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Fortnight for Freedom's Fitting Conclusion on Independence Day


JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
7/4/2012

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ABSTRACTFortnight for Freedom's Fitting Conclusion on Independence Day | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  July 1, 2012 Sign-up for our E-letter!   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Christmas Music Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Fortnight for Freedom's Fitting Conclusion on Independence Day (628) Cardinal Wuerl and Archbishop Chaput end the two weeks of prayer and reflection with inspiring words. Share by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 07/04/2012 Comments (3) WASHINGTON — The Fortnight for Freedom began with burning questions about whether an urgent threat to religious freedom would be removed by an immanent Supreme Court ruling. But the two-week period of prayer, fasting, public action and study closed with that threat still present: The high court upheld the constitutionality of disputed elements of the Affordable Care Act, which authorized the “contraception mandate" opposed by the U.S. bishops as “unacceptable.” In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, the fortnight, an initiative of the U.S. bishops’ conference, appeared even more critical as the Church sustains the First Amendment battle over the months and years ahead,  as legal challenges to the contraception mandate wend their way through the courts. The Church's resolve to stay the course was affirmed at the closing Mass for the fortnight at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and featuring a homily delivered by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia — two leading figures in the battle for religious liberty. Thousands of Catholics from the District of Columbia, Baltimore and Philadelphia filled the huge Basilica and spilled out beyond its doors. The enthusiastic congregation repeatedly gave standing ovations to Church leaders, and applauded the service of local priests, women religious and seminarians. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, spoke briefly at the Mass, and urged Catholics to stay focused on the defense and preservation of religious freedom. He asked them tosubscribe to receive text message updates on religious freedom issues by texting "Freedom" to 377377. In his homily, Archbishop Chaput cited passages from the day’s scriptural readings to remind both the congregation that filled the shrine and a national television audience that the court’s ruling did not change perennial truths about whether believers owe their primary allegiance to God or the state and why religious liberty remains the “first freedom” in any just society. “Most of us know today’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew. What we should, or should not, render unto Caesar shapes much of our daily discourse as citizens. But I want to focus on the other and more important point Jesus makes in today’s Gospel reading: the things we should render unto God,” said Archbishop Chaput, in a reference to Matthew 22:15-21. “The point of today’s Gospel passage is not how we might calculate a fair division of goods between Caesar and God. In reality, it all belongs to God, and nothing — at least nothing permanent and important — belongs to Caesar. Why? Because just as the coin bears the stamp of Caesar’s image, we bear the stamp of God’s image in baptism. We belong to God and only to God.” If the faithful owe God and his laws ultimate allegiance — even as they fulfill proper duties of citizenship — then they must be free to worship him and follow his laws, said the archbishop, who also cited 1 Timothy 6:6-11 and its reflection on the nature and purpose of human freedom. “This is the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. It’s the freedom of Miguel Pro, Mother Teresa, Maximilian Kolbe, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and all the other holy women and men who have gone before us to do the right thing, the heroic thing, in the face of suffering and adversity,” he noted. “This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty — religious or otherwise.” An Anxious Church The homily offered a reprieve from recent headlines that left many of the faithful shaken and anxious about whether the Church would ultimately prevail in its battle to .......