Welcome News … But the Fight Continues
Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court, issued a per curiam ruling which vacates the judgments of appellate courts around the country that had upheld the HHS mandate against legal challenges brought by the Archdiocese of Washington and other religious employers. The Court’s order also returns those cases to the respective courts of appeal for further proceedings to find an approach going forward that would both protect the religious freedom of those religious employers who object to the HHS mandate and still allow the government to accomplish its purposes itself.
Although the Court’s opinion notes that it is not making any ruling on the merits of the case, it highlights “the gravity of the dispute” and insists that “the parties on remand should be afforded an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise.”
In short, the Court has recognized in these proceedings the vital importance of fundamental religious liberty and rights of conscience. Notwithstanding the Court’s welcome action today, as the case returns to the appellate court, there is still work to be done and there is still need for the Church and all people of faith to remain vigilant in defending religious freedom.
Throughout this struggle, we have sought to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church, which includes continuing our Gospel mission to serve others in education, health care, social services, and outreach to the poor and those most in need in a way that builds the common good. We will continue to do this work because we are resolute that it is precisely by being true to our Catholic identity in what we proclaim and in what we do that we can continue to help realize a truly good and just society where all enjoy the benefits of peace, prosperity and freedom.