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Cardinal Dolan deplores attacks on places of worship in Religious Freedom Day message | National Catholic Registry

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Religious Liberty Day commemorates the adoption in 1786 of the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty, “to protect the right to individual conscience and religious exercise and to prohibit the compulsory support of any church.”

NEW YORK, NY – Attacking places of worship and religious art is like attacking the community that prays there, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said ahead of Religious Freedom Day, observed Jan. 16.

“For nearly two years, U.S. bishops have noticed a disturbing trend of vandalism of Catholic churches and destruction of statues,” Cardinal Dolan said in a Jan. 14 statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. . Cardinal Dolan is the chairman of the USCCB Religious Liberty Committee.

“We are not alone. Our friends from other religious groups are also experiencing these explosions, and for some communities they are happening much more frequently,” he said.

“An attack on a place of worship is certainly an attack on the particular community that gathers there. It is also an attack on the founding principle of America as a place where all can freely practice their faith,” Cardinal Dolan said. “And it’s an attack on the human spirit, which yearns to know the truth about God and how to act in the light of the truth.”

Cardinal Dolan praised the “great tradition of religious freedom” in the United States, which has “allowed beauty to flourish”, for the benefit of all.

Religious Liberty Day commemorates the adoption in 1786 of the Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty, “to protect the right to individual conscience and religious exercise and to prohibit the compulsory support of any church.”

Cardinal Dolan said in his statement that “various religious communities have built beautiful houses of worship, adorned with stained glass, statues and symbols of faith, in the earthly reflection of the glory and majesty of God.”

“Amid popular culture that too often satisfies our basest appetites, sacred art and architecture call us all to ponder ultimate things. All Americans benefit from these religious displays.

Religious art, Cardinal Dolan said, “reminds us that we live fully when we direct our lives to our Creator and our neighbors.” The destruction of this art and other sacred things, he explained, “degrades our life together and harms the common good”.

Recently, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the National Shrine Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC was defaced by a vandal. In response to vandalism and in honor of National Religious Freedom Day, the shrine will host a rosary on January 16. that all religious communities would be free to pray without fear and continue to bless this great country.

“On this National Religious Freedom Day, let us resolve to promote religious freedom for all and honor the place of the sacred in both our lives and our landscapes,” he said.