Update from Catholicphilly.com- “The archdiocese immediately appealed the decision on Thursday, and by Friday afternoon the Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of Buckwalter’s ruling, meaning the penalties for not complying with the regulations would not be assessed beginning July 1 as expected.”
I was deeply disappointed to learn that U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Buckwalter has denied charitable entities related to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, along with the Archdiocese itself, a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Elements of the Act would force religious employers to cooperate in providing employees with access to contraceptives, abortifacients and other services that violate Catholic beliefs.
An appeal was filed yesterday to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Our case parallels dozens of other cases nationwide in which such relief has been granted. Without it, on July 1, 2014, we will be forced to choose between violating our deeply held religious beliefs or grave financial distress that threatens our ability to continue to perform the good works and ministerial outreach to people in need throughout the Philadelphia region.
Archdiocesan charities daily assist the homeless, the elderly, immigrants, the disabled, the developmentally delayed and many other segments of our population that are vulnerable. These services are provided regardless of an individual’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. We are grateful for the privilege of ministering to those most in need. We seek only to do those works of mercy without government coercion or interference that would compromise our religious convictions. It’s a reasonable request, and for believing Catholics, a fundamentally important one. We’ll continue to press it in every way and at every level of judicial appeal available to us.