Many federal rules, state laws and city ordinances have good intentions, he explained, but they result in the often unintended restriction of religious expression.
In addition, political discourse in much of society has shifted towards the views of “secularists who really want to exclude religion and religious values” from American life.
These challenges can be difficult to address, Archbishop Lori said, because many of the threats and restrictions are “just under the radar screen,” and consequently, “most people don't pay too much attention to them.”
Efforts to educated American Catholics of these troubling trends have resulted in a “much greater consciousness of the need to promote and defend religious liberty,” as well as “more attention to what the church teaches, and more attention to our heritage as Americans,” he said.
However, he continued, the greater public needs to be aware of the threats facing religious activity and expression.
“There's got to be a lot of neighbor-to-neighbor explaining,” the archbishop stressed.
In addition, he said, Catholics should strive to “be really great citizens, and that means participating very actively in the political process and making their voice heard.”
“When our elected officials hear from us and realize that a lot of people are paying attention, it really makes a difference.”