Loading
Cardinals: poverty, religious freedom are part of Church's social message
By Adelaide Mena
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York speaks during a press conference at the 2012 USCCB Fall General Assembly. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York speaks during a press conference at the 2012 USCCB Fall General Assembly. Credit: Michelle Bauman/CNA.

.- Pope Francis’ message of concern for the poor is one that is echoed in the U.S., as part of a robust Catholic social teaching that cares for immigrants, the unborn and the religiously persecuted, said two cardinals.

“The message has been so consistently a message of social concern,” explained Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C.

He explained that “sometimes the spotlight will focus on one aspect of the teaching,” and the emphasis is currently moving towards “the needs of the poor.” However, this does not mean a change in Catholic teaching, he said, pointing to the Church’s long history of social justice advocacy in the U.S., which was influential in forming institutions and legislation in the country. 

This focus may seem new because of the ability to overlook the poor in the United States, he said, observing that because the country is relatively well-off, “I think at times we don’t always see the needs of people right here in our own country.”

Part of the Church’s great task is teaching the Gospel message “in a world that is constantly changing” and hostile at times, the cardinal noted.

“All of that has to be done in the context of God’s love for us,” he continued.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the bishops’ conference, agreed.

Poverty “has been a constant, constant concern since the founding of the Conference of Bishops,” he said.

Throughout the course of his three-year presidency, the cardinal explained, he has received “griping” complaints from some Catholics who think “we’re too concerned on social justice issues,” such as poverty, immigration, and education.

“I hope we are hung up on that, because we’re supposed to, because that’s what Jesus asked us to be,” he stressed.

The cardinals spoke at a Nov. 11 press conference after the first general session of the U.S. bishops’ conference fall general assembly in Baltimore.

They also discussed the importance of international religious liberty, which was a focus of Cardinal Dolan’s presidential address to the bishops.

The cardinal connected international religious freedom with efforts to defend religious liberty at home.

“We’ve achieved such unity, we’ve achieved such enthusiasm, we’ve achieved ecumenical cooperation and we’ve achieved such interest, that it’s raised our conscience to say that we can’t stop here,” he explained.

While threats to religious liberty in the U.S. – such as ongoing challenges posed by the federal contraception mandate – are “real and genuine,” they are not as “graphic and dramatic” as the threats to religious liberty faced elsewhere, he continued.

“As important and as high of a priority as our defense of religious liberty is, in comparison with what other nations are going through, it pales.”

International bishops have approached the U.S. bishops to “say to us ‘thank you for the attention you’re giving to the protection of religious freedom, but now could you expand your solicitude to us?'” Cardinal Dolan said.

“It’s almost like an affirmation of what we’re doing at home. Now it’s time to take it to the next step.”

The fight for religious liberty in the United States is “hollow unless it’s accompanied by some type of robust solicitude for the religious freedom of those throughout the world,” he underscored. “Not only is it a matter of justice, but it’s a matter of credibility.”

Furthermore, the “attitudinal, philosophical encroachments upon religious liberty” facing the Catholic Church in America today should be taken seriously because of the importance of the United States as a “beacon” of religious freedom across the world, the cardinal stated.

He said that foreign bishops have told him that “if religious liberty crumbles in the United States, we’re going to be worse off.”

The focus of the New Evangelization “has to be the defense of the faith,” he urged.

Tags: Religious freedom, Poverty


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: