A timely observance

As we move closer to Independence Day and the celebration of our freedoms, the U.S. bishops are again asking Catholics to focus on the importance of religious freedom, both in our nation and around the world.

And the June 22-29 observance of Religious Freedom Week could not be more timely.

This year’s theme is “Life and Dignity for All,” and the bishops are especially mindful of the debates around the country about abortion as a U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade is anticipated. It may have already been issued by the time you are reading this.

“The Catholic Church plays a crucial role in bearing witness to the Gospel of Life and serving all who will be affected by these discussions and their outcomes,” said a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops news release.

An area of concern continues to be protecting the religious freedom of U.S. Catholic institutions “to carry out their missions with integrity” and in accordance with their religious beliefs. “In particular, protecting Catholic adoption and foster care will become even more vital, as we take new steps in building a culture of life and dignity for all in the United States,” said the bishops.

On the international scene, Religious Freedom Week comes in the same month that more than 50 Catholics were killed while attending Mass in Nigeria. The bishops also hope to raise awareness about religious liberty in China and people throughout the world who suffer for their faith.

Resources to observe these special days are available at usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek. Each day focuses on different religious liberty topics. Feel “free” to pray, reflect, and act. — Thomas J. Dermody

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