Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/14/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hostility toward the Church is growing. Too often it is found right within the halls of government.

We ask our readers to pray for the Bishops of the United States as they gather in Baltimore. Our own Associate Editor Randy Sly will be reporting from the event. We especially ask you to pray for Bishop Lori. The importance of his work in chairing this Committee on Religious Liberty is clear. His growing prominence may lend some credence to the growing rumor that he is being considered for the position of the Archbishop of Baltimore in the future. Given the proximity of the Archdiocese to the Nation's Capitol, it would make his vital work easier.

Bishop William Lori

Bishop William Lori

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/14/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop William Lori, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, religious liberty, USCCB, religious freedom, Baltimore, common good, Deacon Keith Fournier


NEW YORK,NY (Catholic Online) - In a September letter announcing the establishment of a Committee established to defend religious liberty in the United States, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the President of the USCCB, appointed Bishop William Lori as its chair. He also indicated that other members would be added. In a strongly worded letter, Archbishop Dolan pointed to numerous threats to religious liberty in the United States. He gave the following as examples which have occurred in just the last few months:

*  The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued regulations that would mandate the coverage of contraception (including abortifacients) and sterilization in all private health insurance plans. There is an exception for certain religious employers, but, to borrow from Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, President of The Catholic Health Association, it would cover only the ¨parish housekeeper". And the exception does nothing to protect insurers or individuals with religious or moral objections to the mandate.

*  HHS is also requiring that MRS (Migration and Refugee Service) provide the 'full range of reproductive services' to trafficking victims and unaccompanied minors in its cooperative agreements and government contracts,and we all know what that means. This is exactly the position urged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of MRS's contracts as, ironically, a violation of religious liberty.

*  Catholic Relief Services is also concerned that USAID, under the Department of State, is increasingly requiring comprehensive HIV prevention activities (for example, condom distribution), as well as full integration of reproductive health activities including provision of artificial contraception, within a range of international relief and development programs. Under the direction of the board, CRS is following up on these concerns.

*  The federal Department of Justice has ratcheted up its attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as an act of bigotry. As you know, in March, the Department stopped defending DOMA against constitutional challenges, and the Conference spoke out against that decision. But in July, the Department started filing briefs actively attacking DOMA's constitutionality, claiming that supporters of the law could only have been motivated by bias and prejudice. If the label of ¨bigot" sticks to us - especially in court - because of our teaching on marriage, we will have church-state conflicts for years to come as a result.

* The Justice Department has also disappointed us in the critically important "ministerial exception" case now pending before the Supreme Court. The Department could have taken the position that the "ministerial exception", though generally providing a strong protection of the right of religious groups to choose their ministers without government interference, just didn't apply in the case before the court. Instead, the Department attacked the very existence of the exception as well.

* The New York legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a law redefining marriage, with only a very narrow religious exemption. Already, county clerks face legal action for refusing to participate in same-sex unions, and gay rights advocates are publicly emphasizing how little religious freedom protection people and groups will enjoy under the new law.

Finally, Archbishop Dolan made public a strongly worded letter which he sent to President Obama concerning what he called "the continuing threats to religious liberty in the context of the effort to redefine legal marriage promoted by his Administration."  I wrote about that letter here

There is no doubt; our Bishops are properly concerned about the growing threats to religious liberty in the United States and they are taking serious and substantial action. As a constitutional lawyer I am particularly encouraged by the clear leadership of Archbsihop Dolan, as demonstrated by the issues he has zeroed in on and the clear way in which he has explained the threats to religious liberty they present.
 
Bishop William E. Lori will address the entire body of United States Catholic Bishops when they gather in Baltimore, Maryland next week, November 14 - 16, 2011. He will speak of the make up and mission of Committee and its future plans. Bishop Lori gave compelling testimony in defense of Religious Freedom, Life, Marriage and the Family before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. I wrote about his testimony here.

The members of the Committee on Religious Liberty led by Bishop Lori have now been announced. They are: Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. of Philadelphia; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta; Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama; Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

In addition to its General Counsel and lobbying staff, the committee will rely on the assistance of the following Consultants: Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus; Kevin Baine, attorney, Williams & Connolly; Father Raymond J. de Souza, a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario (Canada) and a columnist; Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science, University of Notre Dame Law School; John Garvey, President, The Catholic University of America; Mary Ann Glendon, professor, Harvard Law School; Philip Lacovara, attorney; Judge Michael McConnell, professor, Stanford University Law School; L. Martin Nussbaum, attorney, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons; and Mary Ellen Russell, executive director, Maryland Catholic Conference.

The importance of the work of defending religious liberty in the United States is obvious to anyone who sees the storm clouds of militant secularism gathering. The Catholic Church must not be impeded from her work, worship and mission. She plays an essential role as well in helping to build a culture of life and civilization of love which furthers and fosters the common good.

Yet, we live in the midst of a culture which has lost its moral compass and is reeling under the effects of what Pope Benedict XVI referred to as a "Dictatorship of Relativism". Hostility toward the Church is growing. Too often it is found right within the halls of government. 

The Catholic Catechism affirms, "The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. This right must be recognized and protected by civil authority within the limits of the common good and public order." (CCC #1738) The recognition of religious freedom as a fundamental human right is also at the heart of the American experiment.

We ask our readers to pray for the Bishops of the United States as they gather in Baltimore. Our own Associate Editor Randy Sly will be reporting from the event. We especially ask you to pray for Bishop Lori. The importance of his work in chairing this Committee on Religious Liberty is clear. His growing prominence may lend some credence to the growing rumor that he is being considered for the position of the Archbishop of Baltimore in the future. Given the proximity of the Archdiocese to the Nation's Capitol, it would make his vital work easier.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Catholic woman heartlessly fired for refusing to support Scientology Watch

Image of Catholic woman denied pay raises and pressured to watch Scientology videos before being fired (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez is a Catholic who was pressured to take part in Scientology at work. When she refused, she was passed up when raises were available and was eventually fired. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Echevarria-Hernandez filed a wrongful ... continue reading


Captain James Cook wreckage discovered! Watch

Image of Legendary British explorer Captain James Cook's vessel is believed to have been discovered (John Webber).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Captain James Cook was a famous British explorer who commanded the HMS Endeavour from 1768 to 1771. Since it was intentionally sunk, its whereabouts fell into question - until now? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, researchers from  the Rhode ... continue reading


You won't believe why this ICONIC WWII image is being investigated! Watch

Image of Two amateur historians raised questions concerning a service member in the image (Corbis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two amateur historians believe one of the men in the iconic Mount Suribachi image was misidentified, prompting a Marine Corp investigation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The image, taken by the Associated Press' Joe Rosenthal, reveals the struggle six servicemen ... continue reading


Puerto Rico drowns in debt - What is the U.S. going to do about it? Watch

Image of Puerto Rico missed its first nearly $400 million bond payment (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

U.S. territory Puerto Rico defaulted its first payment of nearly $400 million - so what is the territory going to do? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Puerto Rico has suffered a recession for the past decade, resulting in the government borrowing money from foreign ... continue reading


ISIS kills U.S. Navy SEAL in violent attack Watch

Image of ISIS breaks Peshmerga lins to kill U.S. Navy SEAL (navysealsmuseum).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in the line of duty when ISIS forces pushed their way through a Kurdish Peshmerga line. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said during an official ... continue reading


'It was an escape:' father of Scientology founder tells all Watch

Image of Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, opens up (20/20)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ron and Becky Miscavige escaped the California Scientology compound known as the "Gold Base" and have stepped forward to share their story. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientology is a quiet religion shrouded in secrets - many of which are believed to be ... continue reading


'Clown-in-Chief' Obama makes skit about retirement, but here's why we're not laughing Watch

Image of Obama thinks he's a comedian, but some matters are too serious to joke about.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama, in an act of self-depreciating humor, has made a SNL-style spoof about his retirement. While amusing at moments, we can't decide if the video is good, because to make it he had to take time away from issuing executive orders, or bad, because it must ... continue reading


CIA under fire for 'live tweeting' dramatic Bin Laden raid on 5 year anniversary Watch

Image of Though some patriots were pleased to see the tweets, several compared the CIA to ISIS and their propaganda videos.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The CIA celebrated the 5-year anniversary of Osama bin Ladin's death by posting "live tweets" of the raid that killed him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For those who don't have a Twitter account, the CIA posted a timeline of the raid on their website.The tweets ... continue reading


Athanasius, Defender of the Incarnation: Defend the Faith! Watch

Image of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Incarnation

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Bishop and Doctor of the Church whom we honor today in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar was called the Defender of the Incarnation. This title summarizes a life given over to defending the central Christian claim - about who Jesus is and who we can be - ... continue reading


No Phony Truces in the Battle to Block Most Anti-Life, Liberal Court in a Generation

Image of The United States Supreme Court

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

While much of our attention is on the Presidential race, the looming battle over a Supreme Court nomination merits no less attention.  The battle lines are clear in this nomination and the future of the Court and our Constitutional principles are at ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Fatima Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • St. Hilary of Arles: Saint of the Day for Thursday, May 05, 2016
  • Scientists play God in controversial move to revive the dead
  • Top 10 mothers from the Bible
  • St. Mary Magdalene HD Video
  • Too little too late: $75.5 million anti-Trump ads not enough

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More