FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM

Opening Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of your love.

REFLECTION: Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday, or pray the Rosary at home.  It is about whether we can make our contribution to the common good of all Americans. Can we do the good works our faith calls us to do, without having to compromise that very same faith? What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative and robust civil society–or whether the state alone will determine who gets to  contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it. (from Our First, Most Cherished Liberty U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)

George Washington wrote that “the establishment of civil and religious liberty was the motive that induced me to the field of battle.” Thomas Jefferson assured the Ursuline Sisters–who had been serving a mostly non-Catholic population by running a hospital, an orphanage, and schools in Louisiana since 1727–that the principles of the Constitution were a “sure guarantee” that their ministry would be free “to govern itself according to its own voluntary rules, (Our First, Most Cherished Liberty..)

The Civil rights movement was an essentially religious movement, a call to awaken consciences..   In his famous “Letter from Bermingham Jail” in 1963. Reb. Martin Luther King Jr. bodly said, “The goal of America is freedom… I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’..How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. and unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. (Our First, Most Cherished Liberty..)

IT IS A SOBERING THING TO CONTEMPLATE OUR GOVERNMENT ENACTING AN UNJUST LAW. AN UNJUST LAW CANNOT BE OBEYED. An unjust law cannot be obeyed. In the face of an unjust law, an accommodation is not to be sought, especially by resorting to equivocal words and deceptive practices. If we face today the prospect of unjust laws, then Catholics in America, in solidarity with our fellow citizens, must have the courage not to obey them.  No American desires this. No Catholic welcomes it. But if it should fall upon us, we must discharge it as a duty of citizenship and an obligation of faith. (Our First, Most Cherished Liberty..)

WHAT WE ASK IS NOTHING MORE THAN THAT OUR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY BE RESPECTED. WE ASK NOTHING LESS THAN THAT THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES, WHICH RECOGNIZE THAT RIGHT BE RESPECTED.IN INSISTING THAT OUR LIBERTIES AS AMERICANS BE RESPECTED.

DAILY PRAYER:  ALMIGHTY GOD, Father of all nations, For freedom you have set us free in Christ Jesus. WE PRAISE and bless you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good. GRANT to our leaders the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties. BY YOUR grace may we have the courage to defend them for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. WE ASK this through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, AND IN the name of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. WITH WHOM you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM

Did you know that the Catholic Church has asked for special prayers from  June 21 to July4, 14 days to pray for Religious Liberty in this Country.  I should have told you all on June 21st, but it is not to late to join in the last 4 days of prayers.   Fortnight for Freedom started about 8 yrs ago, when the American Bishops  decided that we are loosing our Religious Freedom in this Country at a faster rate than ever before. Fortnight is to bring attention to this fact, and to pray for wisdom and help from our Almighty God to preserve our basic right in this Country.

From well before Cardinal Gibbons in the late 1800’s, Catholics in America have been advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience…We have been staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to discharge that duty today. We address an urgent summons to our fellow Catholics and fellow Americans to be on guard, for religious liberty is under attack both at home and abroad.

Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.(Pope Benedict SVI, Jan 2012)

I will post more information Friday night, for now, here is the DAILY PRAYER FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. Which of course, we can say anytime during the coming year.

ALMIGHTY GOD, Father of all nations, FOR FREEDOM YOU have set us free in Christ  Jesus. We PRAISE AND BLESS you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good. Grant TO OUR LEADERS the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties. BY YOUR GRACE may we have the courage to defend them for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land. WE ASK THIS through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness, AND IN THE NAME of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, WITH WHOM YOU LIVE AND REIGN, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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THE CELEBRATION OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD

FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD  “Christ’s execution notice became with paradoxical unity the ‘confession of faith,’ the real starting point and rooting-point of the Christian faith, which holds Jesus to be the Christ: as the crucified criminal this Jesus is the Christ, the King. His crucifixion is his coronation: his coronation or kingship is his surrender of himself to men, the identification of word, mission, and existence in the yielding up of this very existence.  His existence is thus his word. From the cross faith understands in increasing measure that this Jesus did not just do and say something; that in him message and person are identical, that he always already is what he says.” (Pope Benedict XVI)

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HYMN: Were you there when the crucified my Lord? Were you there when the crucified my Lord? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Where you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Were you there when they nailed him to the tree? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side? Were you there when they pierced him in the side? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when the sun refused to shine? Were you there when the sun refused to shine? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble tremble. Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

Wee you there when they laid him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid him in the tome? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

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O Lord our God, your Son Jesus Christ did not refuse death for the salvation of the world. Strengthen your people in faith, hope, and love to live the mystery of the cross into which we have been baptized, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

TED CRUZ ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY THREATS

Cruz “is probably the one most people trust to do what he says he would do,” Vander Plaats said.

Before Cruz addressed the Values Voter audience, he attended a press conference organized by the Liberty Institute, a legal group that has defended Christians involved in legal disputes. The group’s leader, Texas attorney Kelly Shackelford, praised Cruz for being involved in religious liberty cases long before his political career.

“Before Sen. Cruz was ever thinking bout running for office … he was one of the best appellate attorneys in the country, and he was donating his time — literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of time — for religious freedom cases,” Shackelford said, noting their work together on legal proceedings around the case of the Mojave Memorial Cross.

Cruz stood with Navy chaplain Wes Modder, who was recently cleared by Navy Personnel Command in a case where he was accused of misconduct for counseling Marines against premarital sex and homosexuality, and with Liz Loverde, a New Jersey college student who said in 2014 that her high school forbade her to create a Christian club.

“These are real people,” Cruz said at the press conference. He spoke of a recent gathering in Iowa that he attended where a crowd of 2,500 heard from nine other individuals in religious liberty disputes. Cruz said the evidence is clear that Christians are being told they cannot exercise their faith.

“For every sneering media reporter who claims there are no threats, look in the eyes of these heroes, one after another after another, who simply stood for their faith and lost their jobs and faced persecution and faced death threats,” Cruz said.

“These threats are real. They’re growing. And yet we will stand and fight to defend our liberty. And I’ll tell you, the worse it gets the more of an awakening you’ll see,” he said.

HOW THE CHURCH HAS CHANGED THE WORLD-FORGOTTEN FATHER

(by Anthony Esolen)  IT’S A CRISP MORNING IN FEBRUARY, and the people have gathered for a joyous celebration. Men with drums and fifes pass by, playing marches, while boys and girls are waving flags, and members of churches and clubs and societies, men and women, ride on horse-drawn stages draped with red, white, and blue.  They are passing by the home of the wealthiest man in Maryland, and possibly the most beloved. He stands before them on the second story, smiling.

He’s a slight, spare man, well into his nineties, but still possessed of a keen mind….They had wanted him to speak at their celebration, but he had declined because of ill health. Still, he praised their devotion. “The event you are about to commemorate.” he wrote,” must be felt by every individual who loves his country, and who can appreciate the blessings it enjoys.  To General Washington mainly belongs, under the protection of PROVIDENCE, these blessings.” He promised to join them in prayer and gratitude to GOD for a man whose virtues were so needful in creating their beloved nation.

It was the centennial of Washington’s birthday, in 1832, and the old man was CHARLES CARROLL of Carrolton, the last survivor of the signers of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.  Carroll was American by birth, Roman by temperament and education, and Catholic by the grace of GOD, a man who endured much for the faith, and who fought for the FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, GUARANTEEING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND FREE RELIGIOOUS EXERCISE TO ALL BELIEVERS.

A PATRIOT TO THE CORE

Ungrateful man is hard put to remember the benefits his country has conferred upon him, but Charles Carroll fought for a state, Maryland, that had disenfranchised Catholics, and for a young country whose intellectual and political elites were often bitterly suspicious of Rome. Indeed, one of the unbearable things that George III did, in the minds of severe New Englanders, was to pass the Quebec Act, allowing freedom of faith to French Catholics in the north…….

……….He (Carroll) had written a series of learned essays in 1773, published under the Roman pseudonym “First Citizen,” even though he had at the time no permission to vote, to recommend the principles of British common law and to argue against a fee imposed upon the citizens of Maryland by the upper house of their legislature, without the approval of the people’s representatives in the lower house.  Such a fee, Carroll said, was really a tax, and to tax people at one’s pleasure is to strike at the root of liberty itself.

His opponents could not help themselves. Since Carroll spoke for the great majority of his fellow Marylanders, they had to attack the man more than the message. Amidst a barrage of ridicule and calumny, Charles Carroll stood up and proclaimed forgiveness. He and his fellow Catholics, he said, had forgotten their resentment of the treatment they had received from the Protestants. For Maryland had been founded by a Catholic family, the CALVERTS, AND HAD GUARANTEED FREEDOM OF RELIGION FOR ALL CHRISTIANS, UNTIL PROTESTANT SETTLERS TOOK OVER AND ANNULLED THE ORIGINAL CHARTER.

John Adams, no friend to popes and not free in his praise, wrote glowingly of Carroll, noting his zeal and his bravery, and how much he was risking from the vengeance of the British administration: “But he continues to hazard his all: his immense fortune, the largest in America, and his life.”  He was indefatigable. He was a member of the War Department. He spent time with Washington at Valley Forge. He helped to fund the war. Most important, without him, AMERICA MIGHT NOT HAVE SECURED HER ALLIANCE WITH CATHOLIC FRANCE: NO COUNT DE ROCHAMBEAU AND HIS FLEET, NO SURRENDER OF THE BRITISH AT YORKTOWN.

PRESIDENT CARROLL?

…..As Washington’s first term neared its end, many people thought that his logical successor should be Charles Carroll, deeply learned, unimpeachably honest, and devoted to the welfare of his country.

But thought there never was a President Carroll, Americans owe their presidency in part to Carroll’s ingenious compromise.  HOW SHOULD we elect our president?  Directly? By the people, or by their representatives in state legislatures?  Might the president be the winner of a plurality only, or must he have a majority? What method will respect the individuality of the states, the will of the people, and the sense of the nation as a whole?  For the president is not just the head of a party.

CARROLL, IT’S SAID, THOUGHT ABOUT HOW THE College of Cardinals select a pope-cardinals representing many nations and voting often by national blocs.  The trick is to gain a majority of those electors; and hence was born the Electoral College, that element in the Constitution that prevents American politics from degenerating into secret deals among the heads of seven or eight parties in a splintered populace.

TRUE CATHOLIC, TRUE MAN

There’s much more to say about Charles Carroll’s contributions to America as a statesman and senator. …………………………………..

After Jefferson and Adams died on July 4, 1826, the young Daniel Webster said, “Of the illustrious Signers of the Declaration of Independence there now remains only Charles Carroll……Sole survivor of an assembly of as great men as the world has witnessed….

Heaven would keep  him back another six years. He died on November 14, 1832….the last living tie to those men who staked everything they had and were, even their sacred honor, for freedom.

Information for this article came from : Bradley Birzer’s wonderful biography:  AMERICAN CICERO: THE LIFE OF CHARLES CARROLL (ISI Press).

FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM

“The reason we need to have this Fortnight for Freedom is so that we see there are threats to our ability to serve in the way we believe we are called to serve, maintaining the dignity of the persons for whom we care consistent with the convictions of our faith.”—Bishop Robert P. Deeley   from the website: http://www.portlanddiocese.net

Also, go to http://www.usccb.org  the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to get more info.

Fortnight 2015: Freedom to Bear Witness

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore at a news conference in Washington in July, 2013.  CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn“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 William E. Lori, Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, on the “Freedom to Bear Witness”. . .

The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2015, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the “freedom to bear witness” to the truth of the Gospel.

OUR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS BEING TAKEN AWAY EVERY DAY IN BITS AND PIECES, SOME PEOPLE SAY WE HAVE THE FREEDOM TO WORSHIP. SORRY BUT “WE HAVE THE FREEDOM OF RELIGION”AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE.

As Bishop Deeley said, in his Fortnight for Freedom address:  “George Washington, for example, proposed in his Farewell Address that protection of religion, not just worship, was essential for the success of the republic. He was of the opinion that a healthy civic culture could not be sustained without religion. The exercise of our religion as Catholics and Christians impels us to service outside our places of worship.”

FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM-TO SERVE—-JUNE 21 TO JULY 4

This is the 3rd year, I believe that the Catholic Church, Nation Wide, has celebrated the Fortnight for Freedom, this year the theme is “TO SERVE..   There is several reasons for the celebration and prayers, and it started because we realized that in this Country, the great United States of America, we are loosing our greatest and first right given to us in the Bill of Rights.  In fact some believe that we are in the third or fourth step in the five steps to Persecution. I will explain more another night.  You can get more information yourselves by going to http://www.usccb.org or the Maine bishops site  http://www.portlanddiocese.org. 

THE FORTNIGHT FOR FREEDOM PRAYER:  It is suggested we all say this every day.

ALMIGHTY GOD, Father of all nations, FOR FREEDOM YOU have set us free in Christ Jesus.

WE PRAISE AND BLESS you for the gift of religious liberty, the foundation of human rights, justice and the common good.

GRANT TO OUR LEADERS the wisdom to protect and promote our liberties.

BY YOUR GRACE may we have the courage to defend them for ourselves and for all those who live in this blessed land.

WE ASK THIS through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, our patroness,

AND IN THE NAME of you SON, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

WITH WHOM YOU LIVE AND reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

God Bless you all, Pray for this Country and the Religious Freedom we have a right to enjoy, and don’t be afraid to speak out when necessary.