In a June 21 column in the Catholic Star Herald, Msgr. Roger McGrath, vicar general for the Diocese of Camden, wrote powerfully on the importance of religious liberty. The column coincides with the start of the “Fortnight for Freedom,” a two-week period of prayer, education and action related to religious freedom designated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The idea for the Fortnight was sparked by a mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which requires almost all employers to pay for contraception coverage and abortion-inducing drugs.
Msgr. Roger’s biggest problem with the mandate is that while it exempts religious organizations that are entirely composed of and provide services to “co-religionists” (so, in our case, only Catholics), religious organizations that provide services to non-Catholics are not exempt. This is an attempt by the government to define what constitutes religious activity.
He wrote: “As Americans, we value religious liberty. As Catholics, inspired by the Gospel message of Matthew 25, we believe that religious liberty is not simply limited to how we worship but also how we live out the Gospel. We will continue to minister to all, not because everyone is Catholic, but because we are, and we will continue to insist that government honor this core belief.”
We sat down on Thursday to talk about the Fortnight and how Catholics can observe it this year.