In a separate ruling filed on Nov. 27, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Diocese of Nashville, along with Catholic Charities of Tennessee and several Catholic schools and assisted living homes throughout the diocese.
U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell similarly ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing and the lawsuit was not "ripe for judicial review."
Campbell also cited the "safe harbor" period and promised adjustments from the Obama administration in his opinion. He said that any harm caused by the mandate was "merely conjectural and speculative" at this point.
Right now, the regulation "is not sufficiently direct, immediate, and traceable to the Defendants to warrant judicial intervention," he said.
As various lawsuits progress in the courts, the U.S. Catholic bishops and other religious leaders continue to speak out on the importance of religious freedom.
In an online video six months ago, Bishop Zubik reflected on the severity of the matter, noting that under the mandate, Church organizations "are required to let the government determine which of our beliefs we can follow."
"We help people because we are Catholic, not because they are Catholic," he said, explaining that religious schools, hospitals and charities "cannot accept that the state has the right to force us to choose between our sacred beliefs or shutting our doors."
"Religious freedom means that each of us has the right to pursue truth, embrace it and to shape our lives by it without government coercion," Bishop Zubik said. "This lawsuit is meant to protect that freedom, already guaranteed to us by the constitution, not just for Catholics, but for every American."