Cardinal George reflects in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s newspaper on the way that the current American culture requires us to choose between our faith and full civic participation, since the dominant ideology has become like a religion.
He writes: “Swimming against the tide… means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers…. the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.”
The Cardinal also points out that, “American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities.”
Thanks to the Cardinal who has such a gift for seeing and guiding us! Let’s pray for him and all our bishops!
Over at the Touchstone blog is an article about the Giffords, who have been fined $13,000 by the state of New York because of their refusal to host a lesbian “wedding” on their farm.
Intention: We pray for a restoration of peace and justice for Christians and other religious communities in Iraq.
Reflection: For the past month, Christians and other religious communities in Iraq have been targeted by the Islamic State and left with nothing as they were forced to leave their homeland. We join Pope Francis as we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters there and urge the U.S. to provide critical assistance to them. May we never take religious freedom for granted.
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R- Wyo.) and Representative Mike Kelly (R- Pa) introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act. This Act is meant to protect organizations who provide child welfare services, such as foster care and adoption, when they have convictions that a child should only be placed with a married mother and father. Currently, a number of organizations are unable to be of service because of their beliefs about marriage.
Three USCCB Chairmen (Archbishops Cordileone, Lori, and Wenski) gave their support to this bill, noting that, “Indeed, women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference also indicated their support for the Bill, noting, “In 2012, Catholic Charities helped complete over 3,000 adoptions and foster care placements, including permanent homes for over 1,600 special needs or “hard-to-place” children. By allowing a diversity of providers through the Inclusion Act, we will be putting the needs of children first and also protecting the religious liberty of long-serving child welfare providers.”
The bishops of Colorado joined in a statement after the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby case. They say,
“We are hopeful that today’s decision will cast a favorable light on the ongoing non-profit cases still making their way through the legal process. The Church has an obligation to serve, and therefore, it needs the freedom to serve without government coercion of conscience and intrusion into religious beliefs. We encourage all people of good will to continue to pray for the protection of religious freedom in every sector of our society as guaranteed by the first amendment.”
We encourage you to read Bishop Aquila’s pastoral letter on the Family as well.
The Bishops have called us to join once again in praying for religious liberty in the Fortnight for Freedom! Check out the video: http://bcove.me/7lk73omo
Intention: As we approach Pentecost Sunday, we ask for the Holy Spirit’s protection of our first, most cherished liberty and the grace to stand united in prayer and service during the upcoming Fortnight for Freedom.
Reflection: The Fortnight for Freedom begins on June 21. Let us prepare for this powerful witness by asking the Holy Spirit for a fruitful time of renewal in our country to celebrate the values of life, marriage, and religious liberty. How will you serve during this year’s Fortnight?
Please read the Oregon Catholic Conference’s response to the ruling redefining marriage on May 19, 2014.
Intention: Lord, help us always to follow the Gospel call to serve “the least of these.”
Reflection: The Fortnight for Freedom is coming next month (June 21 – July 4). The two-week celebration will focus on the theme, “Freedom to Serve,” emphasizing the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable.
As Catholics, we believe that the gift of our faith is to share the light of Christ with all people. The teaching of our Catholic faith “obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land” and around the world. This includes the freedom to serve with Christian love and humility all those around us and share the teachings of our Lord. In loving him more, honoring him steadfastly and serving him as disciples, we naturally serve others in the same way.
In a recent homily, Pope Francis emphasized charity as the “greatest act of holiness [that] relates to the flesh of our brother and the flesh of Jesus Christ.”
Did You Know?: The USCCB has prayer resources for the Fortnight for Freedom, including a Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty. You can pray for religious freedom at home, school, work, or in your parish! You can also attend special Masses to celebrate the Fortnight; if you are not able to travel to Baltimore or Washington, DC, the Masses will be televised nationally, so check your local listings!