Dec 7, 2012 / 12:21 am
The U.S. bishops have announced a five-part pastoral strategy that is aimed at creating a movement dedicated to penance and prayer for a renewed culture of life, marriage and religious freedom.
“It’s not meant to be another program but rather part of a movement for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty, which engages the New Evangelization and can be incorporated into the Year of Faith,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
In a Dec. 6 statement, he explained that the pastoral strategy is “meant to be simple” and is essentially a call “to prayer and sacrifice.”
Approved by the bishops at their November meeting, the prayer campaign includes Rosaries, holy hours of Eucharistic adoration, fasting and a second Fortnight for Freedom event next summer.
According to a statement by the bishops’ conference, the campaign was “prompted by the rapid social movements and policy changes currently underway.”
Among these policies is the federal mandate, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that requires employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and drugs that can cause early abortions.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the mandate by religious and secular employers who argue that it violates their right to religious freedom by forcing them to facilitate products and procedures that they find to be morally wrong.
Growing concerns have also been voiced in recent months about an escalating push at both the federal and state level to redefine marriage.
As part of the new pastoral strategy, the bishops are calling on families and individuals to pray a daily Rosary, particularly for the protection of life, marriage and religious freedom in the United States.
In addition, recognizing “the importance of spiritual and bodily sacrifice in the life of the Church,” the bishops are encouraging Catholics to fast and abstain from meat on Fridays for the intention of preserving life, marriage and religious liberty. …
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December 10, 2012
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