Demand Liberty

American Catholics must resist unjust laws “as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith,” the U.S. bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, wrote in a statement released on April 12. The document, titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” calls for “a fortnight for freedom” from June 21, the vigil of the feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, to July 4, Independence Day, as a “special period of prayer, study, catechesis and public action.” The statement cited a number of clashes over religious liberty currently confronting the church—most notably the continuing dispute with the Department of Health and Human Services over a new mandate on contraception. Among other examples of “religious liberty under attack,” the bishops named immigration laws in Alabama and other states that “forbid...what the church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to those immigrants” and new government regulations across the country that have “driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services” because the agencies would not place children with same-sex or unmarried heterosexual couples.

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Retired San Francisco Archbishop John R. Quinn, left, is pictured in a 2004 photo in Saginaw, Mich. He died June 22 at age 88 in San Francisco. He headed the Northern California Archdiocese from 1977 until 1995. (CNS photo/Brett McLaughlin, Catholic Weekly)
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