"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
The First Amendment of the US Constitution
Why Religious Freedom?
Religious liberty has been the cornerstone of our country, it was so important that it was framed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The vision held by our Founding Father was for a separation of Church and State so that religious freedom could be ensured.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that all men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and that no one may be forced to act against his convictions, nor restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public. This right is based on the very nature of the human person. (cf. 2106)
In a message during the World Day of Peace, 2011, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had this to say:
"Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. To deny or arbitrarily restrict this freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person; to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust, inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family."
Our roots, both civic and religious recall that we are a people guided by the loving providence of God. Yet, little by little our First Amendment rights have come into question by our civil authorities. The Constitution has been interpreted to mean God, religious conviction and morality have no place in public life or public policy. Does this build a society of goodwill among all people when the society admits of no spiritual principle of integrity or no moral bond of cohesion?
During this time when our Religious Liberty is threatened by new mandates from our government leaders, let us pray for the guidance and wisdom of God for our nation's governing body, and the courage to stand up for and defend the truths of our faith. In God We Trust!
STATEMENT REGARDING THE HHS MANDATE
In union with the Catholic Bishops of the United States, the Sisters of Our Mother of Divine Grace join with other citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, in calling upon our government to protect and defend the rights and freedoms upon which our nation was founded. We believe that our first and most fundamental freedom, the right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience, is gravely violated by the ruling announced by the Department of Health and Human Services. The accommodation later announced by President Obama neither respects nor safeguards our rights or the rights of others.
We join our bishops, other religious leaders and concerned citizens in calling for the mandate to be rescinded and for the broadening of a religious exemption. In love for our country, we continue to pray for a renewed zeal for truth and for the preservation of our God'given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are integral to our identity as a nation. In His mysterious Providence, may God be at work in this critical moment in our history to "make all things new" (cf. Revelation 21:5)
Please join us in asking the protection of God upon our country, and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of America, in defending, supporting, and and maintaining our freedom of conscience.
For more information on how you can actively get involved in promoting religious freedom through prayer and other good works, check out the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's website.