Washington, D.C., October 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews) – A standing-room-only crowd of an estimated 6,000 people attended the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Mass and Pilgrimage for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. last Sunday, which took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.
Catholic leaders have expressed increasing alarm about the state of religious liberty in the United States, especially as ObamaCare and the associated HHS birth control mandate loom large on the political horizon. In his homily, Archbishop Lori minced no words about the issue.
“For some time now both life and liberty have been under assault by an overarching, Godless secularism, replete with power and money, but sadly lacking in wisdom, both human and divine: a secularism that relentlessly seeks to marginalize the place of faith in our society,” the archbishop said.
“Secularism is able to make such inroads against life and liberty,” he said, “primarily because so many people have set aside their religious faith by ceasing to practice their faith or by compartmentalizing it in their lives, like elected officials who say they are personally opposed to intrinsic evils such as abortion while doing everything in their power to promote them.”
Vice President Joe Biden and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are just two of the prominent Catholic politicians who have taken controversial positions against Church teaching in recent months.
The bishop mentioned the HHS mandate by name, pointing out that “many of the secularist threats to religious liberty seem to hinge on the Church’s teaching with regard to the sanctity of human life.”
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He reserved some of his strongest words for legalized abortion. “Asserting its power over what reason, science and faith tell us about the humanity of the unborn child, secular culture for the past 40 years has assailed innocent human life through abortion, made legal by the infamous 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade,” the bishop said.
“Since then, over 50 million unborn children have lost their lives through abortion, and now the secularist assault on human life threatens the chronically and terminally ill and the frail elderly by the promotion of laws in various states to legalize physician-assisted suicide.”
Despite the thousands-strong turnout for the event, it was largely ignored by local and national media, in marked contrast to the heavy coverage of the much smaller Occupy Washington protests late last year and earlier this year.
MRC-TV, an affiliate of Media Research Center, posted a video on its website showing the large crowd at the Basilica after the Mass. The caption below the video noted, “An estimated four to six thousand people attended, with no mainstream media in sight to cover the event.”