The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign in the wake of the contraception coverage mandate under the "ObamaCare" health care program.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a "Fortnight for freecom" campaign in the wake of the contraception coverage mandate under the "ObamaCare" health care program.
In 21st century America, few people seem inclined to lose their heads for their religious faith and in this enlightened age of tolerance it may seem to most people quite unnecessary. But United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has chosen the eve of the feast day honoring two 16th century English martyrs to begin a campaign for religious liberty in America. On Thursday, June 21, at 7 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, Catholics gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore around the country to begin a two-week period of prayer and devotion called a "Fortnight for Freedom" for the cause of religious liberty throughout the world. The prayer vigil will formally conclude with a 12:10 pm. Mass on Wednesday, July 4th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, as the homilist.
The campaign began on the eve of the feast of Saints Thomas More
and John Fisher
, two English Catholics beheaded in 1535 for their refusal to take an oath of allegiance to the King Henry VIII as head of the Church in England. Sir Thomas had served as Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop Fisher was the only one of the Catholic bishops who refused to sign the oath. Their deaths and those of lesser mortals who refused to deny the Church's ties to the Bishop of Rome marked a dramatic break between the Roman Catholic Church and what became the Church of England. More and Fisher were later canonized and are still honored by the Catholic Church for refusing, in biblical terms, to "render unto Caesar," (in the person of Henry VIII) that loyalty to the pope — whom they regarded as Vicar of Christ — they believed they owed to God.
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Photo: Deacons sing during a liturgy in Baltimore, June 21, 2012, to kick off the "Fortnight For Freedom," a two-week, national campaign to draw attention to religious freedom: AP Images