Monday, February 20, 2012

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades - Reflections on the Assault against Religious Freedom


David Kerr wrote a good article at CNA, concerning the reflections of Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne - South Bend and the assault on religious freedom.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades watched from Rome with disappointment as President Barack Obama announced his “accommodation” to the contraception mandate last week. But that news reinforced for him that being a bishop today is about lovingly suffering for and with your flock.

Bishops from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin gathered on the evening of Feb. 10 around a television at the Pontifical North America College. Their attention was on President Barack Obama as he announced an “accommodation” to his contraception and sterilization mandate.

“I was very disappointed,” said Bishop Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, in a Feb. 17 interview with CNA. “My expectations were not high because when I heard the word ‘compromise,’ I thought to myself, ‘Well, how do you compromise on religious freedom?’ But I wanted to see what he had to say, though. I was open-minded.”

What resulted “wasn’t even an accommodation,” said the bishop, but another “denial of our rights of conscience and right to religious freedom. So it makes us very sad. I think it is something we need to fight.”

For Bishop Rhoades, being a bishop in the United States is no longer a position of “prestige or honor” but is about “loving service that includes sacrifice.”

He has been in Rome since Feb. 9 on an “ad limina” visit with 27 fellow bishops from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. As part of these visits, bishops make a pilgrimage to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul, as well as attend meetings with the Pope and numerous Vatican departments.

“Praying at their tombs was very moving, to recognize that, yeah, to follow Christ and to be a bishop today means we must take up our cross.”

That “requires us to love our enemies, you know,” he said, “and that is the hardest part, I think, of living the Gospel.”

** Read the rest HERE

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