The lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Inc. and the Catholic Cemeteries Association of Pittsburgh against the Department of Health and Human Services mandate that threatens religious freedom was “dismissed without prejudice” by U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry on November 27. Bishop David Zubik issued the following statement:
While I am disappointed in the ruling that our lawsuit cannot proceed at this time based on the very narrow argument that we allegedly have no real damages yet from the Health and Human Services mandate, I am very encouraged that it was “dismissed without prejudice.” That means that we have every right to file again in the future.
We will now await in good faith the accommodation to religious freedom that the federal government has claimed it will offer. However, we must all be aware that no modification to the original HHS mandate in regard to religious freedom has yet been made.
Other courts have reached differing conclusions in the challenges to the HHS mandate, so this remains fluid. I do want to make clear, however, that we cannot and will not negotiate away our constitutional rights to religious freedom and religious expression.