Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at an event sponsored by the Catholic Business Network of Baltimore. It was a wonderful (and gratifying) opportunity to meet so many members of our Archdiocese who are dedicated to witnessing to our faith not just in their parishes on Sundays, but also in their workplaces during the business week.
Sadly, such witness is trying to be stifled, an issue of great concern to Church leaders and one we hope will become a great concern to many more Catholics as they learn about the many attempts being made to keep religion out of the public square.
The most glaring attempt is the Health and Human Services Mandate, which was brought about by the Affordable Care Act. Scheduled to go into effect this August, the Mandate requires many religious employers, businesses operated by people of faith, and individuals to violate their religious principles to comply with the new healthcare law. At its core, the new law requires the inclusion of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraception in employee healthcare plans.
There are many, many more examples of such incursions on the religious freedoms of people in states throughout the country, including our own. We are seeing a slippery slope toward a completely secularized society, one that prefers religious people practice their faith quietly. What is next? If we don’t resist, how far beyond the sidelines will they push religion and those who practice theirs?
This is precisely why the U.S. Bishops created the Fortnight for Freedom, an initiative when Catholics across the Nation will commit themselves to learning more about this problem and to praying and acting for an appropriate solution. As the first diocese in the United States, we have been chosen to host the Opening Mass for the Fortnight on June 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Basilica in Baltimore.
I urge you to get involved in the Fortnight by attending the Opening Mass and participating in some of the events taking place around the Archdiocese. More information can be found at www.archbalt.org/fortnightforfreedom.