April 12, 2016
WASHINGTON–The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty has released a new video on religious freedom. "The Right to Religious Freedom" explores the foundations of Church teaching on religious liberty, including the groundbreaking Second Vatican Council document, Dignitatis Humanae.
The video also highlights the Little Sisters of the Poor, who serve the elderly poor in nursing homes across the United States. The Little Sisters and many other non-profit ministries of service await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on their challenge to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) mandate to cover contraception, sterilization and abortifacients.
"Religious freedom is foundational to our Church and to American society," said Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee. "One of the key documents of the Second Vatican Council was Dignitatis Humanae, which explained the reasons for the importance of religious freedom. This video makes clear that the Little Sisters' case must be viewed within the context of the Church's deep commitment to the right of every person to have the ability to practice their faith and choose what is right, free of government interference."
The Supreme Court has requested additional briefs from the federal government and from the challengers to the HHS mandate. The Court is expected to rule sometime in June. The bishops' Fortnight for Freedom takes place June 21-July 4. This year's theme is "Witnesses to Freedom" and will include a nationwide tour of relics of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, martyrs of the English reformation. The Fortnight will also highlight stories of several people of faith from around the world.
The video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpPh6ymIhjg, on the USCCB's religious freedom home page at www.usccb.org/freedom and at www.Fortnight4Freedom.org.