Credit: USCCB, CatholicVote.Org
In turn, where the principle of religious freedom is not only proclaimed in words or simply incorporated in law but also given sincere and practical application, there the Church succeeds in achieving a stable situation of right as well as of fact and the independence which is necessary for the fulfillment of her divine mission. This independence is precisely what the authorities of the Church claim in society. At the same time, the Christian faithful, in common with all other men, possess the civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their conscience. Therefore, a harmony exists between the freedom of the Church and the religious freedom which is to be recognized as the right of all men and communities and sanctioned by constitutional law.
Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae), no. 13
December 7, 1965
Our Founding Fathers used only 725 words in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. They chose the first 16 carefully and well.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
The freedom to practice one’s religion publicly without government interference is one of America’s most cherished freedoms. The Federal Government’s current HHS Mandate requires Catholic institutions to violate the very religious beliefs that move them to help the poor, educate young people and care for the sick. The government has told Catholic social service organizations, universities and hospitals that they no longer qualify as religious institutions.
This is an unprecedented intrusion of government in the free exercise of religion in America.
Think about it. Talk about it. Pray over it.
- Archdiocese of Chicago
Frequently Asked Questions:
Equal treatment of Catholic Schools: Catholicism was introduced to the English colonies with the founding of the Province of Maryland by Jesuit settlers from England in 1634. However, the 1646 defeat of the Royalists in the English Civil War led to stringent laws against Catholic education and the extradition of known Jesuits from Maryland, as well as the destruction of the school they founded. During the greater part of the Maryland colonial period, Jesuits continued to conduct Catholic schools clandestinely. The American Revolution brought historic changes,and in 1782, Catholics in Philadelphia opened St. Mary’s School, considered the first parochial school in the U.S. In 1791, the ratification of the Bill of Rights, with the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, helped Catholics further cement the establishment of Catholic schools.