In union with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Religious Liberty Week, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated a Mass for Religious Liberty at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington on June 23, the day after the solemnity of the patron saint of the church.
With this year’s theme “Life and Dignity for All,” Bishop Burbidge said in his homily, “we will never tire of protecting the unborn child and the sanctity of all human life.”
Bishop Burbidge discussed current threats to religious freedom, including attacks on Catholic churches around the world and specifically attacks in the United States in response to the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
In light of the impending decision, Bishop Burbidge urged Catholics in the diocese to continue to promote the faith and promote the work of Catholic charities that support pregnant women and their children.
“We must ensure that no government interference will ever deter us from doing this work according to beliefs that we hold firmly,” Bishop Burbidge said.
With the USCCB documenting over 100 attacks on Catholic churches since 2020, Bishop Burbidge stressed, “We are at a critical juncture.”
With the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24, Bishop Burbidge recalled that the persecutors of St. John the Baptist did not ask him to deny Christ but rather told him to be silent. With St. John’s refusal to do so also came his martyrdom; Bishop Burbidge encouraged Catholics to adopt this courageous attitude as well and to vocalize their faith.
For the remainder of Religious Freedom Week, Bishop Burbidge urged Catholics to do three things: pray, reflect and act. He encouraged Catholics to pray for the prayer intention for the day of Religious Freedom Week, “for all those who attack our churches and threaten those who live their faith.”
For reflection, Bishop Burbidge urged the faithful to reflect on the lives of the saints and all those who died to protect religious freedom. Finally, in his call to action, Bishop Burbidge said now was not the time to be silent, but rather to “bravely take our faith into the public arena and elect those leaders known for their support of religious freedom and the protection of all human life”. “In doing so, Catholics will not remain silent, as the executors of St. John the Baptist would have liked, but rather promote and defend the faith, reminding the world of the continued presence of the Church, he said. declared.