Some commentators recently have advanced a novel perspective that because Roman Catholic healthcare institutions live in the secular world, they are not “churches” worthy of the constitutional protection of religion. They argue that all religious institutions serving in secular space should be treated as different from a house of worship or religious grammar school. (See editorial: "Shaky outlook")
Based on Catholic theology and my understanding of legal precedent gained from work I have done with the Chicago law firm of Unagretti & Harris, I would posit that this proposal runs counter to decades of legal precedent and centuries of Church teaching.
We know that the First Amendment prohibits the “establishment” of a religion. But it goes further. In addition to providing freedom “from” an established religion, the Constitution also provides, under what is commonly known as the “free exercise clause,” “space” (that is, freedom) “for” religion. Our founders created this space for religion because they recognized that it benefited the well-being of the nation.