Religious Liberty Lip Service

Pope Francis may be one of the most popular popes of the modern era, but is often misunderstood by the media. Francis speaks in theological terms, and our politicians and media hear with political or secular ears. It seems that the reverse is also true. In Washington, POTUS greeted the Pope at the White House saying, “So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and free from intimidation.”

What? Down the street in D.C., Obama’s Justice Department is engaged in a nasty fight against 140 religious ministries, 15 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses, and multiple Catholic universities, schools and religious orders and institutions with 56 separate federal court cases to force all healthcare plans in the United States to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

Perhaps the President missed the memo that his esteemed guest was also meeting with the Little Sisters of Poor who have made appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court for violation of their religious liberty?

The Stewardship Foundation stands with the sisters and the other litigants. We are disturbed that the President looks the Pope in the eye and says “You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely” and “people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and from intimidation.”

It appears as though the current Administration does not regard forcing nuns to pay for abortifacients as intimidation. The Pope reminds us in subtle tones, as is his way, that “we are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it.” Pray for the Pope and as he said many times while in our nation’s capital, May God Bless America!

Here Comes Francis

The Stewardship Foundation supports the right to life. We believe that the purposeful taking of the life of an unborn child, in fact all innocent human life whether born or unborn, is morally wrong. We actively support the charitable planning development offices of pregnancy crisis centers like Heartbeat International and others. And we rejoice with Pope Francis as he celebrates life with a special gift of “mercy” —the absolution of the sin of abortion for all women of the world who had abortions, and all those who assisted in some way in abortions, whether it be a spouse, medical practitioner, abortion provider, parent, or friend.

In the United States, bishops and most diocesan priests have for decades had authority to absolve the sin of abortion for those Catholics who have asked for it with a contrite heart. But in many places in the world, this is not so. So the fact that during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, starting December 8, 2015, all priests will have the authority to absolve the Catholic sin or abortion ushers in a wonderful year for spiritual renewal!

Please pray for the Stewardship Foundation as we continue to advise and council pregnancy crisis centers in matters of financial support for their mission, and pray for Pope Francis that his message this month in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia is fruitful for the faithful in the U.S.

As Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a top advisor to Francis, recently told an audience at Georgetown University, “Let us pray for the visit of our Pope Francis to the United States,” he intoned. “It won’t be easy, but it will be a great blessing.”

Official site for the Pope Francis visit to the U.S.