By Terence P. Jeffrey
George Washinton at Valley Forge (Wikimedia Commons photo)
The Catholic bishops of the United States have called for the nation’s Catholics to observe the two week period starting today (June 21, 2012) and running through the Fourth of July as a “Fortnight of Freedom” in which they hope Americans will pray for the preservation of freedom in this country and speak out clearly against the unprecedented attacks on religious liberty that have issued from the federal government.
Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? Some things are more important than high gas prices or a faltering economy. They are life, marriage and freedom. This November, Catholics must stand up and protect their sacred rights and duties. Produced by: http://www.creative-lab.com:
~ VERY Powerful…1,696,722 views since Mar 10, 2012
The bishops have issued a new “Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty” that they hope Catholics will use frequently in the coming days. The prayer asks God to keep America “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” for “the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us.”
It describes the current time as a “decisive hour in the history of our nation.”
On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.
July 4 Mass in Washington, DC (nationally televised)
A Mass will be offered on July 4 at 12:10 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington and homilist Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Mass will be televised nationwide on the EWTN cable network. Check your local listings.
Archbishop José H. Gomez will celebrate the 10 am Mass on Sunday, June 24 at the Cathedral of Our Lady the Angels in observance of the Fortnight for Freedom. All are invited to attend this Mass, which is part of our archdiocese’s effort along with the Catholic Church across the U.S. to promote and protect religious freedom in our country.
* The most imminent threat to religious liberty—but not the only one—that the Catholic bishops have been protesting and seeking to draw public attention to is a regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued under President Barack Obama’s health care law. The regulation will require virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover, without any fees or co-pay, sterilizations, artificial contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
* This month, the Catholic bishops are distributing an insert in church bulletins around the country pointing to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the Civil Rights Movement, and his defense of civil disobedience, noting that King, a Baptist minister, used the arguments of the Catholic Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas to justify peaceful resistance to unjust laws. In the bulletin insert, the bishops made clear that civil disobedience may be necessary when freedom of conscience is attacked.
* In a longer statement on religious liberty published in April, the Catholic bishops plainly restated the Catholic teaching: “An unjust law cannot be obeyed.”
* At their biannual meeting in Atlanta last week, the U.S. Catholic bishops unanimously endorsed a statement titled, “United For Religious Freedom.” This statement pointed out that it is not just Catholic institutions or employers whose religious freedom is attacked by the administration’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate, but also individual Americans, who in their consciences, object to these things.
Calling the mandate a “violation of personal civil rights,” the Catholic bishops of America unanimously said:
“The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values. They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing ‘services’ contrary to those values—whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves—without even the semblance of an exemption. This, too, is unprecedented in federal law, which has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. We have consistently supported these rights, particularly in the area of protecting the dignity of all human life, and we continue to do so.”
The Fortnight will culminate with Catholic churches nationwide simultaneously ringing their bells at 12:00 noon Eastern Time on July 4.
The full Prayer for the Protection of Liberty is as follows:
O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome—for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us—this great land will always be “one nation, under God,indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Do you realize that if ALL 77.7 million of the US Catholic population of voting age voted against Obama in November, it would be a faithful landslide! ~ JP