Two prayers....

God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

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A Catholic who follows Rome & the Magisterium. I'm against gay "marriage", abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, human cloning. Altar girls, Communion in the hand, Eucharistic Ministers and "Protestant" music in the Church doesn't bother me at all. A proud American retired submarine sailor. Our borders should be secured with a 10 ft. high fence topped by concertina wire with minefields out to 20 yards on both sides and an additional 10 yards filled with warning signs outside of that Let's get energy independent NOW! Back Israel to the max, stop appeasing followers of the Pedophile Prophet. Pro 2nd Amendment, pro death penalty, Repeal all hate crime legislation. Back the police unless you'd rather call a hippie when everything hits the fan. Get government out of dealing with education, childhood obesity and the enviornment. Stop using the military for sociological experiments and if we're in a war don't micromanage their every move. Kill your television, limit time on the computer and pick up a book. God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Keeping that whole "religious freedom" issue alive...

Washington D.C., Apr 12, 2012 / 09:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops have issued a statement alerting American Catholics that they are obligated to disobey unjust laws that infringe upon their fundamental liberties by forcing them to violate the core of their beliefs.

“To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other,” they said in an April 12 statement entitled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.”

The U.S. bishops’ ad hoc committee for religious liberty, led by Archbishop-designate William E. Lori, warned that religious freedom is threatened by an array of laws, ranging from the Obama administration’s recent contraception mandate to a series of state laws that prohibit Christian charity to undocumented immigrants.

They issued an “urgent summons” to U.S. Catholics, especially the laity, and called for a two-week national campaign of prayer, fasting and public action for religious freedom in America.

Both the teachings of the Catholic faith and foundational principles of the U.S. Constitution agree that the allegiances of Catholic Americans, although distinct, should be complementary rather than contradictory, they said.

Threats to Religious Liberty

In their April 12 statement, the bishops warned of numerous concrete threats to religious liberty in America today.

Bishops from every diocese in the U.S. have spoken out against the unprecedented new mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will force employers to facilitate and fund health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their firmly-held religious beliefs.

In addition, several state laws prohibit “harboring” undocumented immigrants through acts of Christian charity and pastoral care. The Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist bishops of Alabama filed suit against a law that would prohibit priests from baptizing or preaching to undocumented immigrants, prevent them from hearing their confessions, and make it illegal to assist, allow or encourage them to attend Mass, Bible studies, religious counseling or even Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The bishops also pointed to a 2009 attempt by a committee of the Connecticut legislature to change the structure of Catholic parishes to a congregational model, prefiguring the federal government’s more recent push to redefine “religious minister” and “religious employer,” an effort that was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court in January 2012.

They also observed that Catholic Charities has lost its contract or license to provide adoption and foster care services in numerous areas because they would not place children in the care of same-sex couples or cohabiting couples of the opposite sex.

In New York City, the bishops pointed to a rule that banned churches from renting public schools for weekend worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent them for other uses.

A final violation that the bishops highlighted was the Obama administration’s decision to disqualify the Church’s Migration and Refugee Services program from a government contract to aid human trafficking victims. The move came after the federal government changed its contract specifications to require applicants to provide or refer for contraception and abortion, which violate Church teaching.

More Than Freedom of Worship

The bishops emphasized that religious freedom is more than merely the freedom to worship, but includes the ability to “make our contribution to the common good of all Americans.”

They warned that all citizens will suffer if the work of religious Americans in education, health care, aid to the poor and other social services is stifled.

This is “not a Catholic issue” but “an American issue,” they insisted.

Religious citizens are not asking for “special privileges and benefits,” they observed, but merely for their God-given religious freedom to contribute to the common good to be respected.

The bishops then explained the distinction between conscientious objection – which allows relief from a just law for reasons of conscience – and an unjust law, which is not a true law, and cannot be obeyed.

Americans cannot seek a mere “accommodation” from unjust laws, but “must have the courage not to obey them,” they said.

Acknowledging “the much graver plight” of Christians around the world, they also warned that if “religious liberty is eroded here at home, American defense of religious liberty abroad is less credible.”

“Urgent need” for renewed energy

In response to the situation, the bishops called for the special observance of a “fortnight for freedom” from June 21 to July 4, calling on their fellow bishops and other religious institutions and leaders to arrange local events to emphasize the importance of religious liberty.

They noted that during this two-week period leading up to Independence Day, the Church’s liturgical calendar celebrates “a series of great martyrs” who were oppressed by political powers.

They also encouraged clergy to use this year’s Nov. 25 Solemnity of Christ the King, a feast that originated in “resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty,” to preach boldly about religious freedom.

Acknowledging that “the work of politics is properly that of committed and courageous lay Catholics,” the bishops urged the active involvement of the laity in defending Americans’ religious liberty.

The bishops also made a specific appeal to writers, artists, producers, publishers, filmmakers and bloggers to “use their skills and talents in defense of our first freedom.”

They recalled the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who stressed “the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity” to defend the participation of faithful individuals in the American public square.

(End of story, my comments follow.)

This issue isn't going away, there will be attempts to hide is as has already been shown by the widespread non reporting of the Rally For Religious Freedom that took place a few weeks back. But it won't die.

That second to last paragraph shows how use of the "alternative media" is becoming so widely recognized. That's interesting.

But the tough times are upon us, it won't be long before we see the contempt for Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular start manifesting itself in day-to-day conversations and interactions. I base this on reading a recent article in the Washington Post on the topic of the HHS mandate. The comments section was filled with venomous diatribes against Catholics, not just our bishops, but the whole range from those just warming the pews on Sunday to the Pope.

So it won't be long before what some have called the last acceptable prejudice springs full blown into the public eye.

Stand by folks, we live in interesting times.

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