The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Religious Liberty, Pro-life, Marriage, Catholic Education, and Domestic Justice committees recently issued a joint letter to share our support for laws that protect the dignity and ensure the respect that is due all people, as well as our grave concerns with the Equality Act of 2021 (H.R. 5). It began with this important statement,
“Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe because every person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion. This commitment is reflected in the Church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion, or any other characteristic. It means we need to honor every person’s right to gainful employment free of unjust discrimination or harassment, and to the basic goods that they need to live and thrive. It also means that people of differing beliefs should be respected. In this, we whole-heartedly support nondiscrimination principles to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.”
Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith. It would also inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none. The USCCB has outlined the detrimental effects of this legislation on their website. I invite you to read through the detailed information available there on the Equality Act.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, respectfully requested we all consider reaching out to our U.S. senators to urge them to oppose the Equality Act. The USCCB website provides a link on their website entitled: Take Action: Tell your elected officials to oppose it, to assist anyone interested in reaching out to their elected representatives. The Senate Judiciary Hearing is scheduled for today, March 17. It has already passed the House, making it all the more important to reach out to our senators.
The Committee’s February 23rd letter to Congress expresses its concerns on the Equality Act regarding the troubling encroachments related to sexuality and gender theory, and partial repeal of the valuable Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In addition, it also points out that the bill contains what may be construed as an abortion mandate. That letter can be found here, and more information is available at https://www.usccb.org/equality-act.
Solemnity of Saint Joseph
On Friday, March 19th the Church will celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As I have shared in several previous blogs, I have a very special devotion to St. Joseph. Personally, I connect to St. Joseph’s simplicity and unassuming, quiet role in the life of Jesus and Mary.
I will be celebrating a 7 pm Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral; those interested in attending must register prior to the Mass via this link. Additionally, this Mass will serve as the opening Mass for the 2021 Virtual Women and Men’s Conference and is among the events taking place in the Fall River Diocese during this Year of St. Joseph as proclaimed by Pope Francis. If you are unable to attend in person, the Mass will also be livestreamed on the Fall River Diocesan Facebook page.
Saint Patrick’s Day
Today, as I am sure many are already aware, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Patrick. If you have never had the opportunity to learn more about this famous Bishop from Ireland, I recommend taking some time today to do a little reading about him. Besides giving us a reason to enjoy corn beef and cabbage, St. Patrick did a great deal of good for the Catholic Church, including helping others to understand better the teaching of the Trinity with the image of the shamrock. I wish a very happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and your families.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha