(Vatican Radio) The Church in the United States is in the midst of its fourth annual Fortnight for Freedom. Sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, this fourth iteration of the initiative is focusing on the theme: freedom to bear witness. The Archbishop of Baltimore, Md., and the Chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, William E. Lori told Vatican Radio the bishops have a threefold challenge facing them in their defense of religious liberty, of which evangelization is the keystone. “We recognize that we have not only to evangelize,” Archbishop Lori said in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio’s English World News Desk, “we have to stay in dialogue with our elected and our appointed leaders.” Archbishop Lori went on to say, “We have to do our best to awaken our people, who are very often complacent with regard to religious liberty challenges – but above all: evangelize.”
This was a theme that Archbishop Lori has been developing for some time.
In an address to a workshop at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Md., on November 15, 2014, Archbishop Lori explained that the Church’s concern for religious liberty grows out of her concern that every person should know the truth about human nature and that nature’s author; that a primary and indispensable way for Catholics to make that truth clear and credible is through their witness of service to their fellows; and that the freedom to live the faith in service to the common good is an essential and necessary element of ordered liberty. “Keeping the spirit of the Gospel means that Catholic institutions are to bear witness in love to the full truth about the human person by providing social, charitable, and educational services in a manner that fully reflects the God-given dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Lori continued.
“We’re not defending religious freedom because we want special treatment for the Church,” the Archbishop explained in that same address. “We seek to defend religious freedom because the Church loves humanity and defends religious liberty as essential to human dignity,” he said.
Click below to hear Chris Altieri’s extended conversation with Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Md., USA
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