Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 24 June 2012

Fortnight for Freedom, II

    "As Catholics, we are obliged to defend the right to religious liberty for ourselves and for others.  We are happily joined in this by our fellow Christians and believers of other faiths.

    A recent letter to President Obama from some sixty religious leaders, including Christians of many denominations and Jews, argued that "it is emphatically not only Catholics who deeply object to the requirements that health plans they purchase must provide coverage of contraceptives that include some that are abortifacients."

    More comprehensively, a theologically rich and politically prudent declaration from Evangelicals and Catholics Together made a powerful case for greater vigilance in defense of religious freedom, precisely as a united witness animated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Their declaration makes it clear that as Christians of various traditions we object to a "naked public square," stripped of religious arguments and religious believers.  We do not seek a "sacred public square" either, which gives special privileges and benefits to religious citizens.  Rather we seek a civil public square, where all citizens can make their contribution to the common good.  At our best, we might call this an American public square.

    The Lord Jesus came to liberate us from the dominion of sin.  Political liberties are one part of that liberation, and religious liberty is the first of those liberties.  Together with our fellow Christians, joined by our Jewish brethren, and in partnership with Americans of other religious traditions, we affirm that our faith requires us to defend the religious liberty granted us by God, and protected in our Constitution."

                -- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
                    Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
                Our First, Most Cherished Liberty:  A Statement
                    on Religious Liberty

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