Other Resources

Dignitatis Humanae, Second Vatican Council, Declaration on Religious Freedom, 1965

Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace, Pope Benedict XVI, Message for 2011 World Day of Peace

Testimony of Most Reverend William C. Lori
Bishop of Bridgeport, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops before the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on the Constitution Oct. 26, 2011

Let Freedom Ring
A Pastoral Letter on Religious Freedom by Bishop Lori

Address at Red Mass 2009, John Garvey, President, Catholic University of America

Catholics and Latter-day Saints: Partners in the Defense of Religious Freedom, Archbishop Francis E. George, Feb 23, 2010

Bishops urge Marylanders to safeguard, defend religious freedom, Catholic News Service, Nov 10, 2011

Bishop Lori outlines religious liberty issues at fall general assembly, Catholic News Service, Nov 14, 2011

In Congressional Testimony, Bishop Ramirez Urges Greater Measures to Ensure International Religious Freedom, USCCB, Nov 18, 2011

Religious Liberty: The Pre-Eminent Social Justice Issue' of Our Time, Bishop Lori, National Catholic Register, Nov 30, 2011

A Critical Issue to be Watchful Of, Msgr. Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington blog, Jan 2

Supreme Court: Discrimination laws do not protect certain employees of religious groups, Washington Post, Jan 11

Press Release for the Religious Freedom Statement

Read the press release for the new Religious Freedom Statement.

Religious Freedom

The work of the Maryland Catholic Conference to advance the public policy interests of the Catholic Church in Maryland is made possible by the foundation laid by our Catholic forebears as early as the 16th century. We are indebted to them for their efforts, so often frustrated, to secure religious and political freedom for Catholics in Maryland.

Statement from the Maryland Bishops

Click here for an interactive PDF of Religious Freedom and the People of Maryland: A Statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland

Click here for a static PDF of Religious Freedom and the People of Maryland: A Statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland in English, or here in Spanish.

End Discrimination Against Christians

“Intolerance in the name of ‘tolerance’ must be named for what it is and publicly condemned. To deny religiously informed moral argument a place in the public square is intolerant and anti-democratic. ...
“As for the prevention and response to intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes against Christians, [the Holy See] Delegation believes that it should be seen in close connection with the promotion of religious freedom. The right to believe in God and to practice that belief is a fundamental human right, one that is central to the OSCE commitments.”

~ Bishop Mario Toso, SDB, to OSCE, May 21, 2013
Complete Text

The First Freedom

History teaches us that the right to religious liberty is fragile and must be vigilantly guarded if it is not to be lost. The Catholic bishops of Maryland -- Washington Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Baltimore Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, and Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly -- have released a statement outlining increasing threats to this cherished right and highlighting the urgent need for all people to take steps to defend religious liberty.

Watch this accompanying video to the statement on religious freedom by Cardinal Wuerl.

Protecting our Catholic conscience in the public square

By Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Published: May 23

The Washington Post

(The Archdiocese of Washington joined other Catholic organizations on May 21, 2012, in filing a lawsuit against the HHS Mandate)

From an early age, Catholics are taught to see God in their neighbor. The Catholic faith finds its fullest expression in a loving act of sacrifice by one stranger for another. Imagine the church’s surprise, then, to be told by the federal government that when a Catholic organization serves its neighbors, it isn’t really practicing its religion.

That is the unacceptable principle at the heart of a mandate, issued in February by the Department of Health and Human Services, that requires religious organizations to provide health-care coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, even if their faith teaches that those drugs and procedures are wrong. That is what has prompted the Archdiocese of Washington to go to court to protect our First Amendment right to practice our religion without government interference. Read entire article here.

Bishops Appeal Federal Decision That U.S. Constitution Forbids Religious Accommodation, Requires Abortion, Contraception Funding In Anti-Trafficking Service Contract

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed a notice of appeal April 17, asking a federal appeals court to vacate a decision by a Massachusetts federal judge declaring that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violated the First Amendment in its contract with USCCB to provide case management services to victims of human trafficking, because the contract did not require USCCB to facilitate abortion and contraception.USCCB has also requested a stay of the lower court’s decision until the appeals court can rule.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against HHS in 2009. USCCB joined the lawsuit in mid-2010 on the side of HHS as a defendant-intervenor. Read more.

Our First, Most Cherished Liberty

A Statement on Religious Liberty

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution, which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths the right to contribute to our common life together. Read entire document.