‘Religious Freedom Must Be Protected’ by Bishop DiMarzio

June 29, 2016 – Excerpted from Put Out Into the Deep, Bishop DiMarzio’s column in The Tablet:

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Since 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared a two-week period called “The Fortnight for Freedom.” This year, it takes place from June 21 to July 4, our national Independence Day.

During this time, the Bishops have asked the Church to pray, to educate themselves and to take action to defend religious freedom in our country and abroad. The theme for 2016, “Witnesses to Freedom,” focuses on the men and women of faith in our country and throughout the world who have borne witness to the authentic freedom of religion, especially when they are motivated by the love of Christ Himself.

This two-week period is a time when we can reflect on the true meaning of freedom. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America protects the right for the free exercise of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The unfortunate interpretations of the separation of Church and State recently have been that the State must be protected from religion. The fact is, it is vice versa: religion must be protected from the intrusion of the State. Truly, this is a Constitutional right that we have in our great Nation, which is known for its attention to religious freedom.

Read the full text of the Bishop’s column on The Tablet website.