As Mark mentioned back in April, yesterday kicked off the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference’s “Fortnight for Freedom.”  As per the USCCB’s website, this is:

“special period of prayer, study catechesis, and public action [that] will emphasize both our  Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for  religious liberty.”

This is truly an unprecedented development on a variety of levels (at least in terms of recent American history), which makes media’s silence and scant coverage deafening.

It is unprecedented because, for my entire life, the Catholic Church in America was generally more “American” than “Catholic.”  Further, the American bishops (with few exceptions) were not known for their courage or outspokeness.  The “Fortnight for Freedom” might very well mark a turning point on both fronts.

Finally, the Church in America is literally making the claim that it is currently under attack by the U.S. government.  Make what you will of this claim, but it is not a claim I have ever heard uttered by the Church before in America (again – not in my lifetime).  Although critics are snickering and mocking the Church’s reaction as overblown, or pure politics, the fact that this is not something the Church in America has done in living memory undermines those characterizations.

Whether the Church is actually being beseiged by the federal government is an interesting factual question over which reasonable people can differ.  But, given the circumstances and history, fair-minded people ought not question the sincerity of the Church’s fears and concerns.

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