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2nd Fortnight for Freedom begins

Catholic World News - June 24, 2013

On June 21, the US bishops began their second annual Fortnight for Freedom to raise awareness about threats to religious liberty. Archbishop William Lori, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, officially opened the fortnight during a Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. “The efforts of the government to divide the Church into a worship wing and a service wing do not spring from a theoretical interest in how churches are organized,” he preached. “It is part of a broader movement to limit religious freedom to freedom of worship - to accord a fuller degree of religious liberty to houses of worship but a lesser degree of religious freedom to charities, hospitals, and universities. If left unchecked, this tendency will continue to diminish the influence of religion in helping to shape the character of our country, not only by our words but above all by the way we conduct our ministries of service.” “In the case of the now infamous Health and Human Services mandate, only parishes and institutions mainly dedicated to sharing the faith are fully exempt from having to include in their employee health care plans medications and procedures that are contrary to the Church’s teaching,” the prelate continued. “Catholic charities, hospitals, and universities are not exempt but accommodated, but we believe that the so-called accommodation is inadequate and will end up implicating our service institutions in providing coverage for medications and procedures contrary to the Faith: like abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and reproductive counseling at odds with the Church’s teaching that extends even to underage family members of Church employees.” “Faith and worship inspire and sustain the service the Church offers, yet the government is insinuating a contrary Gospel in the Church’s daily life,” he added.

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  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 25, 2013 7:50 AM ET USA

    The American bishops often speak of the institutional Church rather than the Church comprised of the people of God. This bias also finds expression in the political activity of the bishops which by-passes voices and the many talents of the laity. The message conveyed by Bishop Lori intentionally or unintentionally, is that the Church is comprised of institutions rather than the people of God. That is contrary to Scripture and nothing could be farther from the truth.

  • Posted by: dagbat - Jun. 24, 2013 11:00 PM ET USA

    If the Church truly wants to raise overall awareness of the danger to the Church and to religious freedom posed by the current administration, then the Church must be more specific and action oriented. The Church should name the responsible government leaders, describe what they are doing and why it is a danger to religious freedom, and for those leaders who are Catholic, clearly state what the consequences will be to them if they continue to openly persist in defiance of the Church. That they will no longer be considered Catholics in good standing and will be cut off from all of the sacraments including receiving Holy Communion.

  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 24, 2013 7:40 PM ET USA

    Perhaps it's a little ironic that the second year of religious awareness kicks off from Baltimore. Given the current president's distain for Catholic schools, perhaps it would do well to remember that the Plenary Councils of Baltimore arrived at the decision that all Catholic children should receive a Catholic education.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Jun. 24, 2013 3:47 PM ET USA

    I attended this. While archbishop Lori defended the church, charities, hospitals, and universities from the HHS mandate, there was no mention of the Catholic business owner who has no such accommodation. I guess the bishops are leaving the business owners outside the umbrella of protection of the church. And this is solidarity ????

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