Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Our Heroes: Catholic Nuns File Lawsuit Challanging HHS Mandate.


Little Sisters of the Poor, the order of Roman Catholic nuns that provides homes for the elderly, including one in San Pedro, is at the center of a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenging the Obamacare requirement that they provide cost-free contraceptives to employees as part of their insurance benefits package.

The challenge is the first class-action lawsuit filed in the ongoing religious liberties battle waged against the HHS Mandate — a Health and Human Services Department provision included in the administration’s Affordable Care Act.

“The Little Sisters are driven by their religious faith to do what they do in terms of taking care of the elderly poor,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The government should not be telling them they have to violate that faith to keep serving the poor.

“We’re asking for relief not only for the Little Sisters but also for other Catholic organizations that get their health benefits through the Christian Brothers Trust.”

Houses of worship are exempt from the rule requiring employers to provide contraceptives, including an abortifacient known as the “morning-after” pill, for employees, and the administration says it has been trying to balance the objections of religious employers while making sure women can get no-cost contraception.

The Little Sisters could face steep fines if they are not in compliance with the law by January 2014, Rienzi said.

“By God’s grace, we’re hoping for a successful conclusion,” said Victor Salsido, director of human resources at the Little Sisters of the Poor home in San Pedro.

The Little Sisters case is one of 72 now pending under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law designed to protect those bound by religious conscience against burdensome laws deemed to violate the free exercise of religion. Included in the Little Sisters lawsuit are the Christian Brothers Services and Christian Brothers Employee Benefits representing hundreds of similar nonprofit Catholic ministries.

The Roman Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as the taking of human life and also is opposed to the use of artificial contraception. Protestant Christians vary in their views, but conservatives and evangelicals also tend to hold strong anti-abortion stands that would include objections to the “morning-after” pill and contraceptives such as the intrauterine device thought by some to cause early abortions.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on behalf of Little Sisters of Denver and Baltimore and Christian Brothers of New Mexico names Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas E. Perez, secretary of the Department of Labor; Jacob J. Lew, secretary of the Department of the Treasury; and their respective departments as defendants.

The employers, the complaint states, “are forbidden by their religion from participating in the federal government’s regulatory scheme to promote, encourage, and subsidize the use of sterilization, contraceptives, and drugs that cause abortions. The government defendants, however, have imposed regulatory requirements that require the class plaintiffs to provide health benefits for their employees that include coverage for, or access to, contraception, sterilization, abortifacients and related education and counseling ...

“The result is that the class members have been offered a stark choice: They must either abandon their Catholic beliefs and participate in the ... mandate or they will be punished by the government with an array of fines and penalties unless and until they comply.”
The most prominent lawsuit filed against the HHS Mandate is the one brought by the craft store chain Hobby Lobby Inc. that recently won a preliminary challenge in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The chain is owned by a Christian family that argued its religious liberty was violated in requiring it to provide full health care, including free contraception, to employees.

The Little Sisters case involves a nonprofit religious organization, but the organization — which employs non-Catholics — also was considered not to be exempt even under accommodations made in the provision as it was finalized last summer, Rienzi said.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., is handling about 10 of the 72 pending lawsuits challenging the mandate in its final form, including the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters cases.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, criticized the final mandate rule for including a definition of exempt religious employers that was too narrow and excluding religious ministries from the government’s “accommodation” definition.

The San Pedro home provides three levels of care for about 90 residents at 2100 S. Western Ave. Housed since 1979 where the former Fermin Lasuen Catholic High School once stood, the facility was founded in 1901 and operated in its first decades in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Sister Loraine Marie, superior for one of the three U.S. provinces where Little Sisters homes operate, said in a news release that the requirement to provide drugs that could cause early abortions violated the ministry’s religious freedom.

“Like all of the Little Sisters, I have vowed to God and the Roman Catholic Church that I will treat all life as valuable, and I have dedicated my life to that work,” she said. “We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs.”

P.S. From a concerned Oregonian.

Folks - time and opportunity are running out to get rid of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).  Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stood on the Senate floor for over 21 hours talking about all the problems with this act and the loss of freedom we all face.  We must rise up and make our voices heard.  I called both of my senator's offices this morning and I would ask you to do so as well.  It is getting late for today but first thing in the morning would be great.
For Oregonians:
Merkely's # is 202-224-3753
Wyden's # is 202-224-5244
Message is: Defund Obamacare (and get rid of it), Vote NO on cloture (vote should happen Fri./Sat.)  All you need is a sentence or two - keep it short!
Also go to and sign the petition - over 1.7 million of us have done so.
PLEASE do this, time is short our freedom diminished.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Feast Day "St. Padre Pio"

“Have courage and do not fear the assaults of the Devil. Remember this forever; it is a healthy sign if the devil shouts and roars around your conscience, since this shows that he is not inside your will.”
“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”  
“The longer the trial to which God subjects you, the greater the goodness in comforting you during the time of the trial and in the exaltation after the combat.”  
“Do you not see the Madonna always beside the tabernacle?”  
“Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blessed Herman the Cripple, 40 Days for Life and Rest in Peace Jessica Grady Carden

Blessed Herman the Cripple, monk 1013 - 1054  is living proof why we value each life instead of the seeing it as a burden on our "environment".  Roman Catholics are benefiting from this man, almost one thousand years later. 

Each time we say the Hail Mary we need to know that Blessed Herman was the author of the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen)!

This year we start 40 Days for Life one day after his feast day, September 26th and ends on November 4th, two days from the elections.  We believe each life has immeasurable value and we pray for leaders who see that value.  Click on your area of Oregon for a 40 Days for Life near you.  Portand  Salem  Beaverton  Eugene  McMinnville  Klamath Falls  St.Vincent dePaul - Portland.

If VOCAL left anyone out, please advise and it will be corrected.
Blessed Herman was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida to a farm family. His parents cared for him until the age of seven, but in 1020 they gave him over to the abbey of Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany; he spent the rest of his life there. He became a Benedictine monk at age twenty. A genius, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He built musical instruments, and astronomical equipment. In later life he became blind, and had to give up his academic writing. The most famous religious poet of his day, he is the author of Salve Regina and Alma Redemptoris Mater. (thanks, Blessed Herman information to inspire Pro-lifers)
Herman The Cripple
William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.
I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.
Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.
Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.
From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.
Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.
Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.
I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.
I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.
Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!
I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.
I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.
Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

by Blessed Herman the Cripple

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
V. Pray for us O holy Mother of God,
R. that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Thank you Lord for Blessed Herman and showing how Christ blesses each life.
Lord, please bless the soul of Jessica (Grady) Carden
She was the mother of seven little boys and a dear husband and passed away just a few days ago.
 God Bless Her Dear Family.

Bishop Vasa Explains The Pope's Article: Catholics diverge on pope's message

  Catholics diverge on pope's message 
September 20, 2013, 8:09 PM

Santa Rosa Catholic Bishop Robert Vasa said Friday that Pope Francis has challenged him and other church leaders to become more “pastoral” in their work, but is not asking them to abandon the Church’s moral teachings about the sins of homosexuality, abortion and birth control.

Vasa’s comments came one day after the pope rocked the Catholic world with published statements that the church “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” While the church’s opposition to these things is clear, a more pastoral approach to ministry is needed, the pope said.

Many observers interpreted the the comments as a softening of the church’s stand on the touchstone moral issues. The bishop took a different view.

Vasa, who adheres to a strict, or traditional, interpretation of church doctrine, said the pope was merely saying that “when we deal with those with whom we morally disagree that we do that in a spirit of conciliation and compassion and receptiveness.”

He acknowledged the pope’s emphasis presents him with a personal challenge. As a bishop, Vasa said he is “geared more toward a canonical mindset and I recognize the need for administrative leadership in church. I also recognize that pastoral leadership, while wonderful, requires someone stepping in and taking up the administrative role.”

Some North Coast Catholics heralded the pope’s statements, made during a lengthy interview with an Italian Jesuit journal, as a call for a new tone and direction for the church, a message they say is lacking in the local diocese.

“It’s not the same tone we have in our diocese, and likely probably other dioceses as well,” said Lori Edgar, a member of St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Santa Rosa and a Cardinal Newman High School parent.

Edgar, whose family was part of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Petaluma when she was young, said she hopes the pope’s words will help create more “openness” in the Santa Rosa Diocese. Edgar said she particularly took to heart the pope’s statements that the church should not be “so judgmental.”

Asked if he would welcome to St. Eugene’s Cathedral a Catholic woman who had an abortion or is contemplating having one, or a gay person or someone who is practicing birth control, Vasa said he would if they were open to changing their ways.

“Like the pope says, I don’t necessarily judge them, but they have to somehow judge themselves and recognize that they are living and acting in a way which is not consistent with what the church teaches,” he said.

“And they have an obligation at least to take up the current literature and really study the issue and not simply as a knee-jerk reaction give in to the pressure of the culture.”

Edgar said she believes the pope “is setting a new tone for the Church, something for all of us to think about ... It’s a home for all.”

“Our current Santa Rosa Diocese is going through some struggles with this,” she said, noting Vasa’s controversial move this year to require local Catholic school teachers to sign a morality clause as part of their employment contracts.

In an effort to quell rising unrest among teachers, parents and some students, the bishop decided not to require teachers to sign the morality “addendum” to their contracts. It would have required educators employed by the diocese to affirm that contraception, gay marriage and euthanasia are “modern errors” and “matters that gravely offend human dignity.”

The Santa Rosa Diocese, which extends north to the Oregon border, is home to 165,000 Catholics. Catholicism is the largest religious denomination in the nation.

A 2008 Pew Research survey indicated that a third of the people raised as Catholics said they had left the church. These “lapsed Catholics,” if they were considered members of a church, would be the third-largest denomination in the country, behind Catholic church-goers and Baptists.

Contraception is an especially sensitive issue with American Catholics. Despite the church doctrine, 82 percent of U.S. Catholics believe birth control is morally acceptable, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

Mel Amato, a member of the parish pastoral council and finance council at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Healdsburg, said the Pope is trying to “maintain a balance” in the teachings of the church.

“He’s not talked about compromising or modifying the basic teachings of the church in response to populism or popular pressures,” he said.

Amato, a Catholic “traditionalist” who says the doctrine of the Catholic Church is not subject to a democratic vote, said many Catholic teachings receive little or no attention from the media. Usually, the media focuses only on the church’s position on issues such as abortion, contraceptives and gays, he said.

“He’s saying all the teachings are important, not just the ones that get all the press time,” he said.
During an interview at the Santa Rosa Diocese chancery, Vasa talked at length about the pope’s extensive interview.

Asked if he agreed with the pope’s view that some in the Catholic Church are “obsessed” with dogmatic and moral teachings, Vasa said he has not witnessed that obsession.
“I certainly do know that there are individuals, and I certainly would probably be among them, who firmly believe that these are core cultural issues about which we must be vocal,” he said. “But I’m not obsessed about them. A vast majority of the things that I write do not include abortion as a topic or contraception or divorce and remarriage.”

“Is there a need for teaching about those things? Absolutely. Are there some folks who overstep the boundary and say, ‘OK we’re preaching about this every single Sunday?’ Well, there may be. But there’s a vast majority of people who never talk about it.”

Vasa said that if “everyone talked about it a little, there would be fewer who feel the need to talk about it more,” adding that abortion is a social justice issue.

“What the Holy Father is calling us to do is to promote the Gospel message, not starting from, ‘Oh, you’re bad and going to hell,” Vasa said. “But rather from a positive presentation of God’s goodness, of God’s love, of God’s mercy and God’s call to everyone of us to live a life more in conformity with what God wants us to do.”