The Arlington Catholic Herald published on its front page this week the letter read on Sunday in Virginia churches from Paul Loverde, the Bishop of Arlington, and Francis DiLorenzo, the Bishop of Richmond. They urged Virginia’s Catholics to resist: “The federal government, which claims to be ‘of, by, and for the people,’ has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.”
This quote was pulled out and bolded: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.” The faithful were urged to go online and read further:
We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. We hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.
And therefore, we would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, we would also recommend visiting usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the administration’s decision.
As the bishops of Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses, we will also continue to speak with a unified voice whenever religious liberty issues surface in our commonwealth. The Virginia Catholic Conference, which represents us in the halls of state government, is currently working to ensure conscience protection for faith-based child-placing agencies and to safeguard religious liberty in other areas. Please visit vacatholic.org and sign up for the conference’s alerts and updates.
Together, we are the people — more than 700,000 of us — that form our commonwealth’s vibrant Catholic community. Standing together, we must defend our right to practice what we profess and express our concerns and convictions about religious freedom to our elected officials.