Protecting our basic freedoms

A letter from Erin Landini-Grogan MS, NCC, LPC,
Director of Parish Social Ministry and Respect Life

Once again, dioceses throughout the United States will be observing the Fortnight for Freedom. This event begins on the Feast Day of Saints Thomas More and John Fischer (June 21, 2015) and culminates with Independence Day (July 4th).

During this time of prayer, reflection and advocacy, Catholics are encouraged to champion for the protection of our most cherished freedoms set in place by our founding fathers.

Simeona Leon, a member of the Neocatechumenal Way, signs the Fortnight for Freedom banner outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore June 21, 2014. The Fortnight for Freedom opening Mass was celebrated at the basilica. (CNS photo)

In 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document citing recent government challenges to religious freedom. Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Freedom enumerates the historical recognition of the right to religious liberty outlined by the country’s founding fathers while providing concrete examples of how our religious liberty is under attack.

The theme of this year’s celebration is Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to bear witness. It will focus on how religious freedom enables the Catholic Church to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel through our works of mercy.

In many countries throughout the world, individuals are facing persecution for their deeply held religious beliefs. Nearly one-third of our world’s population live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion increased substantially in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Therefore, the Fortnight for Freedom serves as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to protecting our most basic freedoms guaranteed to us by the United States Constitution.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore leads prayer during a candlelight vigil for the second annual Fortnight for Freedom observance outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 22, 2014. (CNS photo)

The United States Bishops said those constitutional principles noted by our founding fathers are now under threat by federal and state government as witnessed by issues such as the HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. Legal challenges to Catholic foster care and adoption services, state immigration services and other Catholic humanitarian entities highlights the importance of protecting our basic freedoms.

Religious liberty is more than our freedom to worship; it also includes our ability to make a contribution to the common good of all people without having to compromise our faith.

I invite you to join me in these days of prayer and advocacy to stand firm in the importance of religious liberty both in our commonwealth and our country. Let us join together to defend religious freedom in our great nation.

Sincerely yours,
Erin Landini-Grogan

Fortnight Resources
Commentary by Erin Landini-Grogan (see bottom of pg. 2)
Frequently Asked Questions
Ways to celebrate
Daily reflections
Pope Francis

Liturgical Resources
Daily homily notes
Ecumenical prayer service
Homily helps
Intercessory prayer
Litany for Liberty
Passages from scripture

International Religious Liberty
Boko Haram: Nigeria
The Last Christians in the Cradle of Christianity
India-Secularism Under Siege
Threats to Minority Rights in Mexico
Religious Violence in Myanmar
Protecting Religious Minority Rights in Pakistan

Domestic Religious Liberty
Discrimination against Catholic Adoption Services
Discrimination Against Christian Students on Campus
Why We Need A Health Care Conscience Rights Act
The Right To Practice Faith in Daily Life
Discrimination Against Catholic Humanitarian Services
Marriage and Religious Freedom
Discrimination Against Small Church Congregations
Providing Pastoral Care to Immigrants

Religious Liberty Documents
Our First Most Cherished Liberty
Standing Together for Religious Freedom

Foundation Documents
Dignitatis Humanae
Redemptor Hominis
Humanae Vitae
Evangelium Vitae