Bishop Roger Foys will celebrate Mass and bless and distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday, 10 a.m., at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. Ash Wednesday, this year on Feb. 14, begins 40 days of preparation, both of body and spirit, as Christians walk with Jesus on his journey to Calvary and share in the joy of his Resurrection on Easter. Easter, this year, will be celebrated on April 1.
By David Cooley
In recent years, there have been a multitude of religious liberty legal cases reaching the Supreme Court, including the Hobby Lobby case, Little Sisters of the Poor case, and the Masterpiece Cake case, among others. As the list grows, some have come to believe that the “first freedom” is under attack, while others believe that these cases represent a search for “fairness to all.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued, Oct. 6, 2017, a memorandum that was addressed to all executive departments and agencies, putting forth both concise principles concerning religious freedom and, more specifically, providing guidance for how they would be applied in federal policy regulations and, above all, the law.
While this decision did not please all sides, it made it clear that this is an important time in the history for religious freedom, following a period of uncertainty and growing number of legal challenges since the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.
In the midst of this historic setting, Thomas More College, through its Institute for Religious Liberty (IRL), hosted a program called “Religious Liberty at a Crossroads: Legal Perspectives,” featuring three of the country’s legal experts in the role of religion and society and recent religious liberty cases. Dean Kathleen Jagger, TMC vice president for academic affairs, moderated the event.
The keynote speaker was Kevin Walsh of the University of Richmond School of Law, a graduate from Harvard Law School who served on the legal team representing the Little Sisters of the Poor. In that case the sisters were challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring them to provide health insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions.
Responding to Mr. Walsh’s address was Frederick Gedicks, who holds the Guy Anderson Endowed Chair of Law at the Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University. In contrast to Mr. Walsh, Mr. Gedicks focused on the justifications for limits on religious exemptions.
The third speaker and second respondent was Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in Constitutional Studies for the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Mr. Shapiro, who has filed over 200 “friend of the court” briefs in the Supreme Court, many of them on religious liberty cases, focused on the ever-changing view of the government’s role in civil society.
In his keynote address, Mr. Walsh provided the context for litigation that has occurred in the last 25 years since RFRA was enacted. He provided a quick overview of five Supreme Court cases in chronological order — the Hobby Lobby case, Holt v. Hobbs, Zubik v. Burwell (Little Sisters of the Poor case), the Trinity Lutheran Church case and the Masterpiece Cake Shop case — and explained that, in order to comply with RFRA, the federal government has an obligation to decide whether a law is going to be a substantial burden on the exercise of anyone’s religion. If it is they must figure out if there is another way they can accomplish their goal, without burdening someone else’s exercise of religion. In the case of Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor the government’s goal (the “compelling interest” of the HHS mandate) was to provide contraception to women through healthcare.
“When you think about how to think about religious liberty, follow the force — who is trying to use the coercive power of government to do what to whom? And as you are asking that question, look for the problem solvers; look for the people who are trying to figure out a way to get things done without having lawsuits,” he said.
Mr. Walsh said that while the claimants for religious liberty have won the big cases in recent years, they have lost, in general, by being involved in litigation at all.
“We ended up in litigation because something else has been lost,” he said.
According to Mr. Walsh, since RFRA there has been an erosion of the consensus across party lines on the value of religious liberty. The topic has become political and polarizing in a way that it wasn’t years ago.
In conclusion, Mr. Walsh told the audience to pray for vocations. The most important aspect of religious liberty is the people who exercise their religion, he said.
“You have to exercise it or else it goes away and you won’t have the government or anyone else to blame.”
Mr. Gedicks focused on what is commonly referred to as the problem of third-party burdens.
“The third party are those who are affected negatively by religious exemptions when they don’t share or practice that faith,” he said.
“The question is whether to relieve believers of obligations under general laws when those laws provide protections and benefits to those of other faiths or no faith at all. That’s a dimension of religious liberty, too, to be able to live out your life without being burdened by the religious commitments of others,” said Mr. Gedicks.
“Is it the case that religious liberty means people are entitled to an exemption that is going to burden other people? Is it really the case that people are entitled to exercise your religion at the expense of others who don’t share your beliefs about contraception or anything else?” These are the questions that Mr. Gedicks posed.
Finally, Mr. Shapiro, who described himself as “agnostic,” said that the idea of religious freedom cannot be separated from the concept of freedom as a whole. He said that the religious liberty cases being examined are “a microcosm of the constant tension between civil society and the overweening regulatory state.”
“While we can argue about whether it’s a good idea to require people to buy certain goods or services, whether they be contraceptives or otherwise, I think it is pretty clear that Obamacare does indeed force employers to do so. An exemption from that mandate is hardly coercive, and such an exemption would harm third parties only if we have a conception that those third parties have a right to force others to pay for goods or services that they want,” Mr. Shapiro said.
Mr. Shapiro argued that civil society in the United States is being smothered by an ever-growing administrative state that, in the name of fairness and equality, takes away rights in order to standardize American life from cradle to grave.
“These cases that have been discussed are just the latest example of the difficulties inherent in turning healthcare and, more broadly, our economy over to the government. It represents a larger, more destructive trend that has been enabled by the Supreme Court’s ratification of expansive federal power — reading the general welfare clause, for example, as a grant rather than a restriction of authority,” he said.
“The growing enforcement of centralized ideological conformity is the real innovation in the use of government power. The issue, then, is government forcing more mandates into what used to be private decision making. And this is a shifting boundary between the private and the public sphere. … The most basic principle of a free society, after all, is that government can’t force people to do things that violate their consciences.”
All the speakers agreed that pluralistic democracy in the United States is fragile and that faithful citizens must be vigilant in preserving it. They also generally agreed on the nature of the problems that stem from living in a pluralistic and free society, but they disagreed on the solutions.
David Armstrong, president of Thomas More College, in his welcoming address, said that programs like this are important because they provide an opportunity for quality dialogue, which is crucial for any civil society.
Following the presentations a question and answer session took place, in which the audience was given an opportunity to participate in the discussion.
The Business Manager at St. Joseph (www.stjosephcoldspring.com) is responsible for the management of the day to day business and financial operations of the parish and school. The candidate must be a person of faith, committed to the mission of the Church and to responsible management of resources. This position assures that the vision and programs of the parish are attainable through good stewardship of parish resources. Diocesan policies and procedures also guide the work of the business manager. Bachelor degree or equivalent in Accounting or Business Management is preferred. Required prior experience includes budgeting, analyzing financial statements, supervision of administrative and maintenance staff members. Candidates must possess excellent interpersonal skills and able to be trusted with a high level of confidentiality. Working knowledge of Microsoft Office and data systems is required. Position reports directly to the pastor. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. Qualified candidates should e-mail resume with cover letter to Fr. Gerry Reinersman, pastor, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sts. Francis and John Catholic Church and St. John School in Georgetown, Ky. is seeking a talented Catholic with strong piano and organ skills and knowledge of Catholic liturgy. This is a full time position, with benefits, serving both the parish and the school. We are a vibrant, growing Catholic community with thriving English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities. Candidates should have strong skills on piano and organ, enjoy working with children and adults, and be willing to lead and develop our existing choirs and musicians, including our children’s and Hispanic choirs. Position also includes teaching music classes in the parish school for Pre-K through 8th grade. Fluency in Spanish is not required. We are located in Central Kentucky, just a 20-minute drive from Lexington. We welcome all interested candidates to send resume and references to Katharine Coleman (KColeman@cdlex.org), Ss. Francis and John Catholic Parish, 604 E. Main Street, Georgetown, KY 40324-1745.
Nazareth Retreat Center seeks a full-time Director responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the ministry. Qualified applicants will have a Master’s degree in Theology (preferred) or Bachelor degree in related field (required), understand non-profit administration, experience with retreat center (preferred). Submit cover letter and resume to: Michelle Grgurich, SCN, Director, Office of Congregational Ministries, PO Box 247, Nazareth, KY 40048, or send your information via email to email@example.com. Nazareth Retreat Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. For Job Description, visit the Nazareth Retreat Center website at www.nazarethretreatcenterky.org.
Dear friends in Christ Jesus,
Are you ready to participate in a life changing adventure?
Please, join our bishop, the most Reverend Roger J. Foys, and some of our priests from the Diocese of Covington for World Youth Day in Panama.
Make the choice of a lifetime to spend a week and half away seeking to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ more deeply and intimately by joining our Holy Father, Pope Francis and our Bishop at World Youth Day 2019, in Panama.
You will not be alone. Thousands of bishops, priests, religious and the lay faithful from all over the globe will come together in Panama to sing, pray, worship and learn about their universal Catholic faith.
Typically side trips are arranged by the travel agency, and are included in the cost of the trip. Those details are not yet available for Panama.
The Department of Catechesis and Faith Formation has created an excellent and cost-effective program with our Pilgrimage partner, Faith Journeys.
We will have a flyer listing the itinerary for the trip. There will also be a brochure with more information about the trip, including what is and is not included in the cost, a payment schedule, terms and conditions of Faith Journeys (the travel agency we are using) and travel insurance. There will be a registration form to complete and return to the Department of Catechesis and Formation. Those who attend World Youth Day must be at least 16 years old at the time of the event.
I pray that you seriously consider attending World Youth Day with our bishop and other pilgrims from the diocese of Covington.
You can count on my prayers for you.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you in everything you do in His name,
Isaak Abraham Isaak
Department of Catechesis and Formation
St. Catherine of Siena parish in Ft. Thomas, Ky. (http://www.stcatherineofsienaftthomas.com/) seeks a dynamic principal for our elementary school of 170 children. We are committed first to helping our parents raise their children in the practice of the faith. Our children learn the objective elements of the faith, and also are led to grow closer to Christ and to be His witnesses in the world by word and service. We are also committed to the development of the whole person: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and social. St. Catherine of Siena is a sought-after school with an experienced, talented and committed staff, and engaged and enthusiastic parents. The successful candidate will be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church and supportive of her teaching and mission. She or he will hold or be eligible for Kentucky principal certification. We prefer a candidate with experience in Catholic school administration as well as at least three successful years as a classroom teacher. Interested individuals should send at least a resume or C-V along with a cover letter and five references with contact email addresses to Stephen Koplyay, SPHR, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 859/392-1589, or mail to 1125 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY 41011-3115.
St. Henry District High School is seeking a full-time Guidance Counselor for the 2018-2019 school year. Interested candidates should send a resume to David M. Otte at email@example.com or call 859.525.0255 for more information. Please see job description below:
Grade Level Assignment: 12
• Proven experience as a high school counselor
• High School Guidance Counseling credentials
• Prepare seniors with information concerning career, college and scholarships.
• Organize, administer, and interpret standardized test scores to students, faculty, and parents.
• Efficiently maintain information and records.
• Communicate with students, parents, and peers one-on-one and in large groups.
• Keep accurate records in all facets of the guidance program.
• Be proficient in all facets of the college application process, scholarships, and financial aid programs.
• Attend professional conferences, seminars, and meetings to stay current on topics of working with students and parents.
• Conduct student and parent informational meetings on important topics.
• Develop and maintain a rapport with agencies and college representatives.
• Meet every student on your case load on a one-on-one basis and through group guidance sessions.
• Stay up to date on computer technology needed to perform daily guidance tasks.
Holy Family School is seeking a long-term substitute teacher for a 3rd/4th grade classroom. The position is part-time, Monday-Friday and will begin in mid-March and continue through the end of the school year. Interested candidates should send a resume to Principal Elizabeth Vieth at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-581-0290 for more information.
Blessed Sacrament School is seeking a technology coordinator. The hours for this position are negotiable, but would be between 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The ideal candidate is someone who has experience working with technology including; troubleshooting computer problems, working with Microsoft Office, setting up new tablets, computers, and printers, working with technology vendors and support personnel, and communicating effectively. Experience with 3D printers and Lego robotics would also be beneficial. If interested in this position, please submit a cover letter, résumé, and references to email@example.com.
1125 Madison Avenue
Covington, Kentucky 41011-3115