Archbishop Lori: Church must remain 'obstacle' to fully secular culture
Published: June 22, 2012
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- On the eve of the feast day of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori held up the two martyrs as a source of inspiration for American Catholics during a Mass June 21 launching the U.S. bishops' much-anticipated "fortnight for freedom." He said: Their courageous witness of faith continues to stir the minds and hearts of people yearning for authentic freedom, and specifically, for religious freedom." With the hope of drawing greater attention to the weakening of religious freedoms in America, the U.S. bishops called for the fortnight for freedom, which lasts through July 4, to be 14 days dedicated to prayer, education and public action. According to the parish's sacristan, more than 1,000 people from Maryland, the District of Columbia and surrounding states attended the 7 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, which Archbishop Lori called "a monument to religious freedom." The basilica was America's first Catholic cathedral, commissioned at the turn of the 19th century by America's first Catholic archbishop, John Carroll of Baltimore. Archbishop Lori celebrated the Mass with Cardinal Edwin F. O'Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and former archbishop of Baltimore; Baltimore Auxiliary Bishops Mitchell T. Rozanski and Denis J. Madden; and about 65 priests. In a homily that received a standing ovation, Archbishop Lori described the integrity St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher demonstrated as the king asked them to violate their personal consciences, calling the men symbols of two "inseparably linked" aspects of religious freedom -- the freedom of individuals and the freedom of institutions.
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