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Statement by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge for Religious Freedom Week 2020: For the Good of All — Celebrate Religious Freedom

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On June 22, the feasts of two martyrs for the faith, St. Thomas More, the patron of our diocese, and St. John Fisher, the Diocese of Arlington will join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in celebrating Religious Freedom Week.

 

This year’s observance is grounded in the theme, “For the Good of All.” And indeed, the freedom to live our lives in accordance with the tenets of our faith is a good at the service of all in our society.

 

First because it is at the core of our human rights. Without the ability to think and worship freely, what rights do we have? Our nation’s founders enshrined religious freedom in the Constitution, but our Creator engraved it upon our hearts. He promised Abraham, our father in faith, that his people could worship him without fear all the days of their lives (Lk 1:74).

 

Religious freedom also makes possible all of our ministry and service for the good of others: education, free health care for the poor, adoption, child placement, and welcoming newcomers to this country. We carry out these critical ministries because we are Catholic, and we choose, out of devotion to Our Lord, to serve in accordance with our teachings and beliefs.

 

Faith is the foundation of who we are, what we believe and how we live — and it cannot be pushed out of the public square. Yet in Virginia, especially in this year’s General Assembly, many of our ministries were threatened. Our vigilance is required. Join with me in thanking God for our religious freedom, praying for religious freedom to be upheld in this great nation, and working to ensure future generations stand on the bedrock of liberty that we made possible. Our faith makes us stronger as a nation, and the principles we uphold should always be fought “for the good of all.”

 

God bless you — and God bless America. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020