Cleansing Fire

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Fortnight For Freedom — Updates please!

May 10th, 2012, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I am astonished at the number of Catholics I have run into these past two weeks (aka last fortnight) who have NO knowledge of the Fortnight For Freedom, scheduled by the USCCB from June 21 (Feast of Freedom of Religion martyrs St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher—who also happen to be patron saints of the Rochester Diocese) to July 4th, Independence Day.  In addition, the June 8 date to gather and march at noon is also receiving little attention in the pew.  For details, check out http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/

Here are a few highlights:

“On April 12, the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document, “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” outlining the bishops’ concerns over threats to religious freedom, both at home and abroad. The bishops called for a “Fortnight for Freedom,” a 14-day period of prayer, education and action in support of religious freedom, from June 21-July 4.” 

“Bishops in their own dioceses are encouraged to arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. Catholic institutions are encouraged to do the same, especially in cooperation with other Christians, Jews, people of other faiths and all who wish to defend our most cherished freedom.”

“Fortnight For Freedom is ‘a great hymn of prayer for our country.’   Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action would emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country could choose a date in that period for special events that would constitute a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

The USCCB website has a section where Dioceses can post their activities for the Fortnight.  Only Bishop Loverde of the Arlington Diocese has anything posted at this time.  I believe we should happily yield to major coordination activities visibly sponsored by the Rochester Diocese.  However, since we have no information yet on any such activities, and since the laity also has the responsibility under our baptism to stand up for our Faith, it seems inevitable that planning should begin promptly, and may have already begun.  In lieu of any other website for visible coordination and dialogue, I’d like to suggest that we begin posting (and brainstorming) how we might each do our part.  It clearly begins with prayer, and here is the prayer suggested by the USCCB:

Almighty God, Father of all nations, for freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus. 

We praise and bless You for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice, and the common good. 

Grant to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties; by Your grace may we have the courage to defend them, for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. 

We ask this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,  and in the name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,  in the unity of the Holy Spirit, with Whom You live and reign, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.” 

I hope that we might use this blogsite to communicate as much as possible what is planned anywhere in the diocese, but especially to share those areas of lay initiative, so that we might support each other.  Personally, I am particularly interested in anything being done to educate people, especially Catholics, on these issues.  The June 8th March is not that far away; is it to be a redo of March 23rd, or different?  Who is coordinating?  Will more individual parishes have events?  So many questions — so few answers.  What is the main center for our lay communications?

This might also be a good opportunity to mention that many of the resources available are copyrighted in 2008, and given the enormous changes that have occurred and the proliferating threat to our Freedoms, most of the resources are sadly out of date and run the risk of being dismissed as “rehash.”  If anyone knows of updated resources, especially a compelling voting guide , please post the information.

 

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7 Responses to “Fortnight For Freedom — Updates please!”

  1. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    How interesting.

    On one hand, they don’t preach about birth control for 40 years. No grassroots support for their position. Lost 2 generations of Catholics on that one.

    Now, they are claiming conscience protection and yet are doing little to promote their own program.

    One can only, sadly, conclude that they are either inept and don’t have a clue about trying to arouse grassroots support, or what would be more trajic, they really don’t want their attempt to succeed.

  2. avatar snowshoes says:

    Thank you, Diane,

    It may be that this website will be a central point of information on events to mark the Fortnight for Freedom in Rochester Diocese. Thank you for the kick-off! (The name is a bit unfortunate, not one person in a hundred knows what a fortnight is…)

    Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher, pray for us!

  3. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    The bishops are trying like heck to catch up to the laity because they are supposed to be leading them!! Some do not even see the matter of the first ammendment as an issue. They have not quite realized that they have, in recent year with all the problems, lost an awful lot of their moral authority. The sheep have been scattered and the “lambs” are now in either mortal or moral danger even if they make it into this world alive.

    It is time for another Church Council to put the Church back together. All participants in the Council should be issued a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a pair of boxing gloves and a mouth guard!!

    Snowshoes: “The name is a bit unfortunate, not one person in a hundred knows what a fortnight is…)”
    YOU ARE RIGHT!! Do you see what I mean when I say a lot of the bishops are out of touch???

  4. avatar militia says:

    LifeSite News today, May 11, reprinted an article first published by Catholic Culture
    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/usccb-statements-on-other-political-topics-are-harming-the-campaign-for-rel?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5dedf73f2e-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_05_08_2012&utm_medium=email
    which makes what I think is an excellent point; i.e. that the USCCB is losing its sense of priorities by introducing so many other issues (but, to be fair, nothing yet on the kitchen sink).

    LSN quotes: “The USCCB has done what the USCCB always does: muddied the water, by issuing statements on a host of different political issues—including many of which good Catholics have differing opinions, and on which Catholic bishops have no special expertise.”

    In the past 10 weeks, the USCCB and its spokesmen have:

    •weighed in on the federal budget;
    •filed an amicus curiae brief against the Arizona immigration law;
    •called for US intervention to prevent new fighting in South Sudan;
    •supported a ban on landmines;
    •urged comprehensive immigration reform;
    •insisted that budget cuts must not harm programs for the poor;
    •recommended federal programs to expand affordable housing;
    •warned against invasion of Iran;
    •expressed their preferences on agricultural approprations;
    •called for an end to the embargo on Cuba;
    •decried budget cuts again;
    •discussed the merits of the H2-A visa program;
    •supported full funding for the food-stamp program;
    •affirmed the Child Tax Credit;
    •underlined the need to curb nuclear weaponry; and
    •repeated the call for immigration reform.

    “The USCCB has released a full listing of the legislative issues the bishops are tracking during this congressional session. The list includes not only the clearly germane moral questions that Catholics expect to discuss (such are religious freedom, immigration, and the defense of life and family) but also such far-flung questions as farm policy, health care, climate change, mining, copyrights, and digital television.”

    I so very much agree with that concern. To mobilize the laity effectively, they should be staying on topic. Is this dilution intentional or is it just more evidence of being out of touch and trying to rule by committee? Is it evidence of Attention Deficit Disorder at the highest levels, or horse-trading on the floor of USCCB meetings? Whichever, it certainly violates basic management theory of giving a group a single objective (hey, battalion — take that hill!); giving outstanding managers 3 key objectives, and giving your competitors a dozen or more.

  5. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    The responses so far to this article on this blog are just……………….underwhelming. “The bells are tolling for thee!!!!!

  6. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Here’s how you can all help. Please take a look at today’s Church bulletin (and any others you can get your hands on!) and see if there is ANY mention of Fortnight for Freedom or about activities for June 8th. The silence is defeaning!

    Then take a look at the USCCB “Forming Consciences” guide at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

    If we thought that the entire subject is being buried by all the other issues addressed by the USCCB, then it seems that this guide on the very subject of Forming Consciences misses the point entirely. It doesn’t take 37 pages and 90 points to say “Don’t vote for people who kill babies.” The guide reads primarily as hiding the issue, and forces interested people to hunt for the answer to the unasked question. Is this simply incompetence in communications, or is it planned to be what it is? What do you think?

  7. avatar Richard Thomas says:

    I’ve alwats thought it was planned. Remember when Cardinal Bernadin initially omitted abortion from the seamless garment and then, only 2 weeks, added it, and then gave equal weight to all sorts of social justice issues. MAybe I am offf the theme but since there were many bishops who were homosexual and or promoted dissent, they made it easy to ignore, confuse or hide many legitmate issues like pro-life and voting guidelines.


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