Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

It’s Religious Freedom Week. Do you know where your bishops are?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 24, 2020

We’re now in the middle of the Religious Freedom Week proclaimed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In Virginia, state officials are recruiting informers to report on churches that violate the governor’s emergency orders by not requiring masks.

In New York, the US Department of Justice has found “a troubling preference for certain First Amendment rights over others”—specifically, a willingness to relax emergency rules for liberal demonstrators, while keeping the lid tightly sealed on religious congregations.

On Twitter , Shaun King—a leader of Black Lives Matter, with over 1 million Twitter followers—has announced that all statues depicting Jesus Christ with white European features “should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy.”

Those are some of the immediate threats to religious freedom in the US right now, during Religious Freedom Week. Would you like to hear what the US bishops’ conference has said about those threats?


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jun. 26, 2020 7:05 PM ET USA

    Time for a hard reality check but "The science is not settled on whether wearing masks is helpful for the wearer or others around them. Wearing a mask gives people a false sense of security and causes them to be more careless about the actual habits that spread disease.” In other words, mask wearing aka security theatre, is, in reality, a symbol of control using fear to assure ratting out.

  • Posted by: dom6938 - Jun. 26, 2020 6:52 PM ET USA

    With concerns about people looking for violations during Mass, taking photos, etc., and reporting to authorities, it sounds like a replay of what was reported as happening in Nazi Germany. Check out The Gestapo and German Society by Gellately - citizens turned citizens in out of fear and/or spite.

  • Posted by: patsette1269 - Jun. 25, 2020 1:09 PM ET USA

    Those of us blessed to have mass available again should wear masks when attending. Social snoops are reporting violations to officials and posting photos of infractions. By defying these orders to wear masks in church - however good you think your reason is - you could be helping bring about a second prohibition for public masses – for everyone. And who would want to be responsible before God for that?

  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Jun. 24, 2020 10:48 PM ET USA

    Phil, how is Virginia putting up a web page to allow people to report violations of health requirements "recruiting informers"? It's making reporting violations easier, not recruiting informers. And churches should follow the reasonable and effective requirement of having people attending Mass wear masks. If they aren't, and the Health Dept. stops by and says hey, we really do mean it, that is no violation of "religious freedom." Gorsuch's transgender ruling, on the other hand...

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Jun. 24, 2020 4:53 PM ET USA

    That doesn't surprise me. Could be they are praying! Sorry!! Spell corrector... I meant maybe they are playing.