Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By US Catholic Bishops

4/16/2012 (2 years ago)

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.nccbuscc.org/)

The bishops called for 'A Fortnight for Freedom'

The U.S. bishops have issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to work to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. They outlined their position in "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty." In this call to action the Bishops urge a strong lay involvement, outline threats to First Freedom at all levels of government and abroad - and call upon dioceses to pursue a religious liberty fortnight, June 21-July 4, 2012.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Highlights

By US Catholic Bishops

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.nccbuscc.org/)

4/16/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: First Freedom, First Amendment, Bill of Rights, Constitution, U.S. Bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, HHS, Health and Human Services, Catholic Charities, Migration and Refugee Services, Religious Liberty Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Lib


WASHINGTON, DC (USCCB) - The U.S. bishops have issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to work to protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. They outlined their position in "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty." The document was developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), approved for publication by the USCCB Administrative Committee March 13, and published in English and Spanish April 12. The document can be found here.

"We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today," the bishops said in the document, ". for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad." The document lists concerns that prompt the bishops to act now.Among concerns are: - The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing all employers, including religious organizations, to provide and pay for coverage of employees' contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs even when they have moral objections to them. Another concern is HHS's defining which religious institutions are "religious enough" to merit protection of their religious liberty. - Driving Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia and Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities adoption or foster care services out of business by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both-because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit. - Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Despite years of excellent performance by the USCCB's Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require USCCB to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching. Religious institutions should not be disqualified from a government contract based on religious belief, and they do not lose their religious identity or liberty upon entering such contracts. Recently, a federal court judge in Massachusetts turned religious liberty on its head when he declared that such a disqualification is required by the First Amendment-that the government violates religious liberty by allowing Catholic organizations to participate in contracts in a manner consistent with their beliefs on contraception and abortion. The statement lists other examples such as laws punishing charity to undocumented immigrants; a proposal to restructure Catholic parish corporations to limit the bishop's role; and a state university's excluding a religious student group because it limits leadership positions to those who share the group's religion. Other topics include the history and deep resonance of Catholic and American visions of religious freedom, the recent tactic of reducing freedom of religion to freedom of worship, the distinction between conscientious objection to a just law, and civil disobedience of an unjust law, the primacy of religious freedom among civil liberties, the need for active vigilance in protecting that freedom, and concern for religious liberty among interfaith and ecumenical groups and across partisan lines. The bishops decry limiting religious freedom to the sanctuary. "Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home. It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans," they said. "Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?" "This is not a Catholic issue. This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon, or Muslim issue. It is an American issue," they said. The bishops highlighted religious freedom abroad. "Our obligation at home is to defend religious liberty robustly, but we cannot overlook the much graver plight that religious believers, most of them Christian, face around the world," they said. "The age of martyrdom has not passed. Assassinations, bombings of churches, torching of orphanages-these are only the most violent attacks Christians have suffered because of their faith in Jesus Christ. More systematic denials of basic human rights are found in the laws of several countries, and also in acts of persecution by adherents of other faiths." The document ends with a call to action. "What we ask is nothing more than that our God-given right to religious liberty be respected. We ask nothing less than that the Constitution and laws of the United States, which recognize that right, be respected." They specifically addressed several groups: the laity, those in public office, heads of Catholic charitable agencies, priests, experts in communication, and urged each to employ the gifts and talents of its members for religious liberty. The bishops called for "A Fortnight for Freedom," the two-week period from June 21 to July 4-beginning with the feasts of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher and ending with Independence Day-to focus "all the energies the Catholic community can muster" for religious liberty. They also asked that, later in the year, the feast of Christ the King be "a day specifically employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here and abroad." Members of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty include Archbishop-designate William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman; and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington;Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, of Philadelphia; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta; Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis; Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, of Mobile, Alabama: Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle; Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. Consultants include Archbishop Josť H. Gomez of Los Angeles, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton. California; Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.



Comments


More U.S.

Bill Clinton Panders to Homosexual Activist Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. We Will Resist Them Watch

Image of Pictured: Bill Clinton

This is the same President who, one year after he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, told the Homosexual and lesbian magazine The Advocate - I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or considered. So, what has changed? Certainly not the truth about marriage. It cannot and will not change. Rather, this politician has changed. And, his wife wants to be President of the United States.

By Keith A. Fournier

All people of good will who recognize the vital role that marriage and the family play in serving the common good must get ready for what lies ahead. All people of good will who respect free speech, free association and the free exercise of religion must not be ... continue reading


Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween - and Transform the Culture Watch

Image of Noah dressed up as the Incredible Hulk

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The International Association of Exorcists sponsored a gathering in Vatican City on the last weekend of October in 2014. The organization was formally approved by the Holy See in June. The global Press was enamored with the notion that the Church even recognizes ... continue reading


Three men sentenced for participation in Internet child pornography ring Watch

Image of The 13 defendants, who range in age from 23 to 66, are from Indiana, New Jersey, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Oregon, Missouri, Montana, Kentucky, Arizona and Massachusetts.

By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The United States this week sentenced to prison three men involved in an international child pornography ring that exchanged online pictures and videos of children engaged in sexual acts, the government said on Wednesday. WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


How could he let it happen? 92% of Afghan war Marine KIA under Obama Watch

Image of During the entire, 12 years war in Afghanistan, 92% of U.S. Marine casualties took place under the six years of President Obama's term.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Earlier this week the U.S. Marine Corps withdrew its forces from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province in Afghanistan, effectively ending their 13 year involvement in the Afghan war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "U.S. Marines and service members from the ... continue reading


VIDEO: Antares rocket launch fails with fire and smoke Watch

Image of The Antares rocket was set to launch on October 27, but was postponed a day because a ship was in its expected trajectory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A private contracted, unmanned NASA rocket exploded just after launch along coastal Virginia early on the evening of October 28 . LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, products of Orbital Sciences Corp., were set to ... continue reading


Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian Leaders Stand in Solidarity to Defend Marriage Watch

Image of Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman was not an idea manufactured by the Christian Church. It precedes Christianity. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by Christian teaching, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Moral Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Marriage Solidarity Statement was drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Alliance, and Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action. It was vetted among other Christian pastors and leaders ... continue reading


A 'Living legend': Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, last of the Crow war chiefs, turns 101 Watch

Image of Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, a living legend at 101, and a renown historian and scholar of the Crow people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, the last Crow war chief, turned 101 on October 27, and spent the day at the Bighorn Battlefield, with his son. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I was fortunate when I was growing up," he said. "The Crow Indians were still retaining the ... continue reading


Former TV reporter says computer was bugged by Obama administration Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former President Richard M. Nixon was notorious for the surveillance he used on who he perceived as being enemies - but it appears that current U.S. president, Barack Obama could have taught "Tricky Dick" a thing or two. According to former CBS reporter Sharyl ... continue reading


School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 14:1-6
1 Now it happened that on a Sabbath day he had gone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 31st, 2014 Image

St. Wolfgang
October 31: Wolfgang (d. 994) + Bishop and reformer. Born in Swabia, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter