Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori opened the “Fortnight for Freedom” religious freedom campaign last Thursday during Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore, Md. The Mass, on the vigil of the feast day of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, was the start of the “Fortnight for Freedom” effort to celebrate religious liberties and to respond to the Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers, including Catholic institutions, to provide health insurance that includes birth control to employees.
In his homily, Archbishop Lori praised the religious acts and ultimate sacrifices of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy.
“Fisher, like More, found himself at odds with Henry the VIII and with the laws passed by the british parliament, which required him to take an oath, repudiating papal authority, acknowledging the king as head of the church” said Archbishop Lori.
Drawing on the struggles of the saints as an inspiration to the campaign, Archbishop Lori described the challenges of the Catholic church in the U.S. saying, “for embedded in the HHS mandate is a very narrow government definition of what constitutes a church…and if this is not removed, it will spread throughout federal law.”
“This is why the church has engaged the administration so earnestly,” he said.
43 plaintiffs, including Catholic dioceses and the University of Notre Dame, sued the federal government on May 21 in response to the HHS mandate. “This is why, thankfully, so many have filed law suits in many parts of the country,” said Archbishop Lori.
“By prayer, by education, by exercising our rights as citizens, let us never cease defending, the only notion of freedom worthy of our dignity as persons and sturdy enough to support our democracy,” he said.
The “Fortnight for Freedom” continues until the Fourth of July, culminating in Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.