Archbishop Chaput: Religious Liberty Depends on Lay Faithful, Not Bishops

From the National Catholic Register.

ncregister.com/daily-news/archbishop-chaput-religious-liberty-depends-on-lay-faithful-not-bishops/

Peace,
Ed

Thank You for sharing this link…Archbishop Chaput is one of my favorites, and this article just strengthens my faith in him and in our Catholic Faith. More laypeople need to read this article!

~~Prairie Rose

Thanks for sharing Ed!

From the article:

"Religious liberty as an ideal sounds lovely. But in the abstract, it has very little power. It has political force only to the degree that ordinary people believe and practice their faith — and refuse to tolerate anyone or anything interfering with their faith. The current White House has a clear track record of ignoring the traditional American understanding of religious freedom and interfering with the activity of religiously inspired organizations.

If lay Catholics accept that sort of government behavior without inflicting a political cost on the officials responsible for it, then they have no one to blame but themselves when they find that their liberties have gone thin."

He’s speaking in DC on Monday evening; I’m hoping to go! :thumbsup:

This…

The 2012 Catholic Vote: An Early Assessment

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That was an excellent article! :thumbsup:

You’re welcome everyone. We should reach out to our priests and pastors to ask what we can do to help get the word out.

Peace,
Ed

How about suggesting to make a copy of the article and put it as a Sunday bulletin insert?

Thank you for posting the article edwest2.

from the article:

Archbishop Chaput and the rest of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have called upon Catholic Americans to observe the second annual “Fortnight for Freedom” from June 21 to July 4.

Catholics in my diocese did not observe the “Fortnight for Freedom” either last year or this year. Our pastors did not participate in it because our bishop didn’t ask them to. It wasn’t mentioned in the diocesan newspaper before or after the fortnight. Our clergy rarely speak about the HHS mandate or other religious liberty issues.

from the article:

But while the U.S. bishops have highlighted this issue, Archbishop Chaput makes the case that the fate of religious liberty falls squarely upon the shoulders of the lay faithful. The archbishop has warned Catholics that they need to “wake up” and realize that the recent IRS scandals involving the deliberate targeting of political (and even religious) groups not favorable to the White House is only a foretaste of the consequences of losing the national discussion on religious liberty.

In this interview with the Register, Archbishop Chaput explains why the lay faithful must take up their role as the leaders in the fight for religious liberty — and why the U.S. bishops can’t do this for them.

What responsibility do laypeople have to take action on behalf of the Church’s religious liberty? Why can’t this responsibility rest solely on the bishops’ shoulders?

The secular world is the place where laypeople exercise their leadership most naturally. It’s the environment of their everyday lives and their primary mission field. Bishops can counsel and teach, but their role in practical political affairs like the fight for religious liberty can only be indirect and secondary.

If laypeople don’t love their Catholic faith enough to struggle for it in the public square, nothing the bishops do will finally matter.

If pastors are not directed and assisted by their bishops to teach on these issues and to rally the lay faithful to get involved, then the laity cannot be expected to exercise any kind of leadership. Our spiritual shepherds are not guiding us to leadership.

I think the bishops need to realize that a great many Catholics need more help in understanding and loving our faith more than they do. Catholics as a group are unlikely to struggle for their faith in the public square unless they first realize they love it and unless they know what’s, why’s and how’s of this necessary battle.

That is exactly the reason the laities should take action. I know many parishes are completely silent. Most people don’t even realize what is going on. The parishes act there is nothing going on, all is well.

If the bishop does not lead, the priest does not do anything, then the conscientious laity should gather together the like minded Catholics to spread the word, to cause awareness, and to organize the prayer meetings. Or at least he himself should faithfully pray for religious freedom and encourage people to do the same. That is exactly what the Archbishop Chaput’s saying - it is up to the laity.

When our pastor ignores emails and rejects our suggestions for parish bulletins, etc., that is that. We can’t demand that the parish council discusses it; it is not an open meeting, they serve in an advisory capacity only, and the pastor approves the agenda.
We do not have access to parishioner’s addresses or phone numbers, to rally them to action ourselves. Without the assent and cooperation of the pastor, we cannot do anything on the parish level.

Shepherds of laity must do more. The bishops need to speak and write on the issues; to establish expectations their clergy, and to hold them accountable. Potential lay leaders need reinforcement from their clergy.

I almost suspect you are from my parish!:smiley:

Our bishop issued letters but it ended on the Pastor’s desk. We heard nothing!

Regardless, last year we gathered parishioners (about 20) to pray Rosaries in the Chapel for 9 weeks (Novena). We did ask for permission for using the Chapel 9 weeks for certain time. Some of the parishioners objected if we needed “permission” for prayer. However, like you said, it is very important to do things right under the authority of the Pastor.

But even the Pastor is liberal, there is a way. Just gather people by word of mouth. It does not have to be a large scale. We do as much as we can.

I agree with this…I am unfortunately too from a lack luster parish on this issue. We are a highly ethnic parish and the concerns and focus is on immigration. We have a small group that meets in our Church every Friday for a Divine Mercy Prayer Hour, however, and we ALWAYS include in our intentions our Religious Freedom in this Country. (and around the world for that matter) I personally have spoken with many of my parish family on a one on one basis, and some of them “get it” while others seem to either argue that we will never have our religious freedom taken away, or they look at you like a deer in headlights. I had one lady tell me: “We will be just fine, the Bishops will never let anything drastic happen, they are too powerful.” Ugh…well, I guess the Lord never promised us a “Rose Garden”…or that the Roses would be thornless.:stuck_out_tongue:

Contact your Bishop or Archbishop if nothing is happening. Catholics need to get together and fellowship, something that is beginning to happen in some Churches, but we all need it. We need to get together, informally, discuss the issues and find out what we’re all thinking. A priest, ideally, should be present. In any case, if things are silent where you are then contact someone to get the ball rolling.

Let’s build each other up. I believe we need a community of Catholics that get to know each other.

Peace,
Ed

Wow, after reading comments, I feel blessed to be in a parish where our Assoc Pastor never passed up an opportunity to speak about marriage and religious freedom.

Not just recently, either. Before the last presidential election, he was always speaking about those topics. :thumbsup:

He was just reassigned to another parish…lucky them!

The Vicar must be a younger priest, I guess. I have seen several younger priests in our neighborhood parishes, they all speak out. But none of the older priests I met talked about gay marriage and religious freedom.

Originally posted by edwest2
Contact your Bishop or Archbishop if nothing is happening. Catholics need to get together and fellowship, something that is beginning to happen in some Churches, but we all need it. We need to get together, informally, discuss the issues and find out what we’re all thinking. A priest, ideally, should be present. In any case, if things are silent where you are then contact someone to get the ball rolling.

Let’s build each other up. I believe we need a community of Catholics that get to know each other.

It seems nobody wants to tell on the Pastor to our Bishop.:frowning:

Originally posted by Teelynn
I agree with this…I am unfortunately too from a lack luster parish on this issue. We are a highly ethnic parish and the concerns and focus is on immigration. We have a small group that meets in our Church every Friday for a Divine Mercy Prayer Hour, however, and we ALWAYS include in our intentions our Religious Freedom in this Country. (and around the world for that matter) I personally have spoken with many of my parish family on a one on one basis, and some of them “get it” while others seem to either argue that we will never have our religious freedom taken away, or they look at you like a deer in headlights. I had one lady tell me: “We will be just fine, the Bishops will never let anything drastic happen, they are too powerful.”

People’s ignorance makes me sad. That’s why we need to wake them up. Thank you for your Divine Mercy Prayer group for praying for our poor nation.

:thumbsup:

We did celebrate the Fortnight in our parish and despite our other (and numerous) problems we appear to be forming a small, but faithful group of Pray-ers - daily Mass attendees and Eucharistic Adorers. I feel as though we are the “heart” of the parish with spokes like a wheel extending outward toward the others who are not aware. God hears each prayer and blesses the entire community.

You are right. Whoever has the awareness and conviction must become a wheel extending outward toward others who are not aware. We must take every opportunity to talk to people. Just this morning, I talked to the lady who leads the Rosary prayer group, asking her to mention the intention of praying for religious freedom before they start the Rosary. She seems not believe we will lose religious freedom and thinks it won’t happen in our life time. People just could not believe “losing freedom” will ever happen in America. And the news media purposely keep people from knowing the reality. We must wake people up by talking to them.

Or hand them a copy of an article like the above if it’s OK. People are led by others who they regard as authorities. Perhaps a letter or article by a Bishop or Archbishop will be more convincing.

It’s easy to think, “My Church has always been here. No one is going to silence me or take away my public religion freedom.” We live in the world, but we must be aware of how hostile the media is to Christianity.

Peace,
Ed

Let’s hand out the copy of Archbishop Chaput’s article. That is a good ides. Will you all do this together?

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