words, actions, joys, and sufferings in union with the Heart of
Jesus, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the
salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit, Who guided Jesus, be my
guide and my strength today so that I may witness to your love. With
Mary, the mother of our Lord and the Church, I pray for all Apostles
of Prayer and for the prayer intentions proposed by the Holy Father
this month. Amen.
We as bishops, as shepherds of one of the most richly blessed communities of faith on the planet, as pastors who have spoken with enthusiastic unity in defense of our own religious freedom, must become advocates and champions for these Christians whose lives literally hang in the balance, as we dare not allow our laudable battles over religious freedom at home to obscure the actual violence being inflicted on Christians elsewhere.
Al Smith (D-NY) was a New York politian from the
early 20th Century who was the four time Governor of the Empire State as well
as the first Roman Catholic nominee for President of the United States in 1928 . The Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an
annual charity white tie fundraiser which dates back to 1945 and has raised
millions of dollars for healthcare causes in New York.
|2012 Al Smith Dinner|
The Al Smith Dinner is always held on the third Thursday in October. As Stephen Colbert quipped about itscalendary cycle, it is like Catholic thanksgiving. In 1960, Theodore White remarked that the Al
Smith dinner was “a ritual of American politics. as candidates from both
parties would share the dais and show a humorous or even self-effacing
side. For example, last year both President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) both attended the fete hosted by New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
reserved for Cardinal Dolan. So much so, it seemed like a Cardinal Roast.
many both inside and outside the Catholic community with his earnest aestheticism. But Dolan touches people
with his joyful sensibility combined with his fervent faith.
For Colbert’s part, his humor was gentle and charitable. I will forever think of the title “Your Eminence” with a subtle smile yet appreciating the implication of the honorific. While Timothy Cardinal Dolan remains in New York after the Sweet Sistine 2013 Conclave Championship, at least Dolan’s beloved baseball St. Louis Cardinals have reached with World Series this year without the existential threat of competing against the New York Yankees.
|NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan|
Today is the start of the second Fortnight for Freedom as urged by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops. It is a period of prayer, fasting, education and action to preserve the fundamental natural right that is enshrined in the Bill of Rights–the Freedom of Religion. This effort was started last year by USCCB President New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Appreciating the First Amendment is particularly poignant as there are so many challenges to religious liberty and the freedom of conscience, such as the HHS Qualified Health Plan Mandate (a.k.a. the Contraception, Sterilization and Abortifacient rider), the exclusion of non-compliant adoption organizations who will not service same-sex couples, states which have approved , states co-ercing traditional marriage believers to conform to same-sex so called marriage, the military labeling Catholics and Evangelicals as extremist groups for upholding their moral beliefs, military chaplains being forced out of service if they did not tow the new Politically Correct line on homosexuality.
When President Obama marked Religious Freedom Day in 2013, he framed religious liberty as the “freedom to worship as we choose.” That might have been acceptable public policy shorthand, but such a charitable assessment is not borne out by the actions of the Obama Administration. This is especially exemplified in the HHS contraception mandate.
Secular society has been championing a concept that America was founded on a separation of church and state and that religion was ancillary to education of the times. While it is true that there is not a state religion, history shows the profound motivation of our founders to pursue religious liberty. The Fortnight for Freedom should remind us of our proud history of religious liberty and point out how state incursions are strangling this fundamental freedom. Part of this education about religious liberty should include how sweeping state regulation of secular values will end vital social services in adoption, immigration, adoption, feeding the destitute and health care by religious groups which are serious about their core beliefs.