The time is now - during this Year of Faith - for Catholics to stand up in defense of life and religious freedom and engage in the Church's new evangelization effort, deepening their faith and sharing it in their everyday lives and in the public square.
That was the message from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore in his homily in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington at a Mass that was part of the U.S. bishops' events for Respect Life Month.
He pointed to the irony of those advocating for "freedom of choice" who are trying to force people of faith to violate their religions' teachings in the HHS mandate. "Our 'right to choose' to practice the faith we profess, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment - seems to mean little or nothing to many who wield power," he said.
Secular threats to religious liberty, he said, "seem to hinge on Church teaching with regard to the sanctity of life - whether it's the immorality of abortion or marriage as between one man and one woman."
"As believers and as citizens, we must engage in the political process by voting with a properly formed conscience and by letting elected officials know that we expect them to protect the God-given rights of life and liberty," he said.
Catholics need to stand up for their faith during this critical time in our nation's history.