Archbishop Chaput: 'Religious Freedom Should Be an Election-Year Issue'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:37 PM Comments (18)

While some U.S. bishops have arrived a bit late to the battle on religious freedom, Archbishop Charles Chaput is already a veteran soldier in this fight. He is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life,  and is also a member of the new Committee on Religious Liberty.

When I asked him to name the most pressing issue at the 2011 USCCB meeting, he quickly said, ” the education of our faithful on the dangers to religious freedom. The so-called doctrine of the separation of church and state was established to protect the church from the state, and now it’s being employed for the opposite purpose.”

Catholics, he said, are “sometimes...READ MORE

Filed under archbishop chaput, elections, religious freedom, usccb

Cardinal Wuerl on Religious Freedom, Threats to Marriage, and Welcoming Anglicans Into the Church

U.S. Anglican ordinariate will be official on Jan. 1.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 4:48 PM Comments (6)

I caught up with Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington after lunch today.

Cardinal Wuerl wears several hats at the USCCB. He is a member of the new Committee on Religious Liberty, he is leading the effort to establish the new ordinariate for Anglicans, and he is also chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, where he has been extremely active.

I asked Cardinal Wuerl to move from the macro to the micro level of the discussion on emerging threats to religious freedom. The Archdiocese of Washington has already been forced to end spousal health-care benefits for new hires at Catholic Charities in the District, following the legalization of same-sex “marriage.” Now the local Church is facing a...READ MORE

Filed under anglican ordinariate, cardinal wuerl, marriage debate, religious freedom, same-sex 'marriage', usccb

The Bishops on Iraq

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 4:19 PM Comments (5)

When President Bush first signaled his intention to approve the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Pope John Paul II strongly opposed the action. The U.S. bishops followed the Holy Father’s lead and lobbied against it.

Eight years later, President Obama has announced the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by the end of the year, and the bishops are scrambling to address an increasingly urgent problem: the plight of Iraq’s already diminished Christian minority, which has been cut in half since the U.S. invasion, primarily due to flight from military conflict.

During a press conference at the bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, two bishops focused on the unpredictable and destabilizing effects of...READ MORE

Filed under iraq, pope john paul ii, u.s. bishops, usccb

Bishop Braxton on Belleville Diocese's Catholic Charities

Monday, November 14, 2011 6:55 PM Comments (14)

I had a few minutes with Bishop Edward Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., during a coffee break at the conference.

The fight for religious freedom has became a high-stakes battle that could force Catholic leaders to choose between maintaining critical social services or upholding Catholic teaching on marriage and life.

And no one knows that better than Bishop Braxton, who has witnessed the closure of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Belleville. The staff and clients of the agency are in the process of shifting to a secular entity, Christian Social Services of Illinois, that is likely to be established in February, according to the bishop.

Once the state required all foster...READ MORE

Filed under bishop braxton, catholic charities, diocese of belleville

More From Bishop Lori on Religious Freedom

Monday, November 14, 2011 6:02 PM Comments (5)

In the wake of the recent decision of Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois to spin off from the Diocese of Belleville, ensnared in the new state law that granted same-sex couples the right to seek civil unions, I asked Bishop William Lori whether the new USCCB ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty that he heads would orchestrate both federal and state challenges to the free exercise of religion.

And, if there was not an orchestrated approach, could the decisions made by state Catholic conferences set precedents that could harm the USCCB’s battle at the federal level?

Bishop Lori said the USCCB committee would maintain a “relationship with all state Catholic conference...READ MORE

Filed under bishop lori, catholic charities, diocese of belleville, religious freedom

Archbishop Dolan Fires Up Assembly

The Church is 'hardly some ... outmoded club of sticklers.'

Monday, November 14, 2011 2:12 PM Comments (18)

Invoking the spirit of Blessed John Paul II, Archbishop Timothy Dolan opened the U.S. bishops’ 2011 fall meeting with a passionate call for his brother bishops to embrace the New Evangelization and grapple more effecitively with the waning numbers of cradle Catholics still practice.

Archbishop Dolan summarized the problem with a quote from Father Ronald Rolheiser’s reflection on an emerging “post-ecclesial era, as people seem to prefer.”

“A King but not the Kingdom,
a shepherd with no flock;
to believe without belonging;
a spiritual family with God as my father, as long as I’m the only child;
‘spirituality’ without religion;
faith without the faithful;
Christ without...READ MORE

Filed under archbishop dolan, usccb

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About Joan Frawley Desmond

Joan Frawley Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.