Association, based in Castle Rock, Colorado, and representing more than 1,000 Catholic health care providers, has been the largest single plaintiff challenging the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. The association first sued the government in March 2014. CBA members are facing $6 billion in accumulated penalties should the issue fail to be resolved.

“This is a problem that’s easily remedied,” Douglas C. Wilson, CBA’s chief executive officer, told Catholic News Service. “It was created by Obama’s regulatory administration and it can be undone by the Trump administration just as easily.”
In an August 18 letter, Wilson asked the Trump administration, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to stop defending the mandate in court and agree to a permanent injunction protecting the plaintiffs in all cases. The letter also urged the White House to adopt, unchanged, a proposed HHS regulation, submitted in May, to exempt employers with conscientious objections from having to comply with such mandates.
The mandate requires employers to provide coverage for contraception and abortifacients, opposed by Catholic moral teaching, under penalty of fines.
Wilson said he has not yet received anything other than a pro forma White House acknowledgement of the letter.
Asked about it during an August 24 news conference, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded, “I’m not sure if (Trump is) aware of the complaints or any specific places where that’s being ignored.”
On May 4, Trump, in a Rose Garden ceremony, announced an executive order, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.”
“Your long ordeal will soon be over,” he announced to religious groups that included the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose Supreme Court victory in 2016 was widely considered the beginning of the end of the contraception mandate. “We are ending the attacks on your religious freedom.”

RELATED: Post-Bannon, do Catholics have sway in the Trump White House?

The CBA, based in Castle Rock, Colorado, and representing more than 1,000 Catholic health care providers, has been the largest single plaintiff challenging the mandate. The association first sued HHS in March 2014. CBA members “are facing $6 billion in accumulated penalties should this fail to be resolved,” Wilson said.
In July, the CBA filed a motion with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver asking for affirmation of its 2014 injunction blocking implementation of the mandate. But on July 31, Justice Department lawyers opposed the motion and asked that the appeal be kept alive.
“They cited only some unspecified efforts to reach a regulatory resolution outside of the judicial process, but we have no guarantee that such a resolution will be either timely or sufficient,” Wilson’s letter argued.

(HHS Secretary Tom Price) “believes that the Little Sisters, eighty Catholic bishops, and hundreds of other religious employers should win their lawsuits. The president likewise has promised the religious employers victory. But for whatever reason, the Justice Department keeps defending Obama’s contraception mandate in court,” Eric Kniffin, a CBA lawyer said.
Wilson added, “It seems that this issue never crosses the finish line”.

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Taken from: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2017/08/30/catholic-benefits-association-presses-trump-end-contraceptive-mandate/

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Pope Francis at Angelus: all have role in building Church

27/08/2017 14:13

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
Gospel episodeAhead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father reflected on the day’s reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, in which the Lord asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus said to Peter in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Pope: Christ build Church on firm foundations

Pope Francis said the Lord continues to build His Church in our present day. “Even with us today,” he said, “Christ desires to build His Church, this house solid foundations, which nevertheless does not want for cracks, and which always needs to be reformed, repaired, as in the time of St. Francis of Assisi.”

No “stone” is useless

Pope Francis likened people who have received the Gospel, and those for whom the Gospel in intended, to the little stones that often cause us the most trouble when we feel them underfoot, or that appear ill-suited to use in the edification of grand structures, saying that no one is without some part to play, some role to fill as building material.
“No stone is useless,” he said.

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“Rather,” the Pope went on to say, “in the hands of Jesus [the littlest stone] becomes precious, because he picks it up, looks at it with tenderness, works it with his Spirit and puts it in the right place, where He had ever a mind to put it, and where it can be most useful to the whole building.”

Pope Francis: I’m saddened by ‘perfect’ Catholics who despise others

Image result for adulterous woman

VATICAN CITY (CNS)—God did not choose perfect people to form his church, but rather sinners who have experienced his love and forgiveness, Pope Francis said.

The Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman shows how his actions went against the general mentality of his time, a way of thinking that saw a “clear separation” between the pure and impure, the pope said Aug. 9 during his weekly general audience.

“There were some scribes, those who believed they were perfect,” the pope said. “And I think about so many Catholics who think they are perfect and scorn others. This is sad.”

Continuing his series of audience talks about Christian hope, the pope reflected on Jesus’ “scandalous gesture” of forgiving the sinful woman.

The woman, he said, was one of many poor women who were were visited secretly even by those who denounced them as sinful.

Although Jesus’ love toward the sick and the marginalized “baffles his contemporaries,” it reveals God’s heart as the place where suffering men and women can find love, compassion and healing, Pope Francis said.

“How many people continue today in a wayward life because they find no one willing to look at them in a different way, with the eyes—or better yet—with the heart of God, meaning with hope,” he said. But “Jesus sees the possibility of a resurrection even in those who have made so many wrong choices.”

Oftentimes, the pope continued, Christians become accustomed to having their sins forgiven and receiving God’s unconditional love while forgetting the heavy price Jesus paid by dying on the cross.

By forgiving sinners, Jesus doesn’t seek to free them from a guilty conscience, but rather offers “people who have made mistakes the hope of a new life, a life marked by love,” the pope said.

The church is a people formed “of sinners who have experienced the mercy and forgiveness of God,” Pope Francis said. Christians are “all poor sinners” who need God’s mercy, “which strengthens us and gives us hope.”

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Taken from: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/08/09/pope-francis-im-saddened-perfect-catholics-who-despise-others

Pope reflects on Transfiguration, summer vacation at Angelus

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis focused his Angelus reflection on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, which is celebrated each year on 6 August. “The event of the Transfiguration of the Lord,” he said, “offers us a message of hope: it invites us to encounter Jesus, to be at the service of our brothers.”

The disciples’ journey to Mount Tabor, he continued, helps us “to reflect on the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly things, in order to complete our journey to the heights and to contemplate Jesus.” This involves conforming ourselves to Christ’s attitude of “attentive listening and prayer,” which allows us to welcome the Word of God into our lives. Summer time, the Pope said, can be a providential moment to grow in our commitment to seek after and encounter the Lord. “In this period, students are free from their scholastic commitments, and many families take their vacations; it is important that in the period of rest and of detachment from daily occupations, the strength of the body and of the spirit can be restored, deepening the spiritual journey.”

These spiritual heights, though, are not an end in themselves. Following the experience of the Transfiguration, the disciples came down from the mountain with “eyes and hearts transfigured by the experience of the Lord.” Pope Francis said that we too can “come down from the mountain, recharged by the power of the divine Spirit, to decide on new steps of authentic conversion, and to constantly bear witness to charity as the law of daily life.” This transfiguration will allow us to be “signs of the life-giving love of God” for all, especially those who suffer.

In the Transfiguration, the Pope said, we hear the voice of the Father saying, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!” Pope Francis encouraged us to look to Mary, “the Virgin of Listening,” and pray that she might help us “to enter into symphony with the Word of God, that Christ might become the light and the guide of our lives.” He concluded his reflection by entrusting everyone’s vacations to God, and by praying for all those who are unable to take vacations, that summer may be for them, too, a time of relaxation, “gladdened by the presence of friends and joyful moments.”

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Taken from: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/08/06/pope_reflects_on_transfiguration,_summer_vacation_at_angelus/1329231