Monday, October 3, 2011

Bishops Behaving Boldly

Because the myopic vision of those who make a career out of bashing Bishops represents a tiny minority of what our shepherds do.

"Catholic" Gay Group Chastised

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Minnesota Catholic Conference issued a joint statement today explaining that a newly formed group calling itself “Catholics for Marriage Equality MN” has no recognition from nor affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.

One of Catholics for Marriage Equality MN’s expressed aims is to defeat the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment that will appear on the November 2012 ballot, and which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The group misleadingly tries to convince Catholics that they can, in good conscience, support a state redefinition of marriage without undermining marriage itself. The Catholic Church, in keeping with Catholic teaching, reason and natural law, and in concert with many other faiths, strongly supports maintaining the current, traditional definition of marriage by voting “yes” for the Amendment during the November 2012 election.

"Anyone can selectively piece together statements taken out of context from Church documents or the writings of theologians to construct a religious worldview that suits his or her personal preferences,” said Jason Adkins, MCC executive director. “But such a pick-and-choose cafeteria religion is antithetical to Catholicism. One of the most compelling reasons for being Catholic is that we believe in the Faith given to the Apostles by Jesus Christ himself and handed on and safeguarded by their successors, the bishops.”

New Bishops' Committee Responds to Religious Liberty Threats

Seeking to fortify the Church’s response to the “erosion of freedom of religion in America,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has formed an Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

The new committee will be headed by Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport.

The announcement to form the committee was made Sept. 30, the same day as the deadline for comments registering concerns about the interim rules — issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — which mandate that contraceptive services and surgical sterilization be included in virtually all employee health coverage.

The coincidence, whether intentional or not, signaled that the bishops possess firsthand experience with First Amendment challenges posed by a range of legislative, judicial and federal actions.

“The bishops have concluded that religious liberty is under assault from a variety of fronts in the U.S. — at the federal, state and cultural level,” said Bishop Lori, in an interview following the announcement today. “They have identified this issue as an important priority, and I am humbled and happy to help lead this effort.”

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the bishops conference, signaled that the new subcommittee would be one of several initiatives designed to strengthen the conference’s response and bring together a broad cross-section of churches and legal scholars to oppose attacks on the First Amendment.

“[T]he establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee is one element of what I expect to be a new moment in the history of our conference,” stated Archbishop Dolan in a letter to conference members. “Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith and as a service provider. If we do not act now, the consequence will be grave.”

Archbishop Dolan expressed concern about the “increasing number of federal government programs or policies that would infringe upon the right of conscience of people of faith or otherwise harm the foundational principle of religious liberty.”

A press release that included Archbishop Dolan’s letter provided a list of “six religious liberty concerns arising just since June.”

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