Archdiocese of Washington Files Supplemental Brief in Case Challenging HHS Mandate
September 16, 2014
WASHINGTON – The Archdiocese of Washington today filed a supplemental brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit addressing the revised HHS mandate regulations issued by the government last month. This brief is the latest step in the ongoing case filed by the archdiocese and its co-appellants challenging the HHS mandate.
The new regulations continue to artificially divide the Church into two separate spheres and deny a full religious exemption to those parts of the Church that extend their ministries into the charitable and educational realms. Rather than extending to religious schools, health care institutions and social service ministries the kind of time-honored religious exemption they have historically received, the regulations would only modify the “accommodation,” which continues to require the archdiocese and its affiliates to act in violation of their religious beliefs.
In addition, the Archdiocese of Washington echoes the concern of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that the proposed extension of the “accommodation” to the closely held for-profit employers that were wholly exempted by the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. would effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom.
At this time, the injunction issued by the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the ongoing case, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, et al. v. Burwell, remains in place and prohibits the government from enforcing the HHS mandate’s objectionable requirements against the archdiocese and its co-appellants pending further order from the court.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
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