It's been a long and seemingly never-ending battle between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church. With most faith leaders still uncomfortable with the government's contraception mandate, the stalemate between the two parties hasn't improved much in recent weeks. On Thursday, in response to this ongoing fight and a perceived increase in threats against liberty for people of faith, the Church announced a new religious freedom campaign.
"Religious liberty is under attack," proclaims a new document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that announces the initiative. The detailed information present within the document, entitled, "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty," speaks fervently about faith being under attack both in America and abroad.
The campaign, which U.S. Conference communications director Sister Mary Ann Walsh calls "extensive," will occur over a multi-year period and will have numerous elements associated with it. The initiative will include inserts in church bulletins, encouragement for priests to address religious freedom issues and plenty of other elements.
CNN has more information about this newfound effort intended to restore and progress religious freedom:
In their Thursday document, the bishops also said that a handful of American states and municipalities have driven Catholic foster care and adoption services out of business because Catholic charities refused to place children with gay couples or unmarried straight couples.
The document also said that the federal government recently revised its contract with the Catholic Church’s Migration and Refugee Services to require it to provide or refer women to contraceptive and abortion services, in violation of Catholic teaching.
“Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home,” the bishops said in a Thursday statement. “It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith?”
“This is not a Catholic issue,” the statement said. “This is not a Jewish issue. This is not an Orthodox, Mormon or Muslim issue. It is an American issue.”
The Blaze has covered many of the issues that are mentioned in the Bishops' outline before. Cuts to funding in Catholic work against human trafficking, New York City's attempt to prevent churches from renting public buildings and, of course, the contraceptive mandate do, indeed, show a different societal direction when it comes to handling faith in America.
The Bishop's document concludes, in part, with the following call to arms for people of faith:
In particular, we recommend to our brother bishops that we focus "all the energies the Catholic community can muster" in a special way this coming summer. As pastors of the flock, our privileged task is to lead the Christian faithful in prayer.
Both our civil year and liturgical year point us on various occasions to our heritage of freedom. This year, we propose a special "fortnight for freedom," in which bishops in their own dioceses might arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending our first freedom. Our Catholic institutions also could be encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths, and indeed, all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.
Read the Church's extensive documentation and the announcement of the campaign here.
(H/T: CNN Belief Blog)