U.S. Bishops to highlight lack of religious freedom, or something, during a ‘Fortnight to Freedom’
U.S. Catholic bishops, concerned that the American public perceives the church as divided and weak, vowed on Wednesday to present a united front during a “Fortnight to Freedom” celebration of religious liberty that begins next week in dioceses across the nation.
Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who has been leading the campaign, told bishops assembled for a national convention in Atlanta that Fortnight should focus on the principles of religious freedom and should not dwell on “parties, candidates or elections.”
Yet the bishops did not repudiate the sharp, and often sharply partisan, rhetoric that has characterized the religious liberty campaign, which church officials launched earlier this year in protest of an Obama Administration regulation requiring all health insurance plans to provide free birth control…
The church teaches that artificial contraception is a sin. Bishops protesting the mandate have compared Obama with Hitler and Stalin and accused his administration of strangling the Catholic Church.
This campaign ended well
Sister Simone Campbell, a nun who runs a social justice advocacy group and has clashed with the bishops frequently, said she found the “scripted, stilted” tone of the meeting disappointing and unproductive. “I’m really concerned that our leadership seems to think there is no room for dialogue in our discernment of the way forward,” she said. “The bishops don’t understand what it is to build a coalition in a democratic culture.”
The Fortnight for Freedom campaign runs from June 21 to July 4. It features a variety of events designed to appeal to Catholics of all ages, from a Twitter campaign to a music festival at a winery to traditional Masses to the distribution of 10,000 car magnets promoting religious freedom. Two Kansas bishops have organized rallies in front of government buildings in Topeka and Wichita. Other dioceses are sponsoring conferences and public prayer. Bishops are also encouraging Catholics to pray briefly for religious liberty each day at 3 p.m. in a campaign they dub “A Minute to Win It!”
The campaign and lawsuits are being funded in part by donations from Catholic organizations including Knights of Columbus and the Order of Malta and the Catholic nonprofit organization Our Sunday Visitor, Lori said.
At the conclusion of the all-day meeting, Cardinal Timothy Dolan showed off the ultimate Fortnight to Freedom fan gear: a red foam hand, the type often waved at sports events, printed with the Fortnight to Freedom logo and the message “#1 Freedom.”
What? No Buddy Christ?