Catholic men urged to take a stand against threats to religious freedom
Published: October 17, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CNS) -- The U.S. Catholic Church has entered a "Bonhoeffer moment" in deciding how it is going to respond to recent threats to religious freedom by the federal government, said the chancellor of the Denver Archdiocese. J.D. Flynn made the comments during a keynote address at the fourth annual Rocky Mountain Catholic Men's Conference Oct. 13 at Pikes Peak Center in downtown Colorado Springs. Nearly 600 men from the archdiocese, the Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses, and surrounding states attended the event, which focused on the theme of "A Gathering of Heroes," examining what it means for men to witness their faith in their families, among friends and in the public arena. Flynn opened the morning session with a sobering look at the U.S. church's current battle over religious freedom in an aggressively secular society. One threat to that freedom, say the U.S. bishops, is the mandate in the federal health care law requiring all employers, including most religious employers, to cover the costs of contraceptives, including some that can cause abortions, and sterilizations in employee health plans. Flynn said that if Catholics want to reclaim their God-given right to religious freedom, they have to understand their faith and learn how to evangelize. He gave as an example the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a prominent Lutheran pastor and theologian who, in the summer of 1939 just months before the outbreak of World War II, came to the United States to study but returned home after just 28 days. Bonhoeffer saw the growing oppression of the Nazi administration, he said, and was torn between staying in the United States and raising funds and awareness to combat religious persecution in Germany, or returning home to do "everything he could to protect the religious liberty not only of Lutherans but of persecuted Catholics and persecuted Jews. He faced a stark choice."
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