As Catholics and Americans, we are grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory. Instead, they should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together.
Religious freedom allows the Church -- and all religious communities -- to live out their faith in public and to serve the good of all.
Religious Freedom Week takes place June 22-29, 2022. It begins with the feast day of Sts.Thomas More and John Fisher, includes the Nativity of St. John the Baptist and ends with the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The theme for 2022 is Life and Dignity for All. This year, as we approach the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is especially mindful of the debates about abortion throughout our country. The Catholic Church plays a crucial role in bearing witness to the Gospel of life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes.
The USCCB provides “Pray-Reflect-Act” resources at usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek one for each day on different religious liberty topics. This year, they focus on themes that intersect with life issues. Moreover, the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty has collaborated with the Office of International Justice and Peace to raise awareness about religious liberty in China and in solidarity with people throughout the world who suffer for their faith.
Domestically, a major area of concern continues to be freedom for Catholic institutions, such as schools, hospitals and child welfare service providers to carry out their missions with integrity. In particular, protecting Catholic adoption and foster care will become even more vital as we take new steps in building a culture of life and dignity for all in the United States.
To build a culture of life and dignity for all, the Church must support women and children. In 2020, the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities launched Walking with Moms in Need. This initiative ministers at the local level by having parishes be places where pregnant and parenting women can find support and accompaniment.
Through prayer, education and public action during Religious Freedom Week, the USCCB continues to advocate for the essential right of religious freedom for Catholics and those of all faiths.
To connect with the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, text FREEDOM to 84576 and sign up for First Freedom News, the committee’s monthly newsletter.
May God bless you and those you love.