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Cardinal Wuerl stresses right to public faith in new book


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/15/2012

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ABSTRACTCardinal Wuerl stresses right to public faith in new book :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Sacred Arts Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Cardinal Wuerl stresses right to public faith in new book By Michelle Bauman Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl and his new book Washington D.C., Mar 15, 2012 / 11:55 am ( CNA ) .- For Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., the Church’s ongoing battle for religious freedom in America highlights the need for Catholics to bring their faith into  the public square. In his latest book, the cardinal challenges lay Catholics to participate in the New Evangelization through their daily activities, a task  that he describes as particularly important in a democratic society like the U.S. Cardinal Wuerl told CNA that the Obama administration’s contraception mandate illustrates an “erosion of religious liberty” that is “one of the most worrisome” challenges ever faced by our nation. “Never before in the history of our country have we been told you can’t participate in the good works of the common good unless you violate your conscience,” he said. He asserted that the Church’s ability to serve is being threatened by the HHS mandate, which would require employers to offer health insurance covering contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so is in violation of their firmly-held religious beliefs. At the heart of the problem is the government’s attempt to “define what constitutes legitimate expressions of religious faith, Catholic ministry and Catholic ministers,” he said. The cardinal warned that Catholics must not sit by while their freedom to express their faith is under attack. He encouraged Americans to “speak up” about the mandate and other important issues, explaining that when they do, the government hears them and often institutes change. The connection between Catholic faith and public life is a central theme in the cardinal’s new book, “Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living Our Catholic Faith” (Our Sunday Visitor, $19.95). He writes in his book that all those who live in a democracy have a duty to participate in the political processes that elect public officials and develop public policy. For Catholics, this means  bringing their principles and values into the public forum. The convictions of one’s faith should impact public policy views “because the same person who is a citizen is also, for the most part, a believer, a participant in the life of the Church,” he said. Unfortunately, Cardinal Wuerl observed, religion’s contribution and place in society are largely dismissed today. The often-cited principle of “separation of church and state” was not intended to remove religious values from political life, but rather to protect religious freedom in order “to ensure that the voice of religious conviction would always be felt in our society,” he said. People forget that the Catholic Church has had a place serving the common good for centuries, since “before there was even a Democratic or Republican party,” he added. Cardinal Wuerl explained that defending the Church’s fundamental freedoms is one of the ways  Catholics can respond to God’s call to manifest his kingdom in their lives as citizens.  “It is precisely in the day-to-day activities, whether it involves our family, our profession, our work or our ministry, that the presence of the kingdom is realized,” he said. With his latest book, the cardinal hopes to encourage the lay faithful “in their vocation to bring about the evangelization and sanctification of the temporal order.” “The Catholic laity have a role in carrying out the work of the Church and responding to Jesus’ commissioning that we are al.......