Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Week 24 in Catholic Media, 2014

June 15th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The U.S. Bishops spent a day and a half in New Orleans. June 11-12, 2014 and followed this Agenda.  The apparent good news was that the bishops remained committed to their prior positions in support of Religious Freedom, and seemed not to be drawn aside into more divisive political issues, which risk infringing on individual bishop’s rights.  However, in the face of the importance of Religious Freedom issues (and the horror around the world in various attacks on Religious Freedom), the USCCB’s release may seem a bit mild to those who have worked persistently and faithfully on the issues, and witness the escalation of persecution even in the U.S.    The news release  following the Conference reads:

Bishops Approve Renewal Of Directory For Permanent Deacons, Religious Liberty Ad Hoc Committee And Plan For Faithful Citizenship Document At Spring General Assembly

June 12, 2014

NEW ORLEANS—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), meeting for their June 11-13 Spring General Assembly, approved action items relating to the permanent diaconate, the bishops’ religious liberty efforts and their quadrennial statement on Catholic political responsibility.

The bishops voted to permit the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations to seek a renewed recognitio, or approval, from the Vatican for the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Vatican approval to the text would be for another five-year term.

The bishops also approved a second three-year term for the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty and the proposal of a working group for the limited revision of their 2007 document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship with a new introductory note.

All three action items passed in unanimous voice votes.   More information on the bishops’ General Assembly is available.



Third Fortnight For Freedom To Be Observed June 21-July 4

2014 theme focuses on ‘Freedom to Serve’ poor, vulnerable
Baltimore, Washington Masses to Bookend two-week celebration of religious freedom.

WASHINGTON—Catholic dioceses and parishes across the United States are once again encouraged to raise awareness for domestic and international religious freedom concerns during the third annual Fortnight for Freedom, June 21-July 4. The two-week celebration will focus on the theme, “Freedom to Serve,” emphasizing the link between religious liberty and service to the poor and vulnerable.

“During the Fortnight, our liturgical calendar celebrates great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul and the first martyrs of the Church of Rome,” said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “This is a time when Catholics can unite themselves in prayer to the men and women throughout history who spread the Gospel and lived out Jesus’ call to serve the ‘least of these’ in even the direst of circumstances.”

Two nationally televised Masses will bookend the Fortnight. Archbishop Lori will celebrate Mass at the Baltimore Basilica on June 21, at 5:30 p.m. EDT. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on July 4, at noon EDT. USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, will be the homilist at the July 4 Mass.

USCCB has prepared materials to help dioceses and parishes participate in the Fortnight, including templates and guides for special prayer services, a list of frequently asked questions about religious liberty, one-page fact sheets on current threats to religious freedom in the U.S. and around the world, and a study guide on Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom.

Meanwhile, approximately 500,000 people have fled Mosul, Iraq, many of whom are Christians.  Their archbishop questions whether any Christians remain in the city.


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