Catholic Social Action
100 East 8th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (513) 421-3131 ext. 2660
Fax: (513) 421-1582
Sara Seligmann – Regional Director
Catholic Social Action
1520 South Main Street
Dayton, OH 45409
Phone: (937) 281-4124
Fax: (937) 341-5036
Becky Kunkler – Northern Area Coordinator
Catholic Social Action
119 E. Water Street
Sidney, OH 45365
Phone: (937) 281-4125 ext. 5015
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Preserve Religious Freedom!
2017 Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom for Mission
The Fortnight for Freedom will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2017. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has once again prepared materials that you may use to celebrate the fortnight. This year’s theme, “Freedom for Mission,” highlights the important fact that our God-given and constitutionally protected religious liberty is not restricted to our own minds or to houses of worship, as some government entities in our country have redefined it. As Pope Francis said on the eve of the Fortnight in 2014, “Religious freedom is not simply freedom of thought or private worship. It is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly, consequent to the truth one has found.” That is exemplified in the 14 subthemes of this year’s observance, one for each day of the Fortnight:
- Freedom to serve migrants and refugees;
- May we be God’s servants first;
- Freedom to care for the sick;
- Freedom to bear witness to Truth;
- Freedom to serve God with our whole lives;
- Freedom to seek the Truth;
- For Christians in the Middle East;
- Freedom to serve our communities through education;
- For the freedom of the Church;
- Freedom to serve families seeing and children awaiting adoption;
- Freedom to serve the vulnerable;
- Freedom to build stronger communities;
- For our brothers and sisters in Mexico;
- Freedom to promote a culture of freedom for all.
Pray and Advocate for Victims of Religious Persecution Around the World
The Archdiocese hears the cries for mercy from all those persecuted for their faith around the world, especially those from our Christian brothers and sisters. Join us in prayer, awareness and action for the protection of this fundamental human right.
To highlight the international plight of Christians, the One Church of Mercy Committee, made up of Roman rite and Maronite rite Catholics in the Archdiocese, brought His Beatitude Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai, the Maronite Patriarch, to Cincinnati during the Fortnight for Freedom in 2016. This year, in conjunction with the visit of the Maronite Bishop Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, the Committee will host a screening of the movie, “Our Last Stand” in Cincinnati, a documentary about Christians striving to maintain a presence in the Middle East. It will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, August 12. You can mark your calendars today, and please stay tuned for more details. Contact the Catholic Social Action Office at (513) 421-3131, ext. 2660 or email@example.com in the meantime for more information.
Christians in the Middle East: Present Situation and Future Prospects, Address by His Beatitude Bechara Peter Cardinal Rai, July 1, 2016.
One Church of Mercy Welcome and Opening Remarks by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, July 1, 2016.
More Resources for the Fortnight
- Pope Francis and Religious Freedom, Short Quotes
- Examples of International Threats to Religious Liberty
- Examples of Religious Liberty Concerns in the U.S.
- Domestic Threats to Religious Liberty Backgrounder
- Sample Intercessions for Religious Liberty
- Reflections on Dignitatis Humanae
- Prayer cards (Designed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)
- Litany for Liberty (Designed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)
- 40 Hours Devotion
- Daily Reflections on the Vatican II Document, Declaration on Religious Liberty
- Evening Prayer for Religious Freedom
- Bulletin Inserts Designed by the USCCB
- Access more resources at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops page
- Take Action by Contacting Your Member of Congress!
In the past, the Archdiocese produced “Preserve Religious Freedom” signs and posters. While we are no longer able to make these signs available ourselves, we are happy to provide you with a high resolution image for reproduction of these signs. Please contact Steve Trosley of The Catholic Telegraph at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dioceses, parishes, and Catholic institutions around the country continue to highlight the importance of preserving our religious freedoms. Among other examples, this freedom is under attack from such actions as the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate for religious institutions as well as state laws that would limit what populations of people the Church may serve, such as undocumented migrants. Background on current threats to religious liberty, both at home and abroad, including opportunities for action, can be found at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website here. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati offers this page of resources, in addition to the materials provided by the USCCB, for use by parishes and individuals to focus our hearts and minds on our Christian and American heritage of religious freedom.
The HHS Mandate: What Catholics Need to Know
The Ohio Council of Churches (OCC), which includes 18 Christian denominations in the state of Ohio, has issued a statement expressing concerns about religious liberty and the HHS mandate, which attempts to define which religious institutions are religious enough to follow their own teachings and which are not in certain circumstances. An excerpt of the statement reads: This mandate sets a concerning precedent for any religious institution which may find itself in a position of having values that, within reason, challenge that of the state… Therefore, in light of the concerns raised by the HHS mandate, even with the great diversity to be found in the communities comprising the OCC, we call upon our elected leaders, government officials of all levels, and the religious community, to work for two goals: 1) actively to pursue changes that would broaden the religious exemption within the current mandate, and 2) to propose and implement safeguards in legislation on social issues that will respect and protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Read the full statement here!