… I am PROUD to be an American Catholic!
Bishops Prepare for Largest Civil Disobedience Since the 60s by Andrew Bair – June 3, 2012
The United States Catholic bishops are readying American Catholics for what may be the largest campaign of civil disobedience since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
In addition to 12 lawsuits against the Obama Administration including 46 plaintiffs from dioceses, hospitals and universities, the US Catholic bishops will urge Catholics to openly defy the Obama HHS Mandate. In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will distribute bulletin inserts nationwide, which reference Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his call for civil disobedience in response to unjust laws.
The USCCB bulletin insert quotes “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in which Dr. King writes, “I would agree with Saint Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all.’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
The Catholic bishops also note in the document, “Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified. Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”
The USCCB has organized a two-week campaign called the Fortnight for Freedom, which will extend from June 21st through July 4th to raise awareness about the threats to rights of conscience posed by the HHS mandate. The very same authority used by the HHS Secretary under the Obama healthcare law to mandate insurance coverage of contraceptives and sterilizations could also be used to force coverage of surgical abortions. The mandate is scheduled to go into effect on August 1st.
Recently, the USCCB released a document entitled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty” in which the bishops emphasized they would not back down from their opposition the HHS Mandate. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/our-first-most-cherished-liberty.cfm
We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, 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, and 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.
Freedom is not only for Americans, but we think of it as something of our special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be guarded now. We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations and peoples who yearn to be free. Catholics in America have discharged this duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations.
In 1887, when the archbishop of Baltimore, James Gibbons, was made the second American cardinal, he defended the American heritage of religious liberty during his visit to Rome to receive the red hat. Speaking of the great progress the Catholic Church had made in the United States, he attributed it to the “civil liberty we enjoy in our enlightened republic.” Indeed, he made a bolder claim, namely that “in the genial atmosphere of liberty [the Church] blossoms like a rose.”
From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience. It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores. We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today.