· The Fortnight for Freedom sponsored by the U.S. bishops ·
“ The Basilica is the embodiment of what it means to be both Catholic and American, the intersection of faith and public life that is at the very heart of the Fortnight for Freedom”. These were the words of Archbishop William Edward Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, at the opening Mass for the Fortnight to Freedom, which he presided at the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Fortnight for Freedom is a full program of events on the theme of Christian heritage and the value of freedom which will last from 21 June to 4 July (Independence Day) and will involve all parish communities of the country. The two weeks devoted to religious freedom have also been referred to on the Secretary of State's Twitter account, @ terzaloggia, through which prayerful support of the initiative was expressed.
The Fortnight for Freedom is now in its second consecutive year. The program of events was announced in April 2012 to coincide with the publication of the Episcopate's document entitled: “Our first, most cherished liberty”, developed by the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty . The U.S. bishops have on numerous occasions expressed concerns over policies which restrict the freedom of teaching moral and religious principles and their practice. The statement is principally concerned with the introduction of the new federal health regulations, which impose limitations to the objections of conscience for those who oppose abortion. In these laws the attempts to redefine marriage by law also comes with the fear that religious ministers might be pressured to celebrate homosexual “marriages”.
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