CNA Staff, Oct 26, 2023 / 12:34 pm
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week acknowledged the 25th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), what the bishops called a “landmark” piece of legislation meant to protect the “essential and inviolable” principle of religious freedom.
The act, passed in 1998 and signed by then-President Bill Clinton on Oct. 27 of that year, was drafted to prioritize religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy.
The IRFA sought to “elevate religious freedom as a foreign policy goal of the United States, promote religious freedom in countries that violate this basic human right, and strengthen advocacy on behalf of individuals persecuted in other countries on the basis of religion,” the USCCB said in a press release on Wednesday.
In a joint statement, New York archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, along with Rockford bishop and Committee on International Justice and Peace chairman David Malloy, noted that the Catholic Church “has long recognized the essential and inviolable nature of religious freedom.”