Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty: Why You Should Care

Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. 

If these aren’t already in your daily prayer intentions, then consider this post a letter to you from me.

This month marks 40 years of legalized abortion in the US.  And around this time every year, a flurry of voices (especially in the Catholic world) take the opportunity to talk about the right to life, and what we can all do to help.  This year, Time Magazine has entered into the discussion, acknowledging what we’ve been saying for years: The tide is turning.


Still, 40 years is too long a time; and the battle is not won yet (at least not this side of heaven).  Pray for the end of abortion.


Last November, a number of states moved in the direction of redefining marriage.  I’d like to share an important quote from the first two pages of a book I am reading, entitled, “What is Marriage?  Man and Woman: A Defense” 

“What we have come to call the gay marriage debate is not directly about homosexuality, but about marriage: It is not about whom to let marry, but about what marriage is….

The conjugal view of marriage…is a vision of marriage as a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond, distinguished thus by its comprehensiveness, which is, like all love, effusive: flowing out into the wide sharing of family life and ahead to lifelong fidelity.  In marriage, so understood, the world rests its hope and finds ultimate renewal.

A second, revisionist view has informed the marriage policy reforms in the last several decades.  It is a vision of marriage as, in essence, a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity—a bond that needn’t point beyond the partners, in which fidelity is ultimately subject to one’s own desires.  In marriage, so understood, partners seek emotional fulfillment, and remain as long as they find it.”

If you’re picking up what I’m putting down, then perhaps you realize that the reality “dream wedding” shows that we watch on TV— whether they depict the marriages of same-sex or opposite-sex couples— almost exclusively propose the revisionist view of marriage described above.  What we are feeding ourselves in the culture is that marriage is merely an emotional bond distinguished only by its intensity, in which fidelity is subjective, and one that is expected to last only as long as each partner feels emotionally fulfilled.

But that’s not what marriage is.  At least, that’s not what it’s supposed to be.  This is why the answer to any of the threats on marriage we face in our culture is not simply to rail against the false idea put forward, but to propose and to strengthen the reality of true marriage and family life.  Pray for married couples and all families.

Religious Liberty

In the background of all of this in the United States is a serious threat to our first freedom: the right to religious liberty.

The HHS Mandate,… requires almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to pay for employees’ contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs regardless of conscientious objections.

To give an example, beginning this month, the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby are facing serious daily fines for refusing to comply.  Pray for the right to freely practice our faith.  Pray that the HHS Mandate is overturned.

No seriously, the Bishops have asked us all to pray and fast. 

In fact they’ve asked five things of us, in an approved pastoral strategy beginning on the feast of the Holy Family (last Sunday), until the feast of Christ the King (November 24th).  

  1. Monthly Eucharistic Holy Hour
  2. Daily Rosary
  3. Prayers of the Faithful
  4. Abstain from Meat
  5. Fortnight for Freedom

I will be writing a more detailed post on how to participate in each of these, but for now you can check out this link to the bishops’ website for more information. 

On the bright side, we know the ending to this story:  

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)