By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Religious Liberty

English: statue of liberty from staten island ...
English: statue of liberty from staten island ferry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dear Friends in Christ:

A lawsuit was filed in federal court today, Monday, May 21, by the Michigan Catholic Conference in an attempt to prevent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing what has come to be known as the health care mandate.  After efforts to work with the Administration, and then the Congress, failed to adequately address the constitutional and religious freedom deficiencies in the mandate, the Board of Directors of the Conference voted unanimously to pursue this matter through the courts.  

The mandate requires faith-based employers, such as the Michigan Catholic Conference, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and artificial contraceptives, and, as such, uniquely positions our state Conference to argue its case.  The Conference currently provides medical benefits to more than 1,100 Catholic institutions and approximately 10,000 employees.

The issue here is not about contraception.  The issue is about religious freedom; it is an affront to our constitutional guarantees. The church does not desire to impose its values on society.  Rather, it’s the government seeking to impose its views upon the church.  That is where the conflict lies.  

The Conference is one of 43 institutions across the country to have filed suit today against the mandate.  Additional details and commentary are posted on websites of the Detroit Archdiocese and the Michigan Catholic Conference.   Among the questions you or parishioners might have about this effort is the cost.   A national law firm, Jones Day, had pre-existing relationships with many of the plaintiffs.  As discussions with those plaintiffs progressed, it became clear that there were many more entities interested in filing lawsuits as well. Given the importance of this issue, and the fact that all of the plaintiffs were non-profit organizations, Jones Day agreed to handle this matter on a pro bono basis. For that we are most grateful.  

If and when there are major developments in the case, I will keep you updated.  In the meantime, please keep those who are working on our behalf in your prayers. 

Defending our religious liberties has never been more challenging.  The stakes are high.  Let me conclude with a reminder of two events coming next month: the Stand Up for Religious Liberty Rally at noon on Friday, June 8, in front of the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit (I am among the many speakers), and the Fortnight for Freedom, a 14-day period of prayer, education, and action in support of religious freedom beginning June 21.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jewish Woman Wins European League Soccer Cup

Atletico Madrid B who play in Segunda Division...
Atletico Madrid B who play in Segunda Division B of the Spanish League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain Français : C...
Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain Français : Cathédrale de l'Almudena de Madrid, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently, the Madrid soccer club "Atlético Madrid" won the European League soccer championship over another team from Spain (it was an all-Spanish final, although the championship covers all of Europe). 

First stop after the victory for the trophy? The Madrid cathedral dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena. The team presented the cup to "la Virgen":

The celebrations resulting from Atlético Madrid winning their third European trophy in two years started mid-afternoon in central Madrid with the offering of the cup as tribute to the Virgin of La Almudena, patron of Madrid. This was the first stop on a tour of many, including the city hall and the regional council building, before ending the festivities at the statue of Neptune [a famous Madrid landmark and plaza].
Fountain of Neptune at the Plaza de Cánovas de...
Fountain of Neptune at the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo (square) in Madrid (Spain). Español: Fuente de Neptuno en la Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo de Madrid (España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The club’s president, Enrique Cerezo, declared “We’re here to offer thanks and offer the cup as a tribute to the Virgin of La Almudena, and ask that she continue to bless this great Atlético Madrid family, to whom they’ll always be grateful.

Following the ceremony, the first team players approached the altar. First, both team captains, Luis Amarento Perea and Antonio López went up with the cup. The rest of the squad and management team followed, led by Diego Pablo Simeone.

Who says chivalry is dead? The heart of Europe still throws off Christian sparks, now and then. ¡Viva España!

N.B. There is another great Madrid soccer club known as "Real Madrid" (the "Royal Madrid" club), which recently beat archrival Barcelona, another world-class team. By the way, the team that lost the European League championship was from Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Academic Website: Intro to Latin

Here it is: .  

The course uses the Natural Method of the late Prof. Hans Orberg (1920-2010).

I strongly recommend his textbook as listed on the syllabus included in the website.

By Eufrosine (Fotografía original) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons