Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston devote two weeks to promote and protect religious freedom

June 18, 2014

By Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Specialist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston 
devote two weeks to promote and protect religious freedom

As our nation prepares to celebrate its freedom and the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, Catholics in the Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston and across the country are urged to participate in the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, June 21 to July 4, 2014. This year’s theme is “Freedom to Serve.”

Initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the goal of Fortnight for Freedom is to call Americans to learn more about the challenges to religious liberty both at home and abroad. It is a two-week period during which Catholics are invited to pray about and discuss the question of freedom, especially religious freedom, in the world and in our own country.

“The centerpiece for all the celebrations is the great gift of Religious Liberty,” explained Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. “In Catholic teaching, the principle of religious freedom is rooted in the very nature and dignity of the human person. In our civil government, the First Amendment, as well as federal and state laws, protects religious freedom.”

“However, recent decisions by judges and the courts have seen erosions in some aspects of our religious freedoms. One of our current concerns as Catholics is the HHS Mandate of the Affordable Care Act,” said Cardinal DiNardo. “As federal law it demands that almost all health plans cover sterilization and contraceptives including abortion causing drugs – a direct violation of our religious beliefs. It is not a matter of whether contraception may be prohibited or supported by the government. The key issue is whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if it violates their religious beliefs.”

Area Catholics are also looking at other challenges to religious liberty at home and abroad. In the U.S., they include the defense of marriage, and concerns regarding immigration and humanitarian services.  In the world at large, the fragility of religious freedom has become all too apparent as religious groups, particularly Christians are persecuted in the Middle East and parts of the developing world.

During the two weeks of Fortnight for Freedom, the Archdiocese and its parishes are providing local Catholics with resources for prayer, outreach and education, and how to take action to protect and promote religious freedom and liberty.

More information about the Fortnight for Freedom can be found at .

The Archdiocese of Galveston- Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.

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