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5th Fortnight for Freedom begins

June 23, 2016

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has begun its fifth annual observance of the Fortnight for Freedom to raise awareness of threats to religious liberty. This year’s theme is “witnesses to freedom.”

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore opened the fortnight at a June 21 Mass celebrated in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After reflecting on the lives of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More and the witness of Christians who suffer persecution in the Middle East, Archbishop Lori turned to threats of religious freedom in the United States.

“There is, of course, the HHS mandate which seeks to force religious employers to provide in their employee health insurance plans so-called services contrary to deeply held teachings of the Catholic Church,” he said. “All one has to do is sign a paper, we are told, and all will be well, a so-called accommodation that makes religious health care plans the vehicle for the delivery of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives. This night we recognize gratefully the courage of all who are resisting the mandate, especially the Little Sisters of the Poor.”

Archbishop Lori continued:

As we thank the Little Sisters let us also not forget the plight of medical professionals whose rights of conscience are increasingly violated; or individuals whose businesses suffer because they uphold traditional marriage; or the exclusion of Catholic adoption services because they too uphold the Church’s teaching on marriage; or an increasing tendency to label Christian doctrine as “hate speech” – something that in fact happens in our neighbor to the north, in Canada. Let us indeed “read the signs of the times” as we witness what Pope Francis calls a “polite persecution” going on all around us.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 23, 2016 9:34 PM ET USA

    Perhaps not such a "polite persecution." Try reciting in a public forum the sins of unnatural vice. A health care director and a fire chief were both fired within the last year in Georgia for doing so.