Cardinal Wuerl: Catholics Should Speak up for Faith amidst Religious Freedom Attacks


Cardinal Newman Society

Go to this article

Want to understand the Catholic faith?

ABSTRACT Cardinal Wuerl: Catholics Should Speak up for Faith amidst Religious Freedom Attacks Thursday, March 05, 2015 Login About   Contact   Join   Donate                 Menu   Home Page About us Origins and Milestones Projects and Programs Contact Us Catholic Education Daily Catholic Identity Concerns Faith in Education From the Bishops and Vatican Religious Freedom College Planning Guides The Newman Guide My Future My Faith Place an Order Higher Ed Center Academics Governance and Mission Religious Freedom Student Life K-12 ED Programs Catholic Education Honor Roll Catholic Is Our Core     Back Catholic Education Daily > Details Page   Cardinal Wuerl: Catholics Should Speak up for Faith amidst Religious Freedom Attacks March 3, 2015, at 11:30 AM  |  By Justin Petrisek   |  This Lent gives Catholics a perfect opportunity to take heart and defend the faith, argued Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington in a recent post critiquing the double standard presented by two recent Washington, D.C., laws attacking the religious freedom of Catholic schools. Cardinal Wuerl made the case in his article “ Silencing the Church’s Voice ” that an “increasingly loud position implies that freedom extends only to those who share this new ‘moral code,’ a redefinition of human life, marriage, sexual activity, and morality. For them it is not bigotry to challenge Catholic teaching. It only becomes bigotry and discrimination, they say, when Catholics assert our beliefs.” “[T]oday there is a new challenge. Some who reject the Church’s teaching – who choose to live by another set of values – not only find the voice of Christian values annoying, they would like to see it silenced or at least muted,” the cardinal wrote in his piece. “Thus we have a whole new upside down version of words like ‘discrimination,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights,’ and laws to enforce the new meaning.” In January, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed  into law two bills threatening the religious freedom of Catholic institutions in D.C. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act coerces religious organizations to employ those who promote abortion, and potentially forces employers to cover elective abortions in insurance for employees. The Human Rights Amendment Act repeals a congressionally approved exemption  for religious schools and universities from having to approve and fund homosexual advocacy groups. Cardinal Wuerl continued: Yet increasingly Catholics are being told that we cannot – should not – be allowed to present and follow our beliefs if they offend politically correct thinking. We are being told that in our schools, social service ministries and other Church programs we may not insist…[n]or should we be allowed to require that those who share in our teaching, healing and charitable ministries would also bear witness to the faith in their actions as well as in what they say. With the new laws “only some people are free to express and live their lifestyle,” Cardinal Wuerl pointed out in his article. “The rest of us have to conform in some way to that new morality. The Church does not require others to believe or live by her teaching. We simply ask for the freedom to do so ourselves and to insure that those who minister in our institutions also do so.” “This Lent,” Cardinal Wuerl continued, “we all need to ask ourselves if we are prepared to stand up for our beliefs and to speak up on behalf of our schools, parishes and charities… This Lent is also a time when we have to deepen our courage not just to hold to what we believe but to be able to speak up on behalf of that faith.” A recent editorial  for the archdiocese’s online magazine, Catholic Standard, further urged Catholics to oppose the two D.C. laws. “One wonders if the D.C. council members would pass a law forcing them and their colleagues to hire and retain staff members who publicly opposed their legislative priorities,” the article posed. “Yet they would force Catholic institutions, pro-life groups and groups that believe in marriage between a man and a woman to do just that, to violate their own sincerely held beliefs.” The editorial continued: Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen a growing trend among government officials and agencies to attempt to enact laws that erode and undermine the religious freedom and conscience rights of people and organizations who disagree with their views on issues like abortion rights, contraception and same-sex marriage. “All Americans of good will, whatever their religious beliefs or political parties, should oppose such government coercion, and we .......