Tag Archives: John Garvey

ObamaCare vs. Little Sisters of the Poor

by John Garvey

On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, a landmark case challenging the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

In addition to the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns whose mission is to “offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ,” the objecting parties include the university I head, the Catholic University of America, the Archdiocese of Washington, and a host of other religious institutions.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, President Obama vowed that he wouldn’t let it be used for federal funding of abortions. That promise was necessary to get the law passed. Bart Stupak, a congressman at the time, and a small group of pro-life Democrats provided the necessary votes. In regulations implementing the act, HHS has chosen a different, and more offensive, way to fund abortions: It makes Catholic and other religious employers pay for them.

It is common knowledge that the Catholic Church has taught the immorality of abortion and contraceptive use for millennia. Yet the regulations in question force our institutions to pay for insurance that covers abortifacients like Ella and Plan B, plus prescription contraceptives and surgical sterilizations.

Some people defend these regulations by pointing out that they don’t make anyone get an abortion or use contraceptives. The regulations only require employers to provide insurance, leaving decisions about reproductive health up to individual employees. But we believe it is wrong to cooperate with evil acts, even if we are not the primary actor.

The government has offered to solve the problem for scrupulous employers by moving them one step further away from the wrongful act. Many employers, like Catholic University, hire an insurance company to handle their employees’ health claims. In return, we pay our insurer an annual premium, set to cover our usual claims experience. HHS proposes that instead of paying for abortions (and other objectionable services) ourselves, we can opt out, and the government will direct our insurance company to pay. The regulations add that the payments can’t come out of our premiums.

So where does the money come from? HHS suggests that insurers should front the money themselves, and it says that they will actually save money by offering free abortions and “preventive services.” According to the regulations, because the mandated services reduce childbirths, insurers can recoup their costs “from reduced pregnancy-related expenses and other health care costs.”

There isn’t much empirical evidence for this, but let us suppose it is true. In that case, the premiums that Catholic University pays once again cover the costs of abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations. Our insurance company simply moves the change around in its pockets so the objectionable services don’t get posted to our account. But we pay the insurer enough to cover the bills.

What the insurance company should do in future years, if HHS’s hypothesis is true, is lower our premiums to take account of the “reduced pregnancy-related expenses and other health care costs.” But in that case we have another moral dilemma. Then we are sharing in the financial rewards produced by giving our employees free early-term abortions and other “preventive services.”

Consider this analogy. I give my builder $100,000 to build a home. He finishes the job $10,000 below budget by employing underage workers and using black-market materials. It would be wrong for me to share in the savings from those immoral activities, even if I didn’t make the arrangements.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers like Catholic University to carry health insurance. The problem we are trying to solve arises because HHS has imposed a further obligation to cover “preventive services,” and insisted that either we or our agent (the insurance company) pay for them. A more tolerant solution would be for the federal government to fund “preventive services.” But President Obama had to promise not to do that to get the law passed. A still more tolerant solution would be to exempt religious organizations like ours from a duty to pay for services that go against the fundamental tenets of our faith.

The United States was founded on the concept of religious freedom. The First Amendment says clearly that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Little Sisters of the Poor, the university I represent, and countless other religious institutions across the country ask that the Supreme Court recognize our religious beliefs and strike down those regulations that would force us to violate them.

JOHN GARVEY is president of the Catholic University of America and a member of Legatus’ Washington, DC, Chapter. This article originally appeared in the WSJ on 03/20/16.

21st Century Evangelism

Legate Michael Warsaw leads EWTN’s bold global expansion into the 21st century . . .

cover-march14When Michael Warsaw was studying theology and liturgy at the Catholic University of America some 30 years ago, he was thinking more aBout Becoming a priest than directing the world’s largest religious media network.

But a job at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington led him into the world of Catholic communications and eventually to the Eternal Word Television Network in Irondale, Ala. Even then, however, Warsaw never imagined that he would one day succeed Mother Angelica, the network’s feisty foundress, as chairman and CEO.

Taking risks for Christ

After joining EWTN in 1991, Warsaw worked in television production, satellite operations and technical services before being named president in 2000 and CEO in 2009.

A member of Legatus’ fledgling Birmingham Chapter, Warsaw was promoted to chairman of the board last October. Today he oversees an international media empire comprising television and radio, a newspaper, and a digital operation that employs a website, social media and mobile apps.

Michael Warsaw talks to Colleen Carroll Campbell

Michael Warsaw talks to Colleen Carroll Campbell

Although television remains the network flagship, EWTN also has the distinction of maintaining the most used and trafficked Catholic website in the U.S. with an average of 3 million unique visitors a month. The network also has the largest English-language Catholic presence on Facebook with more than 350,000 followers for EWTN alone.

As someone who worked closely with Mother Angelica before she suffered a disabling stroke in 2001, Warsaw said he considers himself blessed to be able to turn her vision and ideas into practical realities. Although she didn’t give him a to-do list, Warsaw said he strives to preserve the spirit of her leadership in guiding the network.

Johnnette Benkovic, host of EWTN’s Women of Grace radio and television programs, believes he is succeeding.

“Central to every decision made at EWTN is Mother’s mission and Mother’s heart,” she said. “If Mother were active in the operation of EWTN today, I’m quite certain she would be moving the network in the very direction that Michael is taking it.”

Warsaw said he often repeats Mother Angelica’s well-known maxim,

“We need to dare to do the ridiculous so God can accomplish the miraculous.”

Johnette Benkovic

Johnette Benkovic

“That sums up Mother and the EWTN apostolate,” he explained. “It’s something I try to remind myself of every day as I look at opportunities, inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and where God is leading the apostolate at this point in history. It’s about following the spirit of our foundress and being willing to take risks and do what we believe we’re being called to do for the service of the Church.”

Although EWTN’s earlier years were sometimes marked by clashes with Church leaders — most notably one between Mother Angelica and Cardinal Roger Mahony, the now-retired archbishop of Los Angeles, over his pastoral letter on the Eucharist, Warsaw said he thinks the network’s relationship with the bishops and the Holy See is strong and positive.

“I think we enjoy today wide support among the bishops and clergy, a further sign of how EWTN has matured in its mission and the service we provide to the Church.”

The challenge for EWTN, he said, is finding a way to support the Church while maintaining independence as a media apostolate. “It’s about finding the right balance and pursuing your mission in that light.”

Global expansion

Michael Warsaw poses with Mother Angelica

Michael Warsaw poses with Mother Angelica in 2004

Although Mother Angelica’s stroke left the engaging and expressive communicator unable to speak or write, Warsaw said the 90-yearold nun still radiates joy in the midst of her suffering.

After visiting her, he said, “You can’t help but walk away from those moments and feel renewed and refreshed and at peace. It’s amazing to see what God has done with her over the years. I think in many ways Mother Angelica’s most important work for EWTN has been done over these last 12 years since the stroke, offering her prayers and sufferings for the success of the network. There’s no question that, as we look at the last decade, we see enormous growth in every respect, every part of EWTN’s apostolate around the world. I attribute that to the fruits of her suffering and her prayers for us.”

During that time, Warsaw said, EWTN’s television presence has grown to 11 channels around the world: four in the U.S. (two in English and two in Spanish), a Spanish channel that reaches every part of the Spanish-speaking world, one in Canada, three in Europe and channels for Africa/South Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Under Warsaw’s leadership, EWTN has also increased its emphasis on news. The network formed a partnership several years ago with the Peruvian Catholic news agency, ACI Prensa, to jointly create EWTN news services for the web and an editors’ service available to newspapers. Then in 2011, EWTN acquired the National Catholic Register, a move that has bolstered the overall news operation. It also has benefited the Register, where print subscriptions are up almost 50%.

Finally, EWTN recently launched a Washington-based weekly evening news program that is expected to become a nightly show, five days a week, in the first half of 2014.

“News is very important for us as an area of focus because in the context of EWTN, I think Catholic news should have a catechetical dimension,” Warsaw said. “We define ourselves as a teaching apostolate. If you report the news from a Catholic perspective, you should be conveying to people a better understanding of what the Church teaches and how a particular story is impacted by the Church’s teaching.”

Warsaw said it is imperative that EWTN provide a credible, professional news product as an alternative to secular media outlets, which are often openly hostile to or ignorant about the Church and Church teaching.


John Garvey

John Garvey

John Garvey, president of the Catholic University of America which works with EWTN on broadcasts of university events, said he couldn’t agree more with the decision to expand news coverage.

“The Church is faulted, both internally and externally, for being ineffective in getting its message out to Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” he explained. “Anything that strengthens the communications vehicles that promote Catholic teaching is a positive development. And given the financial challenges that are facing Catholic schools around the country and forcing some of them to close, having electronic and print media outlets that instruct the faithful is more important than ever.”

Legate Ann Southworth, president of Warsaw’s alma mater — Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass. — said she sees the new evening newscast as just one of the ways in which Warsaw is reaching into the culture through EWTN.

Through the network’s programming, she added, EWTN is helping improve the culture, reaching people who are confused or who have never understood Catholicism.

Although the network doesn’t do demographic ratings, Warsaw said EWTN has a good idea who it’s reaching from mail and other viewer contacts.   “What you see is that, contrary to what most people think of religious television, it’s a pretty diverse audience.” He attributes that to the availability of EWTN content on all media platforms, including social media, which draws a younger audience.

Warsaw said one of the key accomplishments of his tenure has been moving the network through the transition from a dynamic, charismatic founder to the next generation. In the process, he said, the network has grown exponentially and is stronger and healthier than it has been in its history. “That bodes well for the future,” he said.

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff„ writer.

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EWTN Facts

Founded: Aug. 15, 1981

Headquarters: Irondale, Ala.

Radio: 250 stations (English and Spanish)

Television: 11 channels

Website: 3 million visitors/month

National Catholic Register: 36,000 subscribers

NCRegister.com: 50,000 digital subscribers

Reinventing business education

Catholic University of America launches new School of Business and Economics . . .

Whenever financial scandals make the news, business schools typically respond by adding more ethics courses to the curriculum.

But a new School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America is taking a different approach to instilling ethics into future business leaders by seeking to integrate morality, virtue and service into every aspect of its teaching and research.

Rethinking ethics

Dr. Andrew Abela

Dr. Andrew Abela

“It’s more than adding courses or chapters in textbooks,” said Andrew Abela, who was named dean of the school on Jan. 18, “but making sure that when you learn finance, you learn how to do finance well. That means being both effective and ethical.”

A member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter, Abela said the challenge in creating such a program is that business disciplines traditionally have been designed to be ethically neutral. Added Catholic University President John Garvey: “It’s a popular and common way of thinking about business problems that we can separate our deliberations about business issues from our moral deliberations, that business education will give you the tools to be successful at finance, marketing, accounting, whatever, and you employ that in service to whatever your ideals happen to be.”

Nonetheless, he continued, business is inextricably intertwined with moral questions. For example, he said, the current debt crisis is tied to our duties to the aged and future generations, and the last financial crisis dealt with disclosure, honesty and self-restraint.

“To think back to old-fashioned terms,” Garvey explained, “if you list the capital sins we were taught to recite as children in our catechism  class, the majority deal with these kinds of problems: covetousness, envy, gluttony, lust for goods as well as people. The virtues we want to teach people in the marketplace are a welcome antidote for that.”

Since the university announced on Jan. 8 that it was turning its existing business and economics department into a school, Garvey  said he has been struck by how new and surprising people find the idea of incorporating ethics and morality into a business program.

John Garvey

John Garvey

“I wish that there were more examples of this kind of full integration of ethical and moral thought in business and professional schools, but it’s relatively unusual,” Garvey said.

Neil Watson, a student in the school’s Master of Science in Business Analysis program, said he was drawn to Catholic University precisely because of the way the business school integrates faith, virtues, morals and ethics into every course.

“It wasn’t going to be a one-time course where I signed a paper saying, ‘I promise to be an ethical business person.’” Instead, he said, in every class, he is learning not just finance and accounting, for example, but how to do them for the purpose of doing good.

“It’s one thing to be a good business person and another to be a good business person doing good,” he explained.

Business and economics

Watson said the new business school’s approach is especially important for his generation, which has seen business portrayed as separate from a person’s spiritual life.

“We’ve seen the results and harm that are done to society if you try to practice business that way,” he explained. “We grew up with Enron and the financial crisis with AIG because it became all about money. My generation in particular is hungering for that integration.”

Although Abela believes there is a demand for business programs like Catholic University’s, he said most students searching for a business school might not be looking specifically for a virtues-based approach. However, when they learn about it, they say that is what they want.

Catholic University’s school also differs from other business programs around the country in that it combines business and economics, two disciplines Abela said are closely related. “We realize that the project of reinventing the theory of business so that it can have morality integrated into it also needs a reinvention of economics.”

As plans to expand the former department into a school became known over the last few years, CUA’s School of Business and Economics has attracted new students and faculty members.

Undergraduate enrollment has gone from 300 three years ago to 421 — in addition to 36 graduate students. Although no enrollment target has been set, Abela said applications for the next academic year are already up significantly.

Over the last five years, the full-time faculty has doubled in size to 14, with another 50 teaching part-time. The school plans to hire three more faculty members for the next academic year.

Andreas Widmer

Andreas Widmer

Among recent additions to the faculty are Andreas Widmer, a CEO and former member of the Vatican Swiss Guard who is serving as director of entrepreneurship programs; Dr. Frederic Sautet, a noted French economist who will be a visiting professor of entrepreneurship; and Dr. Ava Cas, a development economist who is assistant professor of economics.

Besides undergraduate degrees in accounting, economics, finance, international business, international economics and finance, management, and marketing, the new school offers graduate degrees in accounting, business analysis, and integral economic development management.

The one-year business analysis program is designed mainly for liberal arts students without a business background and employs an advisory board whose members provide one-on-one mentorships  to students. The integral economic development program is for students who want to work in a nongovernmental organization and is based on the understanding that economic development cannot occur unless the core institutions of society are strong.

Legatus connections

Abela said an MBA program is a possibility for the future, but with the current glut of MBAs in the U.S., there is a declining demand. “We will eventually do one,” he said, “but when we do, it will be something distinctive.”

In its quest to instill Catholic values in the business leaders of the future, the school has also employed Legates as speakers and mentors. The advisory board of the master’s program in business analysis is made up of many Legates from the Northern Virginia and Seattle chapters. Other members have visited the school as guest speakers.

“We always welcome more,” Abela said. “Our students love meeting successful Catholic business people. We want to show them examples of good, upstanding moral leaders who are also successful.”

Asked whether ethical business people are more likely to succeed, Abela was unequivocal.

“In the long term — and most Legates know this — if you treat people with respect, you will have a more sustainable and successful business over the long term. There’s no guarantee that by being moral, you will be successful. There are all sorts of temptations, but if you are trustworthy, chances are you will be more successful.”

JUDY ROBERTS is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.