Statement as issued Monday by Our Sunday Visitor:
HUNTINGTON, Ind., May 21, 2012 - Our Sunday Visitor has joined with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic organizations in filing federal lawsuits to block an unprecedented infringement on religious liberty.
The lawsuits are in response to regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force all Catholic organizations and employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception to their employees free of charge, despite the fact that they are against Catholic teaching.
The regulations also narrowly define what constitutes a religious employer, a formula that apparently would exclude the vast majority of Catholic organizations and apostolates, including universities, hospitals, charitable organizations, and publishing companies like Our Sunday Visitor.
"Our lawsuit raises two questions," said Gregory Erlandson, president of the Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division: "Whether the government can use such criteria to define the religiousness of an organization, and whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to provide and facilitate services which violate their religious beliefs."
Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., is a not-for-profit enterprise that is self-insured. It does not fund abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization or contraception. "We are concerned that these regulations, if not overturned, would force Our Sunday Visitor to provide such coverage even when the Catholic Church has consistently taught that they are wrong and a violation of Church teaching," said Erlandson.
Our Sunday Visitor is joined in the lawsuit by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the University of Saint Francis, Catholic Charities, Saint Anne Home and Retirement Community and Franciscan Alliance. The University of Notre Dame has filed a separate lawsuit in South Bend, Ind. The lawsuit in defense of religious liberty was filed in federal court on May 21st, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. ET, in Fort Wayne, Ind. All totaled, 43 plaintiffs filed suit in 12 jurisdictions the same day.
The defendants named were the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Labor, and their respective secretaries.
Our Sunday Visitor is one of the largest Catholic publishing houses in the country. It consists of the Publishing Division, the Offertory Solutions Division, and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute, which funds charitable works and other Catholic apostolates and programs around the country and in virtually every diocese.
Our Sunday Visitor was founded in 1912 by Father John Noll with the mission to serve the Catholic Church and defend the Faith.
For more information on the religious liberty issue and Our Sunday Visitor, please go to www.osv.com/religiousliberty