This can come in the form of Catholics who are unwilling to speak in public the truth about the harms of contraception and abortion, he said.
“Faithful Catholics do not ask for any special privileges, but we insist that how we live and what we value and prioritize are already provided a secured space by the Constitution,” he reflected.
Bishop Olson wrote that John F. Kennedy’s “breakthrough as a Catholic candidate” in 1960 “came at a terrible cost, one not made fully evident until 1984, when New York Gov. Mario Cuomo spoke at the University of Notre Dame and separated faith from right reason in the political life of a Catholic public servant.”
Cuomo “relegated religious identity exclusively to the private domain, as if Catholic identity and heritage have nothing to contribute publicly,” the bishop stated.
“Consequently, someone who is more openly Catholic is often expected to leave the public square or be barred from it entirely.”
He reflected that “many public Catholics have become compliant with the media-driven and socially dominant religion of secular individualism and its demand that law and jurisprudence substitute emotivism for right reason and that medicine serve desires rather than human dignity.”
“Faithful Catholics must be neither silent nor silenced. Our moral tradition, thoroughly humane and humanizing, is available to any person of ordinary intelligence and good will,” he said.
“The Catholic commitment to right reason, drawing upon a perennial tradition of natural law, and an abiding commitment to real science — these are the things that animate bigots against faithful Catholics. Reason intrudes upon the illusions that secular ideology sells and imposes.”
Olson asserted that people raising objections to Barrett’s Catholic faith are “distorting what Catholics such as Judge Amy Coney Barrett can and should offer to America.”
“We are not asking the state to endorse our Catholic faith; we as Catholics and Americans are insisting that what we can prove by reason not be dismissed or stifled. Orthodox Catholics live that moral tradition and offer it to others. We cannot do otherwise,” he concluded.
Olson is not the first Catholic bishop to speak out against a perceived anti-Catholic bigotry in the rhetoric surrounding Barrett’s nomination.
(Story continues below)
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Archbishop Charles Chaput, emeritus Archbishop of Philadelphia, wrote in a Sept. 29 essay that “positioning dissenting Catholics as ‘mainstream Americans’ and believing Catholics as ‘extremists’” is now a “common and thoroughly dishonest culture war technique,” and “a particular affront to the free exercise of religion.”
He said that the present “hostility toward those who support Catholic teaching” should not only concern Catholics in the United States, but also “anyone who values the First Amendment.”
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, the new leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops on religious liberty, recently warned of a “soft despotism” of religious intolerance in the U.S. Hostility to public Catholicism is “treating us as somehow less worthy of full participation in the benefits of American life,” he said.