June 20, 2013
The U.S. bishops have convoked the second annual Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
All across the nation, Catholics will be joining with their fellow citizens of good will, who share concerns about religious liberty, in spiritual, educational and advocacy programs. First and foremost, however, the Fortnight for Freedom is a moment of prayer. Vatican Radio spoke with the nationally syndicated Catholic radio host, Al Kresta, told Vatican Radio the Fortnight is a Catholic response to a concern that touches the life of the whole nation. “Catholics in America, anyways, have to keep before them the absolute importance of staying focused on religious liberty – and one of the ways they have always done that is to make sure their concerns are presented in prayer.”
The Fortnight is also an opportunity for Catholics and other citizens concerned about religious liberty to inform, educate – and sometimes, to set the record straight about what the Church teaches and expects of the faithful in the public square, and from the civil authorities. “There are,” says Kresta, “two different ways of approaching this: one of them is to create Catholic media that exist primarily for the purpose of faith formation,” and the explosive growth of Catholic radio is one important part of this side of the effort.
Kresta went on to say that getting better control of the narrative is of paramount importance. “We can try to get out in front of it,” he said, “and with our own stories, we should be making sure that we are placing those stories well – so, when there are great achievements [such as, in Africa] the [success] of the Catholic way of approaching HIV/AIDS, that story needs to be gotten out there.”
The Fortnight for Freedom officially opens on Friday, June 21st, with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption, celebrated by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who heads the USCCB’s religious liberty advocacy.