Priests for Life is proud to have helped organize the Rallies for Religious Freedom which occurred in some 140 different cities across America on Friday March 23. I thank my friends and colleagues Eric Scheidler (Pro-life Action League) and Monica Miller (Citizens for a Pro-life Society) for spearheading this effort, and my Priests for Life team for coordinating the New York City rally. The word we are hearing from around the country is that the rallies were well-attended, determined, and inspiring.
I am grateful also for the support we received from the Vatican. For instance, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, wrote to me, "[T]he HHS mandates is a serious threat to the rights of Catholics and to religious liberty in the United States. As the United States often sets a precedent for the rest of the world, the potentially devastating impact of this mandate is felt worldwide. The universal Church remains in prayerful solidarity with the Church in the United States during this critical time" (Letter of February 29, 2012).
Where do we go from here? May I recommend three things:
a) The prayer campaign that accompanied these nationwide rallies must continue. The bishops have designated March 30 as a special day of prayer for religious freedom, and we urge you to join the ongoing novena we have prepared at www.PrayerCampaign.org. On March 30 and beyond, let's offer these prayers in every parish, school, and family!
b) Nine lawsuits, including the one launched by Priests for Life, have been filed against this unconstitutional mandate. Inform yourself of the arguments in these cases, follow and publicize their progress, and support them. Learn about these lawsuits at www.priestsforlife.org/hhsmandate/hhs-lawsuits.pdf and sign our "Citizens' Amicus Brief" at www.RepealTheAbortionMandate.com.
c) Join upcoming educational efforts, webcasts, lobbying efforts, and rallies. This week, for instance, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments against Obamacare, and Priests for Life is helping to organize prayer vigils and press conferences at the Court through the Capitol Hill effort we co-sponsor called the National Pro-life Center (NationalProLifeCenter.org)!
Of this much I am confident: the unjust and unconstitutional mandate imposed on Americans by President Obama and his HHS will not stand!
It will be defeated, because people of conscience are standing up, taking to the streets, uniting with each other, and breaking the silence!
It will be defeated, because the Constitution of the United States is stronger than any Presidential administration!
It will be defeated, because people of faith know how to oppose injustice and to suffer any sacrifice rather than to let evil triumph!
It will be defeated, because on November 6 of this year, the people of America will go to the voting booths, and those elections will bring about real change!
The right to religious freedom, like the right to life, is rooted in the dignity of the human person. The right to life is more fundamental, of course, because one must be alive in order to be free. Together, let's defend life and liberty!