Friday, June 22, 2012

Launching the Fortnight for Freedom

In January 2012, as the Obama Administration began to bureaucratically buckle down to implement Obamacare, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius imposed a Qualified Health Plan mandate which basically required all qualified plans to offer “free” contraception, sterilzations, and abortofacient drugs.  In addition, the clerical exception was so narrowly construed which does not extend beyond the Church’s sanctuary.  In response to the public outroar that accompanied this Obama ukase, the Obama Administration claimed that conscientious objectors would not have to pay for repugnant treatments but insurance companies would pick up the bill.  This laughable fudge was given the same day that the Federal Register published the original HHS mandate with no revisions.

Some polling indicates that Catholics do not appreciate that religious liberty is under assault.  So the US Council of Catholic Bishops launched a Fortnight of Freedom, a coordinated nationwide effort of prayer, fasting and instrution to educate the Catholic laity as well as the general public on the importance of preserving Americans’ First Amendment rights to the unfettered exercise of religious beliefs.

Liberal leaning Catholics launch into tirades against the UCCB efforts, accusing the Bishops of unfairly involving themselves in politics.  Such rantings about not mixing church and state are laughable as the LCRW inspired Nuns on the Bus Tour is out protesting the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st) budget proposal for suggesting changes to social service spending. Perhaps advocating for the Social Justice inspired acts of charity are not recognized as even being religious in nature but appeal to  Social Gospel believers who are strong on social but queasy about gospel.

George Soros is funding a “Catholic” shadow organization “Faith in Public Life” to be the devil’s advocate working behind the scenes against the UCCB Fortnight of Freedom efforts. Prominent dissonant Catholic voices, like the outsed America editor Fr. Tom Reece and prominent feminist theology professor Lisa Sowle Cahill, have associated themselves with the “Faith in Public Life” front group. Expect the media to be fed questions by Faith in Public Life  about conflating health policy quarrels with religious freedom, bluster about the fake HHS compromise and questioning if Catholics would stop social justice programs if they do not receive religious accommodation.

The Fortnight for Freedom kicked off with a mass at the America’s oldest Catholic Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  Newly named Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, a staunch spokesman for the UCCB on religious freedom, presided and gave the homily.

St. Thomas More
Archbishop Lori noted that the Fortnight for Freedom was launched on the eve of the feast of St. Thomas More, a Catholic Lord Chancellor of England  who sacrificed everything, including his life, to keep faithful to communion with the Catholic Church in the face of King Henry VIII Act of Supremacy.  Lori also invoked the example of St. John Fisher, who also shares the feast day with St. Thomas More, as Fisher was Catholic Cardinal who was martyred by a tyrannical English crown anxious to control the practice of faith in the nation.   Archbishop Lori also noted that Charles Carroll (brother of first US Bishop John Carroll) the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, risked his life and thwarted unjust law which legally prevented Catholics from being Maryland office holders.

Archbishop Lori’s homily also touched upon Catholic organizations affected by the narrow HHS construing of a religious exemption. Lori declares that organizations can have moral character and should not be forced to participate in practices that are repugnant to the group’s founding principles. Liberals have invoked the argument that it is all well and good for individuals to have moral positions, corporations can not take moral stands.  This strain of thought posits that organizations like the Knights of Columbus must participate in what they believe is evil.  Or Catholic Insurers need to offer coverage for contraception abortions and sterlizations because institutions can not have religion.  This flight of fancy leads liberals to argue that Georgetown Law must offer contraceptives because most of their students and faculty are not Catholic, so damn the Catholic connections.
 But this Fortnight for Freedom raising of consciences is not just coming from the clergy.  Embodying the New Evangelizaton, the Catholic Association made a media buy to dispel the secular myth that one should confine their expressions of faith to the pews in church or cowering at home.

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan will offer a Mass for the Fortnight of Freedom at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.   The Archdiocese of Washington is sponsoring a rally amongst other activities throughout the country.   The Fortnight of Freedom will conclude with a noon Mass at the Basilica National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC on Independence Day celebrated by Philadelpia’s new archbishop Charles Chaput.

During this Fortnight of Freedom, the faithful are offered an appropriate prayer:

Almighty God, Father of all nations, For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus.We praise and bless you for the gift of religious liberty,the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good.Grant to the 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 who live in this blessed land.We ask 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,One God, forever and ever. Amen.

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