Religious Freedom: April 2012 Archives

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. 

The matter of our freedom is not merely an activist mentality, but it is centrally located in our prayer life. AND that's what we should do-- pray. This is what the bishops propose:

Lady Liberty.jpg
We suggest that the 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.

In addition to this summer's observance, we also 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 and abroad.

And we pray....

Almighty God, Father of all nations,
For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus (Gal 5:1).
We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,
the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good. 
Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; 
By your grace may we have the courage to defend them, 
for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. 
We ask this through the intercession of Mary 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.
The US leadership of the Catholic lay ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation issued a flyer on the recent events concerning the HSS mandate to curb religious freedom. The flyer is written in light of recent US bishops' statement on religious liberty. As you might expect, what's at the center of the controversy is our witness that Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

What is at stake in this moment of our history is not just the possibility for religious groups to continue to give their own original contribution to American society, but also the possibility for any man or woman to gain access to the truth of life. For this reason, we will not give up the right to publicly witness to the world, through our lives and our work, what we hold most dear. With the words of the Russian writer Vladimir Soloviev, we repeat today what Christians have been repeating for 2,000 years.

"In the grieved voice the Emperor addressed them: 'Tell me yourselves, you strange Christians, deserted by the majority of your brothers and leaders: what do you hold most dear in Christianity?' At this Elder John rose up and said in a quiet voice: 'Great sovereign! What we hold the most dear in Christianity is Christ Himself - He in His person. All the rest comes from Him, for we know that in Him dwells bodily the whole fullness of Divinity.'"

The entire statement can be read here: What we hold most dear - a CL flyer 2012.pdf

We the People.jpg

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.

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]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Religious Freedom category from April 2012.

Religious Freedom: March 2012 is the previous archive.

Religious Freedom: May 2012 is the next archive.

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