‘If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.’
by PETER JESSERER SMITH
PHILADELPHIA — The Liberty Bell stands in Philadelphia as an icon of American freedom and independence since 1776. Today, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput warns that the bell is tolling for religious liberty in the United States, and lay Catholics must determine whether it rings in the rebirth or the end of that cherished freedom.
Archbishop Chaput and the rest of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon Catholic Americans to observe the second annual “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 21 to July 4. The bishops have asked Catholics to engage in two weeks of prayer, education and action to address the many challenges to religious liberty in the United States, especially as the Aug. 1 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate approaches.
But while the U.S. bishops have highlighted this issue, Archbishop Chaput makes the case that the fate of religious liberty falls squarely upon the shoulders of the lay faithful. The archbishop has warned Catholics that they need to “wake up” and realize that the recent IRS scandals involving the deliberate targeting of political (and even religious) groups not favorable to the White House is only a foretaste of the consequences of losing the national discussion on religious liberty.
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