US Bishops Call for Summer “Fortnight for Freedom”
Posted by Matt Yonke (April 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm)
With the release of a new document entitled, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has upped the ante in the fight to protect religious freedom.
The document, issued in the throes of Obamacare’s examination by the US Supreme court, opens with a history of the Catholic Church and religion in general in American history. Our nation’s history of great respect for freedom of religion makes the current crisis all the more poignant.
The bishops then go on to outline several of the major threats facing religious freedom today: the HHS Mandate and Obamacare’s lack of conscience protections, governments threatening to regulate and dictate Church structures and governments, discrimination against Christian students and small churches, and the shuttering of Catholic adoption and foster care services in several states just to name a few.
All the Energies the Catholic Community Can Muster
What should Christians’ response to this unprecedented assault on religious freedom be?
The bishops, quoting Cardinal Mahoney, said we need to oppose these threats with “all the energies the Catholic community can muster”, meaning we must use every resource at our disposal to inform the public and fight all threats to religious freedom.
Rallies, prayers, vigils, public events and education campaigns, media exposure, letters to the editor—this is no time to hold back! If you can spread the word, do it!
A Fortnight for Freedom
In light of all this, the bishops are calling for a “Fortnight for Freedom”, two weeks of solid opposition to all of these unconstitutional threats on religious freedom—and all the threats to religious freedom around the world.
The bishops ask that, from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, Catholics dedicate to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country.
Here’s an excerpt that shows the sort of thing the bishops have in mind for this two-week period:
Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.
So please join in the effort the bishops have called the church to engage in. Let’s let the world know that we value our faith, our heritage and our freedom. Here is a prayer from the end of the document that we can all join in as we continue in the fight:
Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good.
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties;
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,
and in the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.