Tag Archives: Archbishop William Lori

Summit on the Bayou

Religious liberty and the new evangelization took center stage at the Summit in Phoenix . . .

Raymond Arroyo

Raymond Arroyo

Despite its arid location, Legatus’ 2013 Summit had a distinct Louisiana flair — everything from Cajun food to a raucous Mardi Gras-themed evening presided over by the bead-tossing New Orleans native and master of ceremonies, Raymond Arroyo.

The three-day annual conference, hosted by Legatus’ Baton Rouge Chapter, drew more than 400 Legates and guests from across the country and beyond to the luxurious Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Feb. 7-9.

Religious Freedom

Speakers from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to Catholic historian George Weigel touched on the Summit’s dual themes of faith and freedom. In his Feb. 8 address, Baltimore Archbishop William Lori exhorted Legates to help the country return to its founding principles amid challenges to religious liberty. “In the spirit of the new evangelization, may I invite you to engage your network of family members, colleagues, and friends to understand more profoundly how religious freedom is threatened and to think of our political system with more than enlightened self-interest?” he asked.

Archbishop William Lori

Archbishop William Lori

The 1884 Council of Baltimore, he said, decided that there is a fundamental compatibility between the U.S. Constitution and “the Church’s understanding of the natural law.” However, Archbishop Lori noted, this view “has recently been called into question.”

The diminishing role of religion in America is leading to a different understanding of religious freedom than existed in the past, and this “is part of the challenge of the new evangelization to which Pope Benedict has called us in this Year of Faith and beyond.”

Bush, who spoke to Legates just one year after his more famous brother, talked about his conversion to the Catholic faith and how it has made all the difference in his life — both personal and political.

“But for my faith, I don’t know what the outcome [of my life] would have been,” he said. “My faith has brought me the greatest happiness of my life.”

Like many of the speakers and clergy who addressed Summit attendees, Bush said faith must inform every aspect of one’s life.

“If your faith means anything to you, it must inform your public policy,” he said. “We should encourage people in public life to stand on principle. At a time when we should be excited about the future, we have lost our optimism. I reject that completely.”

Call to Evangelize

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

In his homily at St. Thomas the Apostle parish, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted told Legates that the Church — and Legatus’ mission statement — asks them to be formed in the faith and to go out to the world as missionaries and evangelists.

“Legatus means ‘ambassador,’ one sent on a mission, an apostle,” he said. “At the end of every Mass, we are sent forth on this mission.”

Along with Bishop Olmsted and Archbishop Lori, Summit-goers attended Masses celebrated by Bishop Sam Jacobs, Legatus’ international chaplain; Cleveland Auxiliary Bishop Roger Gries, chaplain of Legatus’ Cleveland Chapter; and Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

Other speakers included Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Relevant Radio’s Fr. “Rocky” Hoffman, author Matthew Kelly, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, and Los Angeles Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti.

Legates were also treated to a presentation of Legate Jason Jones’ new film Crescendo; a sneak peak of the History Channel’s The Bible, a mini-series produced by Hollywood super-couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; a panel discussion on religious freedom; and Evangeline, a full-fledged stage musical.

Ken Cuccinelli

Ken Cuccinelli

The Summit was an uplifting and faith-building experience, Legates agreed.

Salvatore and Josephine Caruso, members of the San Jose Chapter, attended their first Summit. The experience helped the couple to be “fortified in our faith and to better understand our responsibilities in our faith,” he explained. “As lay persons, what are our responsibilities? Faith is not something you just keep to yourself personally. It’s something you use in society for the greater good.”

Joe Melançon, who chaired the Summit with his wife Paula, said he was pleased with the way Legates responded to the event’s Year of Faith theme — The Door of Faith: A Summons to a Deeper Conversion.

“My greatest hope is that they, like Paul, will have a summons to a deeper conversion,” he said.

Tom Moran, a member of Legatus’ Orlando Chapter since 2006, said the Summit was a remarkable call to action. “It was encouraging direct action and involvement not by scare tactics, but by giving sound, intellectual basis for concern,” he said.

Keith Tigue of the Phoenix Chapter not only enjoyed having a Legatus Summit in his hometown, but was encouraged by the speakers and the entire Legatus community. More importantly, he said, Legatus helps him to be a better businessman.

“As business leaders, we really have to narrow down on what [God wants] and get out of the way and let God work through us and the dream He has given us in our business.”

In particular, Tigue said, Matthew Kelly’s talk on “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” inspired him to do more. “It made me realize that I’m glad I’m doing this,” he said, “but I need to do better.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor of Legatus magazine. This article contains reporting from Catholic News Agency and Ambria Hammel, staff’ writer for The Catholic Sun.

——————

2012 Award Winners

DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
Archbishop William Lori

AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
James Sheehan

OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Tom Spencer

COURAGE IN THE MARKETPLACE
Ken Cuccinelli, Bill & Andy Newland, Weingartz Family, Christopher & Mary Ann Yep

BOWIE KUHN SPECIAL AWARD FOR EVANGELIZATION
Mike Caspino, John Reid

CARDINAL JOHN J. O’CONNOR PRO-LIFE AWARD
Richard Doerflinger, Chuck Donovan, Michael Schwartz

ANGOTT AWARD
Baton Rouge, San Juan Capistrano

CAMPBELL AWARD
Western Massachusetts, Lexington, South Bay of Los Angeles, Detroit Northeast, Fort Worth

Freedom fighter

A 2013 Legatus Summit speaker, Baltimore’s Archbishop Lori engages the culture . . .

Imagine picking up your morning paper and reading these headlines: “Priest Fined for not Marrying Same-Sex Couple,” “Catholic Hospital Closed for Refusal to Perform Sterilizations,” and “Notre Dame University to Close, Refuses to Offer Employees Abortion Coverage.”

Though these headlines sound far-fetched, they’re not. Archbishop William Lori, Baltimore’s newly appointed archbishop, has been working day and night to make sure these headlines are never printed. He is the U.S. bishops’ point man on religious freedom — an issue that grows more pressing by the day, despite the fact that it’s all but ignored by the mainstream media.

Secular erosion

Archbishop Lori has been the chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty since September 2011. He led last summer’s “Fortnight for Freedom” and speaks regularly to Catholics and the news media. He has testified before Congress several times.

“In the past, there was much more overtly anti-Catholic activity in this country,” he told Legatus magazine. “Today, things are more under the surface. The dangerous things happen behind the curtains. This is why it’s so important for us Catholics to reveal what’s going on and to hold officials accountable for making rules which are anti-Catholic and anti-religious.”

The issue of religious liberty affects an enormous array of human activity, which is why Archbishop Lori believes it’s so important to engage the culture.

“There are challenges to religious liberty in every state with same-sex ‘marriage,’” he said. “Catholic social services are being discriminated against because they don’t offer contraception. Student groups are being decertified because of their Christian principles. There is also the ever-present battle to take all religious symbols out of the public square. Individuals sometimes find their professional licenses revoked because of their Christianity.”

Archbishop Lori, who will be speaking on religious freedom at the Legatus Summit in February, said the threats to our first freedom take place on many levels, especially the judicial and legislative. But the biggest challenge is cultural.

“As secularism takes hold, more and more people marginalize the faith,” he said. “This is when religious liberty is imperiled.”

Solutions

As the bishops’ leader on religious freedom, Archbishop Lori offers various solutions.

“First, like the pro-life movement, we need to pray,” he said. “This must be the engine that drives the protection of religious liberty. Right now we have a rosary novena going on, and there is a national prayer for religious liberty. I foresee that this fight is going to take a long, long time.”

He also believes that Catholics must continue to engage their elected officials. They must write to members of Congress and demand legislative relief.

“It’s good for bishops to testify before Congress, but it’s better for them to hear from the faithful,” he said.

Archbishop Lori believes that Catholics must also become better informed about the issues affecting the Church in the public square.

“It’s sadly apparent that many Catholics are not informed [of the government’s hostility to the Church] because schools and hospitals are still open. It’s not as if these buildings are being burned. But this is a fight which is below the surface through subtle instructions. When you analyze it, it’s a sea change. It’s a real alteration of the way in which the Church and state interact.”

In addition, Catholics must better understand Church teaching and then impart it to others. “The new evangelization takes stock of the new situation in which the Church finds herself, how people find happiness, how they communicate, what they regard as important, where there is brokenness. It’s helping to see how the Gospel responds to our questions, concerns and emptiness.”

Archbishop Lori recalls how Pope John Paul II said that we must show how Jesus is the answer to every person who comes into the world: Jesus is the answer to the needs of every heart.

There are a number of good books, he said, that explain limited government and religious freedom — such as Archbishop Chaput’s Render Unto Caesar. Catholics must equip themselves to speak knowledgeably on this issue.

Catholics can also join legislative networks — like their own state’s Catholic conference. And the U.S. bishops have a text message campaign for religious freedom. If you text the word “freedom” to 377377, you will receive regular texts directly from the USCCB.

Tackling the Issues

The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is enemy No. 1 for Catholics who value religious liberty. The mandate demands that all businesses offer employees health insurance that provides contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. Religious organizations are exempt if they serve only members of their faith and exist only to propagate their faith’s doctrine.

“The HHS mandate goes too far,” said Chris Gunty, associate publisher of the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper. “Because Catholic Charities hires people who are not Catholic and serves people who are not Catholic, they are not exempt.”

In fact, every Catholic hospital, university, and charity could be fined excessively under the mandate, forcing them to close.

More than 100 plaintiffs in more than 35 lawsuits are fighting the mandate in court, said Kim Daniels, co-director of Catholic Voices USA. “Archbishop Lori has been a tremendous leader in defending religious freedom. He’s been involved in this issue for a long time, and he’s really engaged.”

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor for the Catholic Association, agrees. “He has been everywhere on this issue. The bishops have called for lay people to get involved in this fight, but the flock needs a shepherd. And he has been an incredible shepherd. His leadership has been stellar and invaluable.”

Archbishop Lori also led the fight to defeat Maryland’s same-sex “marriage” ballot measure. However, it failed on Nov. 6, losing by a narrow margin (52-48%). “We will continue to witness to the values of marriage … the union of one man and one woman, as the most sound, secure and loving way to bring children into the world,” he said in a statement.

Though Maryland law allows religious organizations to opt out of renting property or performing services for gays, Archbishop Lori knows there are deeper problems. Once a state allows gay “marriage,” religious liberty begins to erode.

Gunty, a member of Legatus’ Baltimore Chapter, concurs. “There was a bed and breakfast in Vermont that refused to rent their location for a same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremony. They were sued. The ramification is that they can’t rent out their facility for anything anymore.

When same-sex ‘marriage’ becomes the law of the land, then to hold another opinion becomes politically incorrect, and people will take action against you.”

Archbishop Lori says the fight for religious liberty will be an ongoing battle — and it will require lay leadership, and Catholic business leaders will be invaluable.

“People are looking for leadership,” he said. “If a person is a leader in business, for example, and a totally committed Catholic, they can give a reason for their hope. The way we overcome indifference is by a burning love for Christ and by asserting that faith confidently.”

Sabrina Arena Ferrisi is Legatus magazine’s senior sta“ff writer.

————–

Your invitation to the 2013 Summit

Jeb Bush

The clock is ticking down to Legatus’ 2013 Summit — and excitement is building toward the Feb. 7-9 event at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. Because a capacity crowd of more than 500 participants is anticipated, organizers suggest booking a room as early as possible.

“The schedule is full of speakers that will entertain, educate and enrich our spiritual lives,” said Laura Sacha, Legatus’ conference director. “Even though we will be in Arizona with the desert as our backdrop, we will be immersed in the Louisiana culture as our host, the Baton Rouge Chapter, brings their flavor to the Summit.”

Jose H. Gomez

The Summit’s theme, “The Door of Faith: A Summons to a Deeper Conversion,” takes its inspiration from Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith). The roster of speakers and special guests is impressive. Confirmed faculty include:

• Gov. Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and convert to the Catholic faith

Matthew Kelly

• Baltimore Archbishop William Lori

• Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez, Legatus’ ecclesiastical advisor

• Legatus’ international chaplain Bishop Sam Jacobs, Houma-Thibodaux (La.) diocese

• Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted

• George Weigel, papal biographer and author of Witness to Hope and The End and the Beginning

Ken Cuccinelli

• Catholic author and motivational speaker Matthew Kelly

• Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb), author of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

• Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general

• Tommy Lasorda, former L.A. Dodgers manager

• Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, formerly Rosalind Moss, a convert form Judaism and foundress of the Daughters of Mary, mother of Israel’s Hope

• Mike Piazza, former Major League Baseball catcher with the New York Mets, L.A. Dodgers, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres and Oakland A’s

• Fr. Frank “Rocky” Hoffman, executive director of Relevant Radio

• EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, master of ceremonies

###

The Year of Faith

Pope Benedict asks Catholics to go deeper in Church teaching by studying Creed, Catechism . . .

Pope Benedict XVI

In the midst of the darkness of secularism and challenges to long-held beliefs about life, sexuality and religious freedom, Pope Benedict XVI is asking Catholics to rekindle the light of faith.

Beginning Oct. 11, the Holy Father is calling the Church into a Year of Faith — a time of focused examination of the Creed and study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The year coincides with the council’s 50th anniversary, the 20th anniversary of the Catechism’s promulgation, and a Synod of Bishops to be held Oct. 7-28 on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

The reset button

“It’s not meant to be a gimmick where we say, ‘Let’s do a year when we talk about the faith,’” said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. “What year don’t we talk about the faith?”

Rather, he said, the Year will be a time to understand what Vatican II really meant and how it has led to the renewal of teaching the faith itself in a way that resonates with scripture, the Fathers of the Church, the councils, and the great spiritual masters.

Archbishop Lori said the Holy Father is asking Catholics during this Year to recommit themselves to teaching the faith in a way that is centered on the person of Jesus Christ, to embrace their vocations in a new and vibrant way, to win back those who are lost, to build a civilization of truth and love, and to evangelize cultures.

Archbishop William Lori

“It’s sort of like pressing the reset button,” he told Legatus magazine.

In announcing the Year of Faith on Oct. 11, 2011, Pope Benedict wrote in his apostolic letter Porta Fidei: “Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel — especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing.” He observed that Christians can no longer take for granted that faith is “a self-evident presupposition for life in society.”

Indeed, Catholics are regularly seeing new assaults on their faith whether it be efforts to force a redefinition of marriage or the U.S. government mandate requiring businesses and institutions, regardless of their religious beliefs, to cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.

Catechetical opportunity

Legate Michael Warsaw, president of EWTN, the global Catholic television and radio network that also publishes the National Catholic Register, said it’s providential that the American Church is facing a religious liberty battle as the Year of Faith begins. The observance, he said, can be an opportunity to address Catholics who do not understand what’s at stake theologically and morally because they have not been properly catechized.

Michael Warsaw

“If the Church is going to have an impact on the secular culture, if we’re going to be able to hold back or stem the tide of increasing secularization here and around the world, we have to have a Church of committed believers not afraid to express their faith and what the Church teaches within the public square,” he said.

Father John Wauck, professor in the School of Church Communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, said the observance is more than an antidote to the problems besetting Catholics. “The Year of Faith,” he said, “is the opening salvo in a vast apostolic campaign to offer the Christian faith anew to a world that has lost its sense of direction.”

This will require that Catholics know their faith well and are ready and eager to communicate it. “In every age,” Fr. Wauck said, “the Church’s answer to the upheavals and challenges of the day is always the same: sanctity — holy men and women. That is what the Church and the world need most today.

“We cannot have a new generation of saints,” he added, “unless we are embracing and transmitting the faith in all its fullness. That’s what the Year of Faith is all about.”

Going deeper

As part of the Year, Pope Benedict is asking Catholics to make public professions of the Creed. Father Wauck said this is important because “now, in our world, faith is looking for a voice. In the contemporary cacophony of confusion and doubt, the Catholic faith needs to be heard in the public square, in the marketplace, in the home, on the Internet. So by making a public profession of the Creed, each one of us can give our faith the voice it so badly needs.”

In addition, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has made pastoral recommendations for observance of the Year by the universal Church, bishops’ conferences, dioceses and parishes. They include:

• For all Catholics, making pilgrimages to Rome, the Holy Land and Marian shrines

• For bishops’ conferences, publication of literature to help Catholics better respond to questions about the faith

• For dioceses, organizing study days on the Catechism, catechetical events and dialogue with nonbelievers

• For parishes, renewed commitment to distributing the Catechism and other resources appropriate for families

EWTN’s Warsaw said the network will broadcast the Year of Faith’s opening Mass from Rome along with other papal events associated with the observance. Additionally, various guests on EWTN’s programs will talk about the Year, and special programming will include a series of weekly reflections.

Peter Murphy of the USCCB Office of Evangelization and Catechesis said as part of the Year, his office already has produced and posted several 45-second videos featuring personal faith testimonies. To help Catholics bolster their understanding of the faith, the USCCB’s website — which has links to the Vatican Year of Faith website, Vatican II documents, and the Creed — has enhanced its link to the Catechism and plans to set up a link to the United States Catechism for Adults.

“For many Catholics who have been going to church for years, this is a chance to grow deeper in our faith, even rediscover the faith, with a new depth and passion,” Murphy said. “Anytime we talk about evangelization, the Church says we need to be evangelized before evangelizing others. The Year of Faith is an opportunity for Catholics to be evangelized, then hopefully be propelled with joy-filled witness to go out and share the faith with others.”

“One year won’t do it,” Archbishop Lori said, “but getting all of us firmly committed to the mission of the Church on the same page and praying and working for this can do a lot. I think this will bear good fruit in the short term and the long term.”

Judy Roberts is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Year of Faith Resources

Official Vatican Year of Faith website

Official Year of Faith Facebook page

USCCB Year of Faith website

Year of Faith Plenary Indulgence

Year of Faith logos (downloadable)

Pope Benedict XVI’s “Porta Fidei” apostolic letter

Bishop Sam Jacobs: Year of Faith is a Call to Love