14 Aug

A New Catholic Movement in the United States

“Catholics For Freedom of Religion” was privileged to be invited to:

“A New Catholic Movement in the United States”

                                     National Catholic Register, July 24, 2017

Over 100 Bishops joined 3,500 Catholic leaders, priests and religious from across the United States, as they gathered in Orlando, FL from July 1-4, for the unprecedented and invitation-only gathering of “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America.”  

“It succeeded in gathering men and women who love the Church – from all over the U.S., from various cultural backgrounds and with different roles and perspectives in the Church, …  with their bishops to pray together … and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us in going forth,” said a key organizer.  The attendees spent the days in prayer and discussion, hearing from a series of speakers on a specific theme each day.  Nationally known speakers included Cardinal Timothy Dolan, NY, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Washington, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles, law professor Helen Alvare, and Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus.

The convocation strove to equip Catholic leaders with the tools, knowledge and common purpose to meet the next challenging years with confidence and the joy of discipleship.

Catholics For Freedom of Religion was happy to provide our ideas and resources to laymen and clergy.  We shared our mission to educate and inspire, on a non-partisan basis, for First Amendment Freedom of Religion – how rare it is, how dearly it was purchased for us and how quickly it can be lost.

We were honored to be part of the Diocese of Rockville Centre delegation led by Bishop John Barres. 

“We are here at this convocation to set the course for what can be a new Catholic moment in the United States.”

Hosffman Ospino, Associate Professor, Boston College

07 Aug

Freedom of Religion Imposters

Under the guise of claiming religious freedom, anti-religion and atheist groups promoting Satanic Temples, monuments, black masses, and after-school Satan Clubs, are intent on mainstreaming Satanism in America. These satanic groups seek social acceptance and want to be viewed as normal.

Most communities have chosen to peacefully protest these anti-God groups. In Belle Plaine, MN, Satanists claimed the right to erect a satanic monument in the Veterans’ Park after the City Council reinstated the placement of a two-foot-tall iron statue of a soldier praying over a grave marked with a cross. The community’s vigorous opposition to the monument led the Council to vote on July 17, 2017, to abolish the park’s free speech zone – the proposed site for the monument – and the satanists’ move was defeated. One demonstrator said the monument “is not the message of life and love, it is the message of death and decay.”

The Satanic Temple tried to organize a “Black Mass” at Harvard University in 2014 before a student group moved the event off campus. The satanists also created an Elementary School after-school program to promote their beliefs and worked to install a satanic statue at the Oklahoma State Capital. Again, citizens rejected these efforts. Another group set up a Satanic Church in Spring, TX, a suburb of Houston and citizens protested.

“Using the false argument of religious freedom, …(these groups) seek to put Satan in the news and make Satanists accepted at the table,” wrote John Horvat, author of Return To Order.

“We should be inspired by the individual person of action,” wrote Rabbi Aryeh Spero, author of Push Back. “It is remarkable what one person can do when he stands proud and pushes back.”

(crisismagazine.com, 7/19/17; startribune.com, 7/15/17; catholicnewsagency.com, 7/18/17)

Baptismal Vow: “Do you reject Satan and all his works?” Response: “I do!”
31 Jul

Parents’ Freedom of Conscience vs State & Doctor Assisted Dying

Two Cautionary Tales:

England:  Charlie Gard, an 11 month-old baby born with a rare genetic disease, died on July 28 after being removed from his ventilator despite his parents’ objections.  For many months they had petitioned the courts to release Charlie from the hospital in order to seek experimental treatment in America.  However, the hospital argued in court against the rights of Charlie’s parents to decide their son’s course of care.  English and European courts ruled that the hospital could block his parents’ wishes and pull Charlie’s life support.

Then, mounting public pressure plus the support of Pope Francis and President Trump caused the court to request that an American specialist come to England to examine Charlie.  Unfortunately, this examination was a few months too late since Charlie’s muscles were too significantly deteriorated for treatment to help.  Had Charlie been allowed to be examined sooner, his parents said, he would “have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”  They lamented “a whole lot of wasted time.”

Los Angeles:  On August 25, 2016, 2-year old Israel Stinson was removed from a breathing ventilator at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, after a judge upheld the hospital’s decision to remove life support against the parents’ wishes.  The family is “devastated,” said Life Legal Defense Foundation.  “They lost their son yesterday after a long, long battle for him and for his life.”

(ncr.com, 7/25/17; lifesitenews.com,7/28/17; people.com, 8/27/16; latimes.com, 8/26/16)

“Man has the right to live … he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; ” St. Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth,   no.11
24 Jul

School Districts Ban Prayer at HS Graduations

Indiana:  Contrary to U.S. Department of Education Guidelines and a recently passed Indiana House Bill, the Elkhart Community Schools have surrendered to the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” and banned prayer from HS Graduations after one parent complained to FFRF that a recent graduation ceremony opened with a prayer.  

 

However, in April, Indiana passed a House Bill complying with the Dept. of Education and the First Amendment that “Provides that public school students may pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression.”

 

Pennsylvania: A student who was asked to deliver the closing exercise at Beaver HS  graduation was not permitted to deliver her prepared remarks because she mentioned thanks to her “Heavenly Father” and “Lord.” 

 

The school district is in violation of the First Amendment and U.S. Dept. of Education policy that covers graduation ceremonies:  “Where students or other graduation speakers are selected on the basis of genuinely neutral, evenhanded criteria and retain primary control over the content of their expression … that expression may not be restricted because of its religious (or anti-religious) content.”

 (secularnews.org, 7/12/17; christianpost.com, 7/14/17; firstliberty.org, 6/13/17)

 

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.”
George Washington
17 Jul

Pro-life Doctors Denied Free-Speech & Freedom of Conscience

Illinois:  A pro-life doctor and two Christian pregnancy centers are challenging a 2016 Illinois law that requires all doctors, pharmacists, and pregnancy centers to assist women in obtaining abortions, regardless of whether the medical professionals are opposed to the procedure.  The law mandates that doctors who are unwilling to provide the requested service “because the healthcare service is contrary to the conscience of the healthcare facility, physician, or healthcare personnel” must refer the patient to someone who will.  

However, pro-life doctors contend that forcing them, under threat of penalties, to refer patients to abortion providers, violates their consciences and constitutional free-speech rights.

Pro-life Dr. Robert Lawler said, “I’m an obstetrician, so by the very nature, I have two patients: the mother and a baby. … I cannot and will not comply with this law that is a complete affront to my conscience beliefs – my firmly held religious beliefs – that life is sacred.  I became a physician to help people, not to harm them.”

The law also impacts how medical professionals are to treat patients with gender dysphoria since it requires them to counsel on the “benefits” of sex reassignment.  It also requires doctors to counsel terminally ill patients on assisted suicide, despite their moral opposition to it.

Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnet said, “It is well established that the First Amendment protects not only the right to speak, but also the right not to be forced to be a mouthpiece for a message you reject.”

 (newamerican.com, 6/28/17; lawnewz.com, 7/5/17; lifesitenews.com, 6/27/17)

a wind is picking up that is hostile to those with traditional moral beliefs.”
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
10 Jul

Orthodox Jewish Community Beats Back Challenge to Religious Liberty

California:  On June 23, 2017, a second CA court rejected a lawsuit against Chabad of Irvine, a small Orthodox Jewish Synagogue, but it is still under legal attack. Animal rights groups, attempting to block the congregation from participating in their religious atonement ritual that takes place between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, have now appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – just one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the centuries-old religious ceremony, the atonement of sins is contemplated through prayer and the humane, Kosher killing of chickens, reminding participants of their own mortality.  “To be ordered to stop our religious practice because some refuse to tolerate our beliefs was deeply distressing,” said Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum.

Had the first and second lawsuits been successful, the synagogue’s religious ceremony would have been declared a “business practice,” putting at risk the religious practices of every mosque, church, temple, synagogue, or house of worship by transforming their religious ceremonies into government-regulated business practices.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the challenge to religious liberty in November.

(firstliberty.org, 7/7/17 and 7/1/17; latimes.com, 5/16/17; oc-breeze.com, 6/24/17) 

“While Americans presume that the Constitution guarantees their rights, in practice, our rights survive or disappear based on how firmly we defend them.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Philadelphia

02 Jul

Religious Freedom Victory at Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled decisively on June 26, in a 7-2 decision, that denying a church “an otherwise available public benefit on account of its religious status,” violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

The State of Missouri had prohibited a Lutheran preschool from participating in a public benefit program that provided school playgrounds with recycled rubberized material made out of old tires in order to resurface their playground.  State officials believed this benefit would be an unconstitutional state endorsement of religion.

In his majority decision, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution and cannot stand.”

Sadly, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued that Christian groups should be denied access to these programs – unless and until – they give up their religious identity. (courts.mo.gov; washingtonpost.com, 6/26/17; colsoncenter.org, 6/27/17)

When our Founding Fathers passed the First Amendment … they never intended to construct a wall of hostility between government and the concept of religious belief itself.”                                                                President Ronald Reagan
26 Jun

The True Meaning of July 4th – Independence Day

For 240 years, Independence Day has been celebrated as the most significant of all American holidays –  as the day we declared our independence from the tyranny of King George III and Great Britain.  This Declaration proclaimed to the world our emergence as a new sovereign nation to be based on the principles  stated in the pledge to our flag, “under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,…”

We humbly thank our Founders who gave us this Declaration of Independence  which  will remain for future generations of Americans the beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights and the guardian of our independence.  We must never forget the price paid for our freedom and the reasons why freedom is worth paying the price.

(thenewamerican.com, 7/4/11, 7/4/16; dailysignal.com, 6/10/10; reference.com)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1
19 Jun

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission
June 25 and June 28

“Challenges against fundamental 1st Amendment religious liberty rights, recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage, aggressive attempts to make euthanasia legal – we realize that we are definitely at a crisis point, a moral and ethical tipping point.”        Bishop John O. Barres

“Mass Celebrating the 2017 Fortnight For Freedom” 

Sunday,  June 25

12:30pm – Bishop Robert J. Brennan – Celebrant

St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place, Rockville Centre, 11570

“Rosary & Rally For Religious Freedom”

 Wednesday, June 28,

6:00pm – Public Witness Rosary in front of auditorium facing Newbridge Road

7:00pm – Fortnight Rally for Religious Freedom – in auditorium

  Bishop John O. Barres – keynote speaker

Holy Trinity High School, 98 Cherry Lane, Hicksville, 11801

Light refreshments served following program
Co-sponsored by the Diocese of Rockville Centre and CFFR
 
11 Jun

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission

Fortnight For Freedom: Freedom for Mission

June 21, June 25, June 28

 “The Joy of The Gospel”

Bible illuminations, scripture, hymns and meditation. Concluding with Benediction

Wednesday, June 21

6:00pm – Preview of St. John’s Bible

7:00pm – Visio Divina – Seeing the Word

Benediction

St. Bernard’s Church, 3100 Hempstead Tpk, Levittown, 11756

“Mass Celebrating the 2017 Fortnight For Freedom” 

Sunday,  June 25

12:30pm – Bishop Robert J. Brennan – Celebrant

St. Agnes Cathedral, 29 Quealy Place, Rockville Centre, 11570

“Rosary & Rally For Religious Freedom”

 Wednesday, June 28,

6:00pm – Public Witness Rosary in front of auditorium facing Newbridge Road

7:00pm – Fortnight Rally for Religious Freedom – in auditorium

  Bishop John O. Barres – keynote speaker

Holy Trinity High School, 98 Cherry Lane, Hicksville, 11801

Light refreshments served following program