God is good!
Today the Supreme Court of the United States of America sided with conscience rights and freedom of religion! Our prayers, especially the Fortnights for Freedom are producing their fruit!
The long case (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) with arts and crafts store “Hobby Lobby” is finally over with the aforementioned celebrating a victory. Five out of the nine justices have decided that the government cannot force employers et al to go against their religious beliefs by funding contraception and other things that go against faith and morals. You can read on the decision here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf
Companies can now opt-out of Obamacare’s contraception mandate which has been a thorn on the side of religious organizations and businesses run by religious employers. Under the HHS Mandate, employers had to provide contraception coverage to employees. This ruffled the feathers of the Catholic Church, other religious denominations and businesses who felt the government was overstepping its boundaries by forcing Americans to go against their conscience. Obama tried to remedy the situation by claiming non-profit organizations and religious bodies are exempt; however, this did not go far enough. Hobby Lobby owned by an Evangelical family sued and was joined by many other businesses. Mother Angelica’s EWTN also has filed suit against the Obama Administration because of this HHS Mandate.
Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. These are the “two great Apostles.” They are called this because of their importance in building up the Catholic Church.
Both Peter and Paul worked zealously to spread the Good News throughout the known world at the time even at the cost of their own lives. To them are entrusted the protection and guidance of the Catholic Church, especially the Roman Church or Latin Rite. Remember, the Catholic Church is a unity of many churches with different rites. The Roman church presides over the others because it is the See of St. Peter the first Pope.
St. Peter was the first Pope and head of the Apostles. Jesus changed his name from Simon to ‘Peter’ which means ‘rock.’ You can read more about this here: http://sacerdotvs.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-chair-of-peter.html
The Holy Apostle Peter was martyred during the reign of Emperor Nero on around AD 66 or 67. He was crucified up-side-down on Vatican hill and buried there right under the Basilica of St. Peter’s. Till this day, his remains are present there under the main altar are are testament to the words of Christ that He would build the Church on Peter the Rock and that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.
St. Paul was originally Saul. See: Acts 9. He persecuted Catholic Christians in the first years of the Church’s existence. However, he was called to conversion in a dramatic way. Jesus appeared to him asking him why was he persecuting Him? Here Jesus was making it clear that the Church is indeed His body (1 Corinthians 12:27). When the Church is attacked, Jesus is attacked. Paul took on this warning and became a Catholic Christian. Not only did he convert, but he became a “megaphone” for the faith spreading it around like if his life depended on it. He was lit on fire by the Holy Spirit and preached the Gospel without fear, in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). St. Paul was beheaded on the spot where a Basilica bearing his name rests today.
On this day a plenary indulgence can be received by any Catholic who is blessed by a sacramental or relic of these holy men, who participate in Holy Mass and follow the other requirements, and recite the Apostle’s creed in addition.
Also, the Pope has the investiture ceremony where he imposes the Pallium on new Archbishops showing their metropolitan status.
May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul pray for the Catholic Church and all Catholics. May they pray for Christian unity and ask God to give all the grace of fortitude so that we can fight on in faith without giving in to the errors of today’s world which are powerful. ∞
|Eleanor McCullen, the plaintiff on the “bufffer zone”|
Freedom of speech and assemble are rights we as Americans hold dear. However, for quite some time, these principle ideas have been challenged.
Pro-Abortion advocates who run abortion clinics have taken Pro-Life people to court claiming they are harassing their clients and staff. In reality, these Pro-Life people just stand outside, pray, offer counseling and other services with the intention of helping women make an educated choice.
This of course is threatening to those who support abortion. If they have no clients; if these Pro-Life counselors convince women not to abort, then they will lose money. It’s all about the money. In order to counter this, they have gotten activist judges to side with them in creating “buffer zones” meant to keep Pro-life advocates away – far away. These “buffer zones” pretty much pushed people onto the streets making it nearly impossible to counsel women or even protest. This of course is the intention of the zone.
The issue went all the way to the Supreme Court with the case of McCullen v. Coakley. The Court heard the case and decided UNANIMOUSLY that these “buffer zones” were unconstitutional and had to go. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The buffer zones burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.” He is correct! The space outside of any clinic, home or store is public domain. Anyone can stand on it, walk on it, protest, pray or whatever as long as he/she is not breaking quality of life laws. To force Pro-Life people to stand over 35 feet away is a violation of the First Amendment.
Once again the Supreme Court got it right, but the decision is not perfect. Nevertheless, now Americans can exercise their freedom of speech and assembly in front of abortion clinics in order to save women and children from the evil that masquerades as “healthcare” – abortion.
For the official text of the decision, visit: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-1168_6k47.pdf
|The “Buffer Zone” extends right onto the street!|