Our Catholic bishops in American published “Our
First, Most Cherished Liberty,” a12-page statement by the Ad Hoc Committee
on Religious Liberty that sets out to explain what religious freedom means to a
Catholic and it also calls for “a fortnight for freedom” from June 21,
the vigil of the feasts of Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More, to July 4,
US Independence Day.
fourteen days from June 21–the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St.
Thomas More–to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to this “fortnight for
freedom”–a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates
a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by
political power–St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS.
Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. 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.
urge that the Solemnity of Christ the King–a feast born out of resistance to
totalitarian incursions against religious liberty–be a day specifically
employed by bishops and priests to preach about religious liberty, both here
free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
your grace may we have the courage to defend them,
those who live in this blessed land.
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.