Tag Archives: religious liberty

Our First, Most Cherished Freedom — the US Bishops speak up for religious liberty

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Today, the US
bishops issued a call to action to defend religious liberty and urged laity to
protect the First Freedom of the Bill of Rights. No doubt there is 
considerable consternation surrounding
the proposed usurpation of our legal freedom of religion: clearly the US
President has forgotten the first clause of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof….”

The statement,
“Our First, Most Cherished Freedom,” aims to inform and to encourage the entire
Christian Church in North America –and beyond–in understanding what the Church teaches on religious liberty. Moreover, the US bishops want to encourage a rightful role in
defending the first of our American liberties. Being Catholic 
or a person of faith does not mean that we give up a sense of reasonableness and citizenship. The bishops published this work in order
to reassert their voice in the public square, thus bridging the gap of faith and reason
for a coherent national debate on matters of concern. Religion cannot be
relegated to the closet. Like most documents of the Church, this one also hopes
not only to impart information but also to form Catholics (indeed, all
Christians) as faithful citizens. It is our Christian belief that religious liberty is God-given and is not
imparted by our elected officials. “Our First, Most Cherished Freedom” is a
document of the Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

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Stand up for religious freedom: Connecticut takes a stand against HHS

Rallies will be
taking place all over the country this Friday, March 23rd, to voice concerns
over the HHS mandate. Visit online: Stand Up for Religious Freedom.

Thousands of Americans of all faiths will be
participating in these peaceful rallies, organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to oppose
the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which
is requiring all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and
abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their

Locally, Connecticut as two notable rallies: New Haven and
Hartford beginning at noon and will last approximately one hour. 

Women are
invited to voice their concern and support for freedom at Women Speak for Themselves.

The Jesus mandate vs. Obama’s mandate –the challenge of religious freedom

William Edward Lori’s essay, “The Jesus mandate vs. Obama’s mandate” was published this afternoon in The Washington Post. Lori is the 4th bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport and the chairman of the US Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

Two paragraphs of Bishop Lori’s essay follow, but the full text is noted here:

Last year alone, Catholic Charities served more than
10 million of the poor, the needy, and the suffering throughout our nation.
 Catholic Charities doesn’t know how many of those served were not
Catholic, because they simply never ask. Our faith compels us to serve, not the
faith of those we help.

Catholic ministries for the needy are as blind to race,
creed, class, and gender as Jesus Christ, their founder. That any one of them,
much less all of them, should be forced to choose between the Gospel mandate
and the U.S. government’s health care mandate strikes at the very heart of the
right to religious liberty on which our country was founded.

CT Catholics to fight Department of Health and Human Services on conscience rights

Since it was announced on January 20th that Catholic institutions will be expected by law, to comply with Federal mandates to provide services named “healthcare” but really are procedures connected with contraception and abortion, several US bishops have come out against the Obama administration’s war on conscience rights of people of faith, and the Connecticut Catholic dioceses (Hartford, Stamford, Norwich and Bridgeport) will be fighting Obama. Why is this important: conscience can’t violated, Catholic institutions serve not just the Catholic population, but everybody. Catholics will not comply with Obama, it contradicts Jesus. As Pittsburgh’s Bishop Zubik said, to hell with you Mr Obama. 

What follows are a few paragraphs of Archbishop Mansell’s February column in the Catholic Transcript (the full text can be read here):

Hartford.gifWe cannot comply with this edict. Our parents and
grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and
towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to
have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights. In generations past,
the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and
protect her sacred rights and duties. We hope and trust that she can count
on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren
deserve nothing less.

The Dioceses of Bridgeport and Norwich, as well as the
Ukrainian Diocese of Stamford, will be joining us in the Archdiocese of
Hartford as we mount a campaign against this horrific development.  Prayer
and fasting are, of course, supremely important, that wisdom and justice may
prevail and religious liberty may be restored. You may also wish to visit www.usccb.org/conscience
to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to
contact our Senators and Representatives to support legislation that would
reverse the Administration’s decision.

We must act strongly against this
edict. It affects the lifeblood of Catholics and millions more who are not
Catholic but whom we serve diligently. The future of all of us and our
country as well is at stake.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell
Archbishop of Hartford
The Catholic Transcript, February 2012
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Obama’s breach of faith over contraceptive ruling

The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, Jr., is not a completely reliable Catholic intellectual, but I think we ought to pay attention to today’s opinion piece, “Obama’s breach of faith over contraceptive ruling.” I don’t agree with all that Dionne posits, but it would be incorrect to dismiss the whole piece because he does have a point for us Catholics to pay close attention to.

One of Barack Obama’s great attractions as a
presidential candidate was his sensitivity to the feelings and intellectual
concerns of religious believers. That is why it is so remarkable that he
utterly botched the admittedly difficult question of how contraceptive services
should be treated under the new health care law.

His administration mishandled
this decision not once but twice. In the process, Obama threw his progressive
Catholic allies under the bus and strengthened the hand of those inside the
Church who had originally sought to derail the health care law.

This might not
be so surprising if Obama had presented himself as a conventional secular
liberal. But he has always held himself to a more inclusive standard.

deservedly celebrated 2006 speech on religion and
American public life
was a deeply sophisticated and carefully
balanced effort to defend the rights of both believers and nonbelievers in a
pluralistic republic.

Obama’s speech at Notre Dame’s
graduation in 2009
was another tour de force. His visit to South
Bend was highly controversial among right-wing Catholics. Yet his address
temporarily silenced many of his critics because it showed an appreciation for
the Catholic Church’s contributions to American life — particularly through its
vast array of social-service and educational institutions — and an instinctive
feeling for Catholic sensibilities.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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