Election 2012 – Faithful Citizenship
Religious Liberty Under Attack
Many of us will vote in the November election. It is imperative that we do so according to a well-formed conscience. In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation (FCFC #13).
The Gospel this Sunday is part of the “Bread of Life Discourse.” Within this passage from Saint John, Jesus is asked the question, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God.” Religious freedom grants us the stage for fulfilling our part in the drama of salvation, for accomplishing the works of God in this country. Therefore, this Sunday, we consider an excerpt from “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty” from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Freedom. Vicit www.usccb.org
We need … to speak frankly with each other when our freedoms are threatened. Now is such a time. As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack, both at home and abroad.
This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the "most cherished of American freedoms"—and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops:
"Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.
"Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.
Benedict XVI, Ad limina address to bishops of the United States, January 19, 2012