Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fortnight for Freedom--The Freedom to Bear Witness

Today begins the Fortnight of Freedom in many Archdiocese/diocese in the United States.  This campaign was started four years ago by the United States Bishops to raise awareness that our religious liberties are in constant danger in the US and that Christians abroad are still being persecuted for their faith.  This year's theme is the "Freedom to Bear Witness," focusing on the freedom to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel.  The USCCB website has many resources available for the Fortnight of Freedom to help make US Christian aware of the dangers our modern society poses to religious freedom.

From the USCCB website:
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.
"[A] healthy pluralism...does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual's conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques."  --Pope Francis, Evanelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), para. 255.


O GOD OUR CREATOR,
from Your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  You have called us as Your people and given us the right and the duty to worship You, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ.  Through the power and the working of your Holy Spirit, You call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

We ask You to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.  Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of Your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in Your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome--for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us--this great land will always be "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Prayer and image: Copyright 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. 

"I cannot fail to recall the many instances of injustice and persecution which daily afflict religious minorities, and Christians in particular, in various parts of our world. Communities and individuals today find themselves subjected to barbaric acts of violence: they are evicted from their homes and native lands, sold as slaves, killed, beheaded, crucified or burned alive, under the shameful and complicit silence of so many." --Pope Francis, Address to the European Parliament, Nov. 25, 2014


5 comments:

  1. I think a lot of us who live in the Western hemisphere and even many/most in European countries do not truly grasp the horror, even terror being inflicted upon our fellow Catholics who have long been minorities in countries where Islam is the majority culture/faith. For several centuries we've been able to live and co-exist in peace, but those days seem to be quickly coming to an end - and have ended for many of our brethren.

    From my own personal view - I see it as a bit tragic that we are called to pray for peace all the time - which, is a GOOD calling - BUT - as Ecclesiastes 3:8 says - "there is a time for war and a time for peace." When the radicals in Islam are calling for war (jihad - or holy war) and see pleas for peace as merely a sign of weakness, which they exploit - then it is time to bring them what they ask for... war. They don't respect peaceful coexistence - and all they want is the complete annihilation of Israel and Western culture in general. If they won't accept peace, then we either roll over and let them kill us all, or bring them the jihad they ask for.

    To be clear here, I am not calling for a war on Islam - only for those who believe in radical Islam and have zero tolerance for those whom they declare to be "infidels." There is no appeasing them and it is utter foolishness to keep trying to appease them.

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    1. I agree that praying for peace seems to be seen as a point of weakness. The Fortnight for Freedom isn't about that however, it is to pray that our religious freedom is preserved; that we can be assured that we can practice our Faith without fear of punishment. In our nation, that freedom is slowly being taken away. Christians especially should be aware of this in our country because we are losing our rights to free speech and religion if it doesn't agree with the culture. We should be living the Gospel of Christ whether that "offends" someone or not. This is a fight for our freedoms and as well as making people aware of the martyrdom of those who are losing their lives as well as their religious freedom in many nations around the world.

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    2. I agree. I guess what my point is that those in the Middle East are at the forefront of this battle. The more "we" do nothing - the sooner that battle "moves home." As you said, it's already slowly happening in Western civilization, which is all the more reason I think we've (again) reached a "time for war." As much as I don't wish to see my children exposed to war (two of them are still in active service in our military) I also am not naive to the fact that this is WHY we have a military... to protect us and our rights. If we don't take the war to them - they will bring (and have brought) the war to us.

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  2. Psst, I think there is a type-o in the first line from the prayer "O GOD OUR CREATOR". I believe "like" should be "life".

    Great post. Thanks.

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