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.



Comments


More U.S.

Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


Majority of Latinos in United States speak English Watch

Image of  Latinos who only speak English are often ostracized by Latinos who only speak Spanish or are bilingual. Many Latinos, upon being hired for positions, are presumed to know and speak Spanish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it would appear to some to be contrary, the majority of Latinos within the continental United States, 62 percent, speak English. A new analysis of the Pew Research Center's 2013 National Survey of Latinos has found that the current demographics will ... continue reading


The Christian Feast of the Annunciation is About More than Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation: The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:26,27)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Walking along this Way of Yes, leads us into a dialogue, a conversation, a communion, a new Way of life, the Christian Way. By saying Yes, offering our own Fiat, we become consecrated and enlisted in the ongoing mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary shows us that ... continue reading


Where's the most hate in the United States? A look into the top states with the highest amount of hate groups may shock you Watch

Image of There is hope. According to the center,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While California is typically known for laidback attitudes and acceptance of diversity - it comes as a shock to learn that the Golden State has the largest amount of "hate groups" across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the ... continue reading


Fox News asks New York City's party district if they are proud to be an American: Watch their unbelievable responses (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fox News producer, Jesse Watters, took to the streets in the "party district" of New York City to sample the opinion a certain demographic has toward America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As a part of Watters' World and The O'Reilly Factor, Watters asks people ... continue reading


What would you do to get your childhood back? People spend big money to find their inner child in adult preschool Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Preschool Mastermind is a preschool for the adults in Brooklyn; it started the first week of March and ends the last week. Students come in every week, trying to get in touch with the magical world they left behind as their childhood ended. However, this adult ... continue reading


'Meet the Animals' SeaWorld continues to fight negative publicity from 'Blackfish' with new campaign Watch

Image of SeaWorld comes back to negative reviews with the

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. releases their new campaign, ahead of a book release by their former trainer John Hargrove. The company received a rapid decrease in audience attendance and revenue from negative responses after the release "Blackfish," a documentary ... continue reading


'Climate change denial is immoral' Episcopal Church bishop hopes to educate the church on issues of climate change Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"To deny climate change is to reject God's gift of knowledge," expressed Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and one of Christianity's most influential women. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The issue on climate change is ... continue reading


Father loses seven children in horrific New York house fire Watch

Image of (Paul Martinka / Splash News)

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Seven of eight children in a Jewish family were killed in Brooklyn, New York by a horrific house fire that trapped them on the second floor of their home in the middle of the night. Their mother, Gayle Sassoon and the eighth child, 14-year-old Tzipora were the only two ... 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, Genesis 17:3-9
3 And Abram bowed to the ground. God spoke to him as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his ... Read More

Gospel, John 8:51-59
51 In all truth I tell you, whoever keeps my word ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 26th, 2015 Image

St. Margaret Clitherow
March 26: St. Margaret Clitherow was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, ... 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