Tomorrow, June 21st, begins a two-week period that the US Bishops have called the “Fortnight for Freedom.” During this period there will be rallies, gatherings, and parish priests will be making homilies dedicated to understanding the issue of religious freedom that is currently under attack by the current administration. Just in case you haven’t heard, let me give you a quick synopsis:
- In January of 2012, the Obama administration announced a healthcare related mandate that would force certain religious employers to purchase products that violate their freedom of conscience.
- A narrow religious exemption was included that would cover churches themselves, but would exclude most religious-based ministries.
- After much outcry, an “accommodation” was pronounced along with an end to any discussions between the Obama administration and Church officials.
- While there is a problem with the content of the mandate (i.e. sterilization, contraception, and abortion inducing drugs), there is a much larger issue in play – the government has taken an unprecedented step by declaring what is or is not a valid religious ministry.
- Also at play is the how the wording the US First Amendment is to be implemented on a grander scale. If this is allowed to stand, there is no action beyond the walls of a church, synagogue, or mosque that would be free from government intervention of any kind that the government itself determined as necessary for the public good.
I implore everyone to read up on the issue and the Fortnight activities and to stand with our bishops. Too often I’ve heard people complain that the bishops weren’t stepping out and providing the kind of leadership the lay faithful – well, here it is and we need to show our leaders that we will stand with them in the breech. Here are some great resources you can use to educate yourself and those close to you about the importance of where we stand.
In support of this effort, EWTN will be broadcasting specials during the fortnight. You can find the details here.
Although not everyone has a public way to show support to our bishops, each of us can support them through prayer – for with God nothing is impossible.
I offer the following prayer which comes from the Fortnight for Freedom website:
Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
This is the time for courageous Catholicism – may the blessings and peace of Christ be with you