Archbishop Lori: Be Loyal Americans by Being Bold and Courageous Catholics
We uphold religious liberty because we seek to continue serving those in need while contributing to the common good
We do not seek to defend religious liberty for partisan or political purposes, as some have suggested. No, we do this because we are lovers of a human dignity that was fashioned and imparted not by the government but by the Creator. We defend religious liberty because we are lovers of every human person, seeing in the face of every man and woman also the face of Christ, who loved us to the very end and who calls on us to love and serve our neighbor with the same love he has bestowed on us.
Archbishop William Lori at the installation
BALTIMORE,MD (Catholic Online) - The Archbishop of Baltimore, the Most Reverend William E. Lori, is the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty for good reason. He has been a heroic advocate for our first freedom, Religious freedom, for many years and in many ways.
Bishop Lori speaks on behalf of all of the Catholic Bishops of the United States when he gives testimony before Congress and when he speaks to this vital issue in the public square. We face a serious assault on America's first freedom, religious freedom. It calls for a serious and determined response from the faithful, a new catholic Action.
The United States Catholic Bishops are unanimous in their effort to have the HHS Edict which seeks to compel Catholic institutions and organizations to distribute contraceptives and abortion inducing drugs as well as offer sterilization rescinded. They have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, from June 24 - July 4, 2012, a special time of prayer, education and public witness for our most cherished right of religious freedom.
Religious faith and the values informed by faith serve and promote the common good. Religious freedom is a fundamental and basic human right which must be secured and protected by law in truly free Nations. Rightly understood and applied, religious freedom means a freedom for religious expression; not a removal of such expression from public places. Here are several excerpts from Archbishop Lori's installation homily which makes our challenge crystal clear:
"We have just heard how St. Paul preached the Gospel in the Areopagus of Athens, the ultimate public square, in the height of the Roman Empire. Paul did not hesitate to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ into that place where ideas that mattered were discussed and debated. By pointing to the altar to an unknown God Paul sought to make connections between the culture of the Athenians and the Gospel. But never did it occur to St. Paul to present the Gospel as mere ideas, as an alternative philosophy."
"Rather, in that very public square St. Paul preached Christ crucified and risen as the source of life itself, of meaning, and of salvation. His words were met with skepticism and even ridicule yet among those who heard him, some came to be believe."
"Few people in history went to more Areopagai than did Pope John Paul II as he travelled the length and breadth of the globe proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, as indeed his successor, Pope Benedict, XVI, continues to do. In so doing they are teaching me, they are teaching us all how important it is not only to bring the Gospel into the public square but indeed to defend the right to do so, not for ourselves and for all believers. Standing in this Cathedral, Blessed Pope John Paul II said:
"The challenge facing you, dear friends, is to increase people's awareness of the importance for society of religious freedom; to defend that freedom against those who would take religion out of the public domain and establish secularism as America's official faith. And it is vitally necessary, for the very survival of the American experience, to transmit to the next generation the precious legacy of religious freedom and the convictions which sustain it."
"When the bishops from this Mid-Atlantic region recently visited Pope Benedict XVI, he too spoke forcefully about the need to defend religious liberty in the United States: "With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church," he said, "has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents, which . . . seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. . ."
'He went on to say that "the legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage or be engaged by the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation."
"We do not seek to defend religious liberty for partisan or political purposes, as some have suggested. No, we do this because we are lovers of a human dignity that was fashioned and imparted not by the government but by the Creator. We defend religious liberty because we are lovers of every human person, seeing in the face of every man and woman also the face of Christ, who loved us to the very end and who calls on us to love and serve our neighbor with the same love he has bestowed on us."
"We uphold religious liberty because we seek to continue serving those in need while contributing to the common good in accord with the Church's social teaching and to do so with compassion and effectiveness through Catholic Charities, the largest private provider of human ...
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