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Showing posts with label Religious Liberty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious Liberty. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Will You Die for Him? (A Sermon on the Eve of Persecution in America)

From The Remnant
Letter by Father John Echert
Fr. John Echert, Ministering to the Souls of Soldiers in the Mideast
Editor’s Note: Whenever I hear it said that Catholic priests who continue to serve our war-torn Church from within the establishment are playing the part of the coward for not joining a traditionalist fraternity or society, my blood begins to boil. The following is the transcript of a sermon delivered a few weeks ago by a diocesan priest here in St. Paul. Father Echert has been providing daily Traditional Latin Masses in this archdiocese ever since 2007, and before that he opened his church willingly and enthusiastically to the TLM shortly after he was made pastor of the Church of St. Augustine in South St. Paul. A relatively young military chaplain who has served in Iraq and in various dangerous locations in the Mideast, Father’s courage seems to recognize no limits, unquestionably loyal to the Church but utterly unafraid to speak the truth no matter the personal costs. So the next time you’re tempted to claim that only priests trying to “save their skins” stay on and serve within our occupied Church, please remember Father Echert and the many good priests just like him who cannot find it within themselves to abandon their flocks to modernist priests during the present siege, and so have determined to stay on and hold the Catholic ground come what may. And as you read the following sermon, please consider the courage in the face of evil that is required of a priest first to deliver this sermon in the present climate and then to give the “rad-trad” Remnant permission to publish it. God bless you, Father! And, for what it’s worth, when they come for you, which now begins to seem almost inevitable, we’ve got your back!   Father Miguel Pro, pray for us and for our courageous priests. MJM

My Friends in Christ,

It has now been one week since the diabolical Supreme Court decision which now makes same-sex marriage a universal right for Americans. How ironic that in the days leading up to this national holiday that celebrates the Independence of the United States, the highest court in the land should abuse its power in such a blatant act against true human liberty and rights as determined by God.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Fight to Keep Catholic Schools Catholic

In San Francisco, the archdiocese is under fire for teaching according to church doctrine.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco Photo: Associated Press

San Franciscans are currently debating a simple question: Should the government respect the right of Catholic schools to be authentically Catholic?

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone thinks so. But eight California senators and assemblymen sent the archbishop a letter last month, saying that his actions in issuing new faculty guidelines “foment a discriminatory environment in the communities we serve.” On Feb. 23, two of the signers even asked the California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee to investigate the archdiocese’s actions.

Here’s the back story. During contract renegotiations with nearly 500 staff members last month, the archdiocese issued an updated faculty guide for its Catholic high schools. The addendum introduced three new clauses—which staff members are required to “affirm and believe”—denouncing masturbation, pornography, same-sex marriage, contraception and other issues that, in line with Catholic teaching, are described as “gravely evil.”

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Justice Sotomayor Blocks Contraception Mandate on Insurance in Suit by Nuns

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has temporarily blocked the Obama administration from forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups, to provide health insurance coverage for birth control.  They and other Catholic organizations use a health-plan known as the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust. 

The Obama regime mandate was to go into effect on New Year's Day  The administration now has until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court.

We'd like to think that some stirring of right reason, a Catholic conscience formed by family or the Sisters of Charity at Spellman High School, may have played a role in Madam Justice Sotomayor's deliberations.  It is encouraging to see one of Obama's own appointees standing up for the "one eternal and unchangeable law."  We hope, too, that this intervention will encourage massive civil disobedience to the regime's unprecedented assault on freedom of conscience.

The groups’ lawsuit is one of many challenging the federal requirement for contraceptive coverage, but a decision on the merits of the case by the full Supreme Court could have broader implications.  We hope that the Court will ultimately uphold the rights of conscience and religious liberty for all Americans and not merely those Church-affiliated groups bringing these lawsuits.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cardinal Dolan: Concern for Persecuted Christians, Protecting Religious Freedom, Must Become Greater Priority

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York,
President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Address to the USCCB General Assembly on November 11, 2013.

Just last August, I had the honor of concelebrating the Mass of Dedication for the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Kiev. A particularly moving moment came when Metropolitan Shevchuk asked the Lord's protective hand upon believers suffering persecution for their faith anywhere in the world. That such a heartfelt plea came from a people who had themselves been oppressed for so long made it all the more poignant.

This morning I want to invite us to broaden our horizons, to "think Catholic" about our brothers and sisters in the faith now suffering simply because they sign themselves with the cross, bow their heads at the Holy Name of Jesus, and happily profess the Apostles' Creed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Father Rutler: Sts. Thomas More, John Fisher and the Fortnight for Freedom

A weekly column by Father George Rutler.

Holbein's Thomas More
Our parish is blessed with a shrine to Saint Thomas More. The young artist who painted the saint’s image after Holbein was a refugee from communist Eastern Europe. He did such a good job that Cardinal Egan, dedicating it, said that he would not be surprised if this were the original.

We recently celebrated the joint feasts of Saint Thomas More, who was Chancellor of England, and Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. Their personalities were different in many ways, and it was almost a miracle that an Oxford man and a Cambridge man got on so well and eventually were canonized together. The Act of Succession and the Act of Supremacy were the challenges that King Henry VIII threw at them, and the saints returned the challenge. The issues were rooted in natural law: the meaning of marriage and the claims of government. These are the same issues that loom large today. Whatever our courts of law may decide about these matters, Saint Thomas says: “I am not bound, my lord, to conform my conscience to the council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom.” In 1919, G. K. Chesterton predicted with powerful precision that, great as More’s witness was then, “he is not quite so important as he will be in a hundred years’ time.”

For every courageous saint back then, there were many other Catholics who instead took the safe path of complacency. More’s own family begged him to find some loophole, and — after the sudden deaths of eight other bishops — Fisher was the only one left who acted like an apostle. Those who opted for comfort and wove the lies of their world into a simulation of truth had a banal and shallow faith that Pope Francis has called “rose water.” It is a good image, for rose water is not blood and cannot wash away sin.

The “Man for All Seasons” wrote to his beloved Margaret from his cell in the Tower of London: “And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”

The “Fortnight for Freedom” extended from the vigil of the feasts of Fisher and More to July 4th, but its prayers continue, as the Church’s many charitable and evangelical works are threatened by our present government’s disdain for the religious conscience, most immediately evident in the Health and Human Services mandate and the redefinition of marriage. In 1534 Henry VIII’s arrogation of authority over the Church was quickly followed by a Treasons Act which made it a high crime to criticize the King. In contemporary America as in Tudor England, the surest way to let that happen is to say, “It can't happen here.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fortnight for Freedom 2013 Launched on Feast of St. Thomas More

2013 Fortnight for Freedom: June 21 to July 4

The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
We should be free to preach the gospel, we should be free to help the poor in Christ's name, we should be free to heal the sick in Christ's name, we should be free to educate in Christ's name, and now we are being told for the first time that the government has the right to tell us that our ministries are now public services without religious reference… It's chilling and difficult for me to live with that my own government is now saying that what you thought you could do, namely exercise your religion freely as you define it, now depends upon how we define what you do. This isn't just the bishops, we have Catholic University, Notre Dame University, and many others who are saying "You are robbing of us of our identity as Catholics."
– Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago

Saturday, May 4, 2013

‘Gay Marriage’ or Religious Freedom: You Can’t Have Both

While we wait until June to find out how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in its two "gay marriage" cases, perhaps it will add a little energy to our prayers to understand that the judges in black will be making a stark choice: The choice is either "gay marriage" or religious freedom, but not both.

If the court, in settling Hollingsworth v. Perry, affirms the desire of the minority to extend the sexual revolution to same-sex "marriage," then it will be a violation of the Constitution (specifically the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment) to claim that homosexual activity and hence homosexual "marriage" are wrong.

Note that both aspects are mentioned. If the law affirms "gay marriage" as a guaranteed right, it implicitly demands that all citizens likewise affirm homosexual activity of any and every kind.

In affirming same-sex "marriage" as a protected right, the Supreme Court will not just be making law — which is itself a violation of the separation of powers — it will be remaking morality.

To be more exact, it will be acting as an instrument of the ongoing (and now, nearly complete) sexual revolution against the Judeo-Christian understanding of sexuality and marriage.

And, to be even more exact, the court will be establishing secular liberalism ever more firmly as our state religion, the worldview that defines what is good and evil, and therefore defines what is legal and illegal.

Unfortunately, that is nothing new.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Atheist Group Sues US Gov't to Remove 'In God We Trust' From Currency

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), is suing the United States Treasury Department to remove the words "In God We Trust" from all U.S. currency, because they claim the motto is offensive to nonreligious citizens.

Nineteen plaintiffs and the FFRF filed the lawsuit, Newdow v. Congress in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Feb. 1. The civil action claims the motto In God We Trust violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

The plaintiffs' claim that the motto is offensive and forces atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, freethinkers and skeptics to bear a religious message they don't agree with, and are thus forced, when using U.S. currency, to make a false declaration regarding their religious views.

Read more at the Christian Post >>

Saturday, January 26, 2013

From the Pastor: The Obama Administration's Assault on Military Chaplains and the Moral Law

"The military chaplaincy is under threat by our own government as part of its social agenda."
 A weekly column by Father George Rutler.

The Geneva Convention’s classification of military chaplains as noncombatants has traditionally been interpreted in the United States to mean that chaplains normally do not carry weapons. This often puts them in precarious positions when they are in war zones. Over four hundred chaplains have been killed in the line of duty. Catholic chaplains are especially exposed to dangerous situations by their obligation to administer Absolution and Anointing. They have received every kind of decoration for valor, and seven have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

All four chaplains awarded the Medal since the Civil War have been Catholic. Among them, Lieutenant Vincent Capodanno, a Maryknoll priest and Navy chaplain, who served with the Marine Corps and was killed while aiding the second Platoon of M Company at the battle of Dong Son in Vietnam, has been proposed for heaven’s highest honor, canonization as a saint.

The military chaplaincy is under threat by our own government as part of its social agenda. One year ago, the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains tried to forbid Catholic chaplains from reading a statement from the Military Ordinary, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who oversees all priests in the Catholic Ordinariate for the Armed Forces, in which he objected to federally mandated health insurance covering sterilization, abortifacients and contraception in violation of the right to religious freedom. Now the government would compel chaplains to acquiesce in “same-sex” simulations of marriage. The Army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel has said that military members who dissent from this agenda are “bigoted” and “need to get out.”

As behavior contrary to Christian morality becomes a civil right, Catholics in particular could soon become, quite literally, outlaws. Our current President recently announced that he will disobey a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by his own hand, which states that chaplains cannot be forced “to perform any rite, ritual or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain.”

I am always edified by the sacrificing spirit of good soldiers, and as a chaplain to West Point alumni here in New York, I am pleased when cadets serve at Mass. Governments that have tried to manipulate soldiers and doctors and teachers in perverse ways have always had a short shelf life. The nineteenth-century French political philosopher Frédéric Bastiat warned: “When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

Military chaplains do not bear arms, but they have recourse to another arsenal: “Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect” (Ephesians 6:11).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Landmark Victory For British Airways Employee Over Right To Wear A Cross At Work

Airline check-in operator wins appeal at European court but three similar cases fail, as other rights trump faith

BA worker feels Christians are vindicated by cross ruling – video Link to video: BA worker feels Christians are vindicated by cross ruling

After seven years of legal appeals and accusations that Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs, the European court of human rights has ruled that a British Airways check-in operator should not have been prevented from wearing a cross at work.

Nadia Eweida, 60, was jubilant over her landmark victory, declaring it a "vindication" for Christians, after the court awarded her €2,000 (£1,600) in compensation for the "anxiety, frustration and distress" she endured.

While the finely tuned judicial compromise does not establish an absolute right for every employee to wear a crucifix, or religious symbol, visibly at work, it will help define the limits of religious freedom.

Read the rest of this entry at The Guardian >> 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cardinal Dolan: US Bishops Won't Comply with Obama Rule on Birth Control Coverage in Insurance

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks at the conference's annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A top American bishop said Tuesday the Roman Catholic church will not comply with the Obama administration requirement that most employers provide health insurance covering birth control.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said church leaders are open to working toward a resolution with federal officials, but will meanwhile press ahead with challenges to the mandate in legislatures and in court.

"The only thing we're certainly not prepared to do is give in. We're not violating our consciences," Dolan told reporters at a national bishops' meeting. "I would say no door is closed except for the door to capitulation."

Read the rest of this entry at The Republic >> 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Archbishop Chaput Concludes Fortnight for Freedom with Call for Heroism "In the Face of Suffering and Adversity"

Delivered during mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, July 4th 2012.

Philadelphia is the place where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written. For more than two centuries, these documents have inspired people around the globe. So as we begin our reflection on today’s readings, I have the privilege of greeting everyone here today — and every person watching or listening from a distance — in the name of the Church of my home, the Church of Philadelphia, the cradle of our country’s liberty and the city of our nation’s founding. May God bless and guide all of us as we settle our hearts on the Word of God.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mother Church and the Nanny State

By Rev. George W. Rutler

That the film about the Cristero Rebellion, For Greater Glory, has been news to many and highlights the appalling ignorance of history in our culture. That isolation from the human experience has made it easy to confuse conscience with emotion and think religion is irrational. George Neumayer has written, “In one of his memoirs, Obama uses the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac to argue that secularism equals “reason” and religion equals crazy caprice.”

Such was the distillation of President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame University in which he said, “It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us…”  Fast forward and the same university has joined a legal action against the consequences of the presidential speechwriter’s half-baked Kantianism.

If Fidel Castro is the unwitting founder of modern Miami, so Barrack Obama may be remembered for unintentionally energizing the Catholic bishops. He may even have brought some of Europe to a more sober frame of mind about his policies. The throngs in European cities welcoming the advent of Hope and Change during his campaign were unsettling enough for anyone who remembers the cheering crowds gathered in some of those same platzes in the 1930’s. In short order, the Nobel Peace Prize became the Nobel Promise Prize when it was awarded to someone who was expected to do great things even if he had not done so already. L’Osservatore Romano was pleased that the new president might bring an end to Reagan’s “neocon revolution” and hailed this election as “a choice that unites.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Over 100 Protestant Leaders Announce Opposition to HHS Mandate

Despots and heirs of Valerian and Diocletian
Despite their differing views on the morality of contraception, nearly 150 leaders of religious institutions, most of them Protestant, are opposed to the HHS mandate because it creates “two classes of religious organizations: churches—considered sufficiently focused inwardly to merit an exemption and thus full protection from the mandate; and faith-based service organizations—outwardly oriented and given a lesser degree of protection.”

In a letter written under the aegis of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the signatories state:
It is this two-class system that the administration has embedded in federal law via the February 15, 2012, publication of the final rules providing for an exemption from the mandate for a narrowly defined set of “religious employers” and the related administration publications and statements about a different “accommodation” for non-exempt religious organizations.

And yet both worship-oriented and service-oriented religious organizations are authentically and equally religious organizations. To use Christian terms, we owe God wholehearted and pure worship, to be sure, and yet we know also that “pure religion” is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). We deny that it is within the jurisdiction of the federal government to define, in place of religious communities, what constitutes true religion and authentic ministry.
Signatories of the June 11 letter included the presidents of dozens of Protestant colleges and the leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Salvation Army, and World Vision.

Catholic signatories included officials of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Aquinas College (Tennessee), Belmont Abbey College, Catholic Distance University, Christendom College, DeSales University, John Paul the Great Catholic University, the College of St. Mary Magdalen, Mount St. Mary’s University, and St. Gregory’s University. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

US Bishops’ Religious Liberty Campaign Taking shape

Masses, holy hours, Eucharistic processions, rallies, concerts, and lectures are among the activities planned by various dioceses as part of the Fortnight for Freedom campaign announced by US bishops in April. The campaign will begin on June 21 with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and conclude on July 4 with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. 

"Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty," the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty said in April upon announcing the campaign. "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." 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bishop David Zubik: 'We Did Not Pick This Fight'

Writing in today's USA Today, Bishop David Zubik, of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, asks why the Church should negotiate for religious freedom already guaranteed in the United States Constitution.

A protest in Belleville, Ill., against the contraception mandate.
Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring religious institutions to facilitate activities that violate their religious and moral convictions. The only church-sponsored organizations exempted are those that primarily employ and serve people of the same faith. This means that none of our social service agencies — hospitals, universities, free health clinics and soup kitchens — would be exempt.

As the law now stands, church institutions must comply by August 2013. Despite President Obama's promise of some kind of "accommodation" to religious institutions, the mandate remains firmly in place.

Should the church negotiate more before filing lawsuits?

We already have. But what exactly can we negotiate when it comes to religious freedom already guaranteed by the Constitution? Why are we now forced to concede to the government religious freedom that has always been guaranteed by the Constitution?

Much of the so-called accommodation is just smoke and mirrors, an accounting sleight-of-hand over who directly pays the tab. There's been no "accommodation" to broaden the very narrow so-called religious exemption. Church-related institutions will still be subject to the mandate.
These lawsuits have nothing to do with politics. We did not pick this fight nor this timing during a presidential election year. The government chose to impose this on us now. In fact, the lawsuits take the issue out of partisan politics and place it before courts that exist to protect our constitutional freedoms.

These lawsuits ask that religious freedoms be recognized and respected as they were before the mandate. The church cannot be forced to violate its own sacred beliefs. To do so starkly contradicts everything we have been taught and know about religious freedom in the United States.

David A. Zubik is the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Let Freedom Ring!

Archbishop Lori delivers an address on the Obama administration's assault on religious liberty.

The Archbishop of Baltimore, William Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, delivered the keynote address at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s National Religious Freedom Gala Reception and Award Dinner in Washington May 24. 

It has now been just over a week since I became the archbishop of Baltimore, and I find myself surrounded by history there. I live near the Basilica of the Assumption, the oldest cathedral in the U.S. The cornerstone was laid in 1806. The nation’s first bishop, John Carroll, is buried beneath the basilica, as are many of my predecessors.

John Carroll was a cousin of Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Charles Carroll’s story — and indeed Maryland’s early history — teaches us about the fragility of religious liberty and the importance of exercising vigilance in protecting it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lutherans Stand with Catholics in Opposing Tyranny

By Tim Johnson

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades welcomes Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations to stand together for religious liberty.
Church leaders, students and members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations in Fort Wayne expressed their solidarity with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and Catholics of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to “stand together for religious liberty.”

Gathering April 17 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, just a few blocks from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod held a procession to the cathedral. There they gathered in prayer and song with Catholics and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades on the plaza in front of the cathedral and presented letters of support and encouragement “as we stand together with (the bishop) on this issue of religious liberty,” noted Dr. Charles Gieschen, academic dean of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, one of two Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod seminaries in the U.S.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Paul A. Rahe: "Obamacare's Assault on Religious Liberty"

Paul A. Rahe delivered this address on Friday, April 13, 2012 at the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship of Hillsdale College.

Friday, March 30, 2012

It Is Hard to Be Catholic in Public Life

 ". . . our founders, rooted in their own faith convictions, knew that faith was not just an essential element, but the essence of civilization and the inspiration of culture."

By Rick Santorum
Of all the great and necessary freedoms listed in the First Amendment, freedom to exercise religion (not just to believe, but to live out that belief) is the most important; before freedom of speech, before freedom of the press, before freedom of assembly, before freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, before all others.

This freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, is the trunk from which all other branches of freedom on our great tree of liberty get their life. Cut down the trunk and the tree of liberty will die and in its place will be only the barren earth of tyranny. Our founders understood this, and that is why James Madison described the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom as "the true remedy."