June 21 – Independence Day
Fortnight for Freedom 2016: Witnesses to Freedom
The martyrs give voice to what we already feel and they declare what we would like to have the strength to express. ‘ Fides et Ratio
What is the Fortnight for Freedom?
Each year dioceses around the country arrange special events to highlight the importance of defending religious freedom. The Fortnight for Freedom is from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day.
New This Year
Witnesses to Freedom
This year, we will look at the lives of more than 14 women and men of faith, from all over the world, who bear witness to authentic freedom in Christ.
2016 AMERICAN TOUR OF RELICS
The USCCB is sponsoring an American tour of the relics of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher.
Stayed tuned to see if we are coming to your city!
The Little Sisters of the Poor
On March 23, 2016 The Little Sisters of the Poor made their case in the Supreme Court for religious freedom. #LetThemServe
Find the Latest News on our homepage
Learn more, Religious Liberty at Home
Learn more, International Religious Freedom
Watch current Videos on Religious Liberty
Pray for Religious Liberty at home and abroad
Subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter, Free to Serve
- Find the Latest News on our homepage
- Check out our fact sheets on threats to religious liberty
- Take Action! Text the word FREEDOM (or LIBERTAD) to 377377 for updates
- View our photo gallery from past Fortnights
- See examples of diocesan Fortnight celebrations around the country
- Pray for religious liberty at home and abroad!
Fortnight 2015: Freedom to Bear Witness
“Keeping the spirit of the Gospel means that Catholic institutions are to bear witness in love to the full truth about the human person by providing social, charitable, and educational services in a manner that fully reflects the God-given dignity of the human person.” – Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, on the “Freedom to Bear Witness”. . .
The Fortnight for Freedom is a 14-day period of prayer, reflection and action to promote a greater understanding of religious liberty in the two weeks leading up to Independence Day. A time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs, very-courageous men who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, who died rather than deny their conscience. On June 22, we celebrate the memorial of these 2 martyrs “who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power.”
It is a time where we will pray, fast, teach and dialogue about the threats to religious liberty in or country.
The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Bear Witness will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2016
Archbishop Kurtz on Same Sex Marriage Ruling, and Where the Church Goes from here June 29, 2015, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, OSV News Weekly
Supreme Court Decision on Marriage, A Tragic Error June 26, 20145, USCCB News Release
Fortnight 2015 Sunday Homily
June 28, 2015, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Diocese of Springfield, IL
Crippling First Freedom, Fortnight Editorial June 9, 2015, National Catholic Register
Fortnight for Freedom in U.S. Church May 5, 2015, Vatican Radio
Religious Liberty and the Practice of Charity John Garvey, J.D., President, Catholic University of America
ISIS and Indiana: The Global Crisis of Religious Liberty and Catholic Responsibility Thomas Farr, Ph.D., Director, Religious Freedom Project, Georgetown University
Help Persecuted Christians and Support Traditional Families Helen Alvaré, J.D., Professor of Law, George Mason University
Religious Freedom is Under Stress, Red Mass Homily April 23, 2015, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski
Fortnight for Freedom 2014 Closing Homily
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, USCCB President, Archdiocese of Louisville
Fortnight for Freedom 2014 Opening Homily
Archbishop William E. Lori, Archdiocese of Baltimore
Join the Call to Prayer Facebook Page to receive weekly emails on prayer and fasting for religious liberty!
Why do we need the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?
Recent Religious Freedom legislation around the country has left many people confused about what the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) does – and doesn’t – do. Learn more about RFRA!
Various religious leaders, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued an open letter on April 23, 2015, entitled “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness.”
Suggested Knights of Columbus and Parish Activities for the Fortnight for Freedom
Brothers, Please let me know if you sponosor an event, holy hour or Mass
The Fortnight for Freedom There are many suggestions & activities on the USCCB website listed above, far too many, so I am suggesting that Knights of Columbus Councils along with their Chaplains and parish Priests, conduct a Holy Hour once during the 14-day period and/or celebrate a Mass with the Fortnight intentions, information is below. The solution to all our problems is in our Loving dialogue with Christ in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Prayer conquers All” and what better way for the Catholic community in our Diocese to come together in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament to ask Jesus for His grace, guidance and help in defeating the HHS mandate. Christ would love to have us spend an hour with him, miracles will happen. Listed below are some prayers, tools and suggestions for the Holy Hour:
Prayer of the Faithful (choose about 6 and keep it to about 3 lines each)
What I did in my council was to sponsor a Holy Hour for Life and Liberty in my Church. I used the information above for the readings, Intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful, the Litany for Lliberty and then silent prayer and reflection concluding with Benediction.
(will be updated in 2016) There will be a Fortnight For Freedom Holy Hour on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at 7 pm at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 10 St. Francis Way, Passaic, NJ 07055-5811
RSVP if attending the Holy Hour, refreshments will be served…programs will be printed
(OLMC Facebook Page)
This hour of prayer is open to the public, please come and join us in prayer, the church is accessible from Rts. 46, 3, 21, for map and directions, please click on the the church webpage underlined in blue a few lines above.
OLMC to host Holy Hour on Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 7 pm, All are Invited to come and pray with us. Flyer Fortnight For Freedom We must Stand up for Religious Freedom
This must be done ASAP as the HHS mandate will begin on August 1st and by then it will be too late for us do anything. 2014
Fortnight for Freedom
Video at the site.
Freedom to Serve
The Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve will take place from June 21 to July 4, 2014, a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome. The theme of this year’s Fortnight will focus on the freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with human dignity and the Church’s teaching.
Special Masses will be celebrated in Baltimore on June 21 and in Washington, D.C. on July 4. Please check your local TV listings!
Standing Together for Religious Freedom
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Dr. Russell D. Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and over 100 religious leaders and scholars released an open letter entitled Standing Together for Religious Freedom!
2013 Fortnight for Freedom: Friday, June 21 to Thursday, July 4
The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address many current challenges to religious liberty, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and religious liberty concerns in areas such as immigration and humanitarian services.
The Obama Administration’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate will begin to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on August 1. In the days to come, Congress must decide whether to address this problem through must-pass legislation before that deadline. Members of the House should be urged to co-sponsor the
and to include it in the next bill needed to keep the federal government operating. Please act today to protect conscience rights and religious liberty! Act now before it’s too late, most Americans will not know what is happening until it happens to them.
We must inform everyone with whom we are in contact, in our churches, councils, families and community. Current Threats to Religious Liberty Pope Benedict XVI spoke last year about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called religious liberty the “most cherished of American freedoms.” However, unfortunately, our most cherished freedom is under threat. Consider the following:
- HHS mandate for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs (abortifacients). The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services forces religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching. Further, the federal government tries to define which religious institutions are “religious enough” to merit protection of their religious liberty.
- Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the State of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both—because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.
- Discrimination against small church congregations. New York City adopted a policy that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for many other uses. Litigation in this case continues.
- Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. After years of excellent performance by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require MRS to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching.
- Christian students on campus. In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.
- Forcing religious groups to host same-sex “marriage” or civil union ceremonies. A New Jersey judge recently found that a Methodist ministry violated state law when the ministry declined to allow two women to hold a “civil union” ceremony on its private property. Further, a civil rights complaint has been filed against the Catholic Church in Hawaii by a person requesting to use a chapel to hold a same-sex “marriage” ceremony.
Knights of Columbus Councils are able to order these signs for $10.00 a great bargain…Signs are free, you pay the postage.
Sign #10041: “Respect Religious Freedom”
Sign #10042: “Defend the First Amendment”
Signs may be ordered from the Supply Department using a Supply Requisition (Form #1). Signs are sent in batches of 100, including 50 of each sign. The cost is $10 per 100, which covers shipping and handling. Orders may be submitted to the Supply Department by fax, at 1-800-266-6340.
Worthy Brother, If you need any assistance or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 973-779-7279 ore mail me Vivat Jesus, Peter Kueken, Jr.
- January 28, 2014, USCCB News Release
Archbishop Kurtz Welcomes Supreme Court Injunction for Little Sisters of the Poor against HHS Mandate January 24, 2014, USCCB News Release
USA Today Gets Religious Freedom Right January 14, 2014, USCCB Blogpost
Commentary: Why we’re resisting the contraception mandate. . . January 6, 2014, The Washington Post
Archbishop Kurtz asks President Obama for Temporary Relief from Burdensome Fines against Ministries of Service to the Poor, Sick and Vulnerable December 31, 2013, USCCB News Release
FAQ en espanol December 12, 2013, USCCB News Release
USCCB President Archbishop Kurtz Responds to ACLU’s Lawsuit December 6, 2013, USCCB News Release
Archbishop Lori Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Hear Two Cases on HHS Mandate November 26, 2013, USCCB News Release
President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Applauds Federal Court Ruling on HHS Mandate in Favor of Catholic Dioceses, Ministries November 22, 2013, USCCB News Release
Archbishop Lori Applauds 20th Anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act November 19, 2013, Statement by Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of the USCCB Ad-Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
- November 13, 2013, USCCB News Release
“Whether people are serving the poor elderly, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, or running a family business, like the Greens, the government should recognize that human dignity by allowing people to live out their faith absent a very strong reason…The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) guarantees this protection. Thank God for RFRA.”
– Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, KY, USCCB President
On Monday, June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in favor of Hobby Lobby and its owners, upholding the rights of Americans to live out their faith in daily life, through the closely held businesses they run. The court based its decision on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which Congress passed in 1993 with nearly unanimous bipartisan support and which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
The USCCB welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. Justice has indeed prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines.
Importantly, the Supreme Court upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: RFRA serves the common good in countless ways by maximizing religious diversity and the flourishing of civil society. In the words of USCCB President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, there is a “vital layer of voluntary associations between individual and government, which provide for so many of our needs, and so enrich our lives.” Thus, RFRA’s legal protections allow many faith-based community organizations to provide critical services to the most vulnerable members of society.
Looking ahead, we must redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom. First, we ask for continued protection of RFRA and other civil laws that protect religious freedom. We also ask for continued prayers for the protection of religious liberty. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on whether the so-called “accommodation” violates RFRA when applied to charities, hospitals, schools, or other religious non-profit entities, many of which have challenged the accommodation as a burden on their religious exercise.
Undeniably, it is an incredible blessing and privilege to have numerous ministries of service to the poor and the hungry, the sick and the dying, and we continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.
We need your support! TAKE ACTION NOW & Contact Congress!
Check out the action alert. . . and contact Congress to include conscience provisions!