5 Catholic Missions Worth Protecting
From June 21 to July 4, the United States bishops celebrate the Fortnight for Freedom. Highlights will air on CatholicTV over these two weeks. During this annual event, the bishops call on Catholics to pray, reflect, and take action on issues that relate to religious liberty, both in the United States and around the world. At a time when Christians are persecuted in several countries and religious liberty is being restricted in our own country, the Fortnight for Freedom is more important than ever.
Here are five important missions the Church fulfills in the United States that are affected by religious freedom restrictions today, but need to be protected:
Catholics have a long tradition of serving the sick and following Jesus’ example of healing. Catholic hospitals abound, and there are many faithful Catholics who work in the medical field and dedicate their lives to healing those who are in need. Today, both Catholic hospitals and individuals face pressure to perform or participate in procedures that go against Catholic teachings. Two of the biggest issues in this area are abortion and euthanasia. These life-ending procedures are clearly against Church teachings, and they are opposed to the Catholic understanding of healing. In order to continue truly healing the sick, Catholic individuals and institutions must not be pressured by legal or social means to violate their beliefs by performing procedures like abortion and euthanasia. You can help by getting involved with Human Life Action.
2. Care for Immigrants
All over the world today, we are facing a crisis of severe violence that has led to an unprecedented number of refugees who have been forced to leave their homes. In addition to refugees fleeing violence and persecution, there are many others immigrating for economic, personal, or other reasons. Catholics are called to welcome the stranger, which means doing all that we can to make displaced or immigrating persons feel comfortable and have equal opportunities in their new country. With limits to how many refugees are allowed into the country and penalties for providing certain aid to people who are undocumented, it is more and more difficult for the Church to carry out this mission. Catholic organizations should have the freedom to care for and welcome immigrants. Learn more by getting involved with Justice for Immigrants.
As Catholics, we put great importance on the family and a strong familial foundation. In accordance with this belief as well as our pro-life beliefs, adoption has become a major Catholic mission. Catholic organizations seek to place children in homes with two married parents, a mother and a father. However, when the legal definition of marriage includes same-sex couples, the law attempts to force organizations to include these couples as adoptive parents. When a situation like this occurs, Catholic organizations have to choose between violating their beliefs about marriage and ending their adoption ministry. Ultimately, this harms the children who are most vulnerable. Learn more about this issue with this fact sheet from the USCCB.
Education is a long-standing ministry of the Church. Catholic parochial schools, high schools, and universities are all over the country and the world, helping the Church not only to form the whole person, but also to bring educational opportunities to populations that might not otherwise have them. However, some current issues are making it harder for Catholic schools to fulfill their mission. Gender ideology, for example, has taken a hold in the public square, leading some people to put pressure on schools to violate Church teachings on human sexuality. Additionally, laws and court decisions are requiring Catholics schools to hire individuals who go against Church teachings. Together, these pressures are making it more difficult for schools to create the right environment to carry out their ministry. You can learn more about religious freedom in Catholic education from the USCCB.
5. Care for Pregnant Women
As part of the consistent ethic of life that underlies pro-life ministries, the Church operates crisis pregnancy centers around the country. These centers aim to provide healthcare, basic necessities, counseling, and other services to pregnant women who might otherwise abort their babies. Some pro-choice advocates claim that these centers lie to women or endanger their health. This has led to strict requirements and a wary view of these centers that simply try to help women and children. Instead of trying to shut down organizations like Church-run crisis pregnancy centers, the law should encourage these ministries and allow them to flourish for an overall improvement in the health of women and children. Help with this mission by praying for pregnant women.
These missions, in addition to many others, are essential parts of the Church’s important work and fulfillment of the Works of Mercy. This Fortnight for Freedom, we pray that Christians will have the right to carry out these missions and serve God. We invite you to join us by praying a Rosary for Our Nation and praying for religious liberty with the USCCB's prayer card to Mary Immaculate.