Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/14/2011 (3 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 (3 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Islamic State's seduction, recruitment of Americans under scrutiny Watch

Image of At least 25 Probable American recruits have been detained since January.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. prosecutions of would-be recruits to Islamic State has grown exponentially. ISIS has used both brutality and perceptive propaganda to attract members worldwide, in ways that are far more sophisticated than al-Qaeda and other jihadist adherents. LOS ... continue reading


'Man of peace, tenacity and courage,' Cardinal Francis George dies aged 78 Watch

Image of Polio during childhood had left the prelate with a weakened leg and a pronounced limp throughout his life. With his death, the College of Cardinals has 223 members, of whom 121 are under 80 and thus eligible to vote for a pope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has died after a decade of battling cancer at the age of 78. The first native Chicagoan to head the archdiocese, he is being remembered as "a man of peace, tenacity and courage" by his successor Archbishop ... continue reading


Genetic rescuing considered for shrinking wolf population on remote Michigan island Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are only three wolves left on Isle Royale, a small island in Michigan Lake's Superior, according to biologists. Researchers said that they do not know what to do or what should be done in order to save the wolves from dying and disrupting the ecology. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Another scandal shakes Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions as IRS reports she took millions from foreign governments Watch

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken another hit to her reputation with new information coming out that could compromise her chances at becoming president or even the Democratic nominee. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recent information has ... continue reading


Controversial 'Killing Jews is Worship' posters soon to be seen plastered around New York City Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After being the center of a legal debate, posters with the statement, "Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah" are going to soon be seen plastered on New York City buses and subways due to the victory of American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) against ... continue reading


Where will the next big quake be? It may not be in California Watch

Image of The American midwest is seeing a rise in the number of earthquakes, likely caused by fracking for oil and natural gas.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Central and eastern portions of the U.S. have been suffering from a spate of earthquakes over the last few years, and the U.S. Geological Survey believes that human activity may be responsible for this uptick. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Geological ... continue reading


Bishop Robert Finn's resignation officially accepted by the Vatican Watch

Image of Bishop Finn served a two-year suspended sentence and the diocese was fined $1.1 million. Finn remained at his administrative duties until just recently and did not serve any jail time as a result of the conviction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St Joseph. "The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W Finn from the pastoral governance" of his diocese, the Vatican said in a statement. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Spill all of their blood' Suburban American girl joins ISIS, encourages others to terrorize 'non-believers' Watch

Image of Hoda Muthana was described as a quiet girl in school.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hoda Muthana, 20, shocked her entire suburban community when she joined the extremist Islamic State back in November. Muthana was allegedly brainwashed by the terrorist group when she fled to Syria using her university tuition fee. The young American refused to go back ... continue reading


5.3 MILLION chickens euthanized on Iowa farm as bird flu epidemic devastates Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The H5N2 bird flu virus took its biggest toll on a farm in northwest Iowa, in Osceola County. There are seven other Midwestern states that have been hit by the virus. The number of deaths in chickens and turkeys caused by the bird flu virus has been counted to around ... continue reading


Defend Marriage! Sign the Pledge in Solidarity for Marriage, Join the March

Image of Did you read that these defenders of marriage faced tear gas and clubs from the riot police of the French Socialist regime? They sang La Marseillaise, the French National Anthem, and called for the resignation of the President. Most US news sources did not even report on the Paris March. It was led by a growing movement in France called La Manif  Similar marches have occurred in Taiwan and around the world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

One of the leaders I have the privilege of calling my friend is a great evangelical Christian and constitutional lawyer named Mat Staver. Mat is the Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Counsel Action.  We have joined together on many fronts, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2015 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter