CV NEWS FEED // After the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released their first Annual Report on the State of Religious Liberty in the U.S. this week, Bishop Kevin Rhoades said in a statement that “Catholics have a vital role to play in defending religious freedom and promoting the common good.”
The USCCB released the report on January 16, a day also recognized in the United States as Religious Freedom Day.
Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend stated after the report’s release, “Religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution in the First Amendment—and it is something so vital to the fabric of our country that it is often referred to as our ‘first freedom.’”
“While most of the founders of our country were not Catholic, there’s much in their vision that resonates with a Catholic understanding of religious freedom,” Rhoades continued:
At the same time, we have a distinctive voice and tradition, particularly with our understanding of human dignity, faith and reason, natural law, the common good, and the rich heritage of Catholic social teaching.
And so we Catholics have a vital role to play in defending religious freedom and promoting the common good.
The USCCB announcement adds that the report lists “a wide range of concerns, such as federal agencies misusing laws meant to aid pregnant women in order to promote abortion, threats to the safety of our Jewish and Muslim neighbors, and hostility toward ministries serving migrants and refugees, and suggests how individuals and communities can respond.”
The 48-page report details five main “threats to religious liberty in 2024.” The report lists the first threat as “attacks against houses of worship, especially in relation to the Israel-Hamas conflict.” The four following threats are:
– the Section 1557 regulation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which will likely impose a mandate on doctors to perform gender transition procedures and possibly abortions
– threats to religious charities serving newcomers, which will likely increase as the issue of immigration gains prominence in the election
– suppression of religious speech on marriage and sexual difference
– the EEOC’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) regulations, which aim to require religious employers to be complicit in abortion in an unprecedented way
“Alongside the great work that many other Catholic and religious liberty organizations are doing, I pray that this report helps raise awareness of the threats to our first freedom here in America,” Rhoades stated, “and that it helps Catholics and all people of good will contribute to the common good of these United States.”