(CNSNews.com) - Having organized 43 plaintiffs—including the archdioceses of New York and Washington and the University of Notre Dame—to file 12 different lawsuits against the Obama administration last Monday alleging the administration is violating the religious freedom of Catholics, the Catholic bishops of the United States are now preparing Catholics for what may be the most massive campaign of civil disobedience in this country since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and early 1960s.
“Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified,” the bishops state in a document developed to be inserted into church bulletins in Catholic parishes around the country in June.
“Every effort must be made to repeal them,” the bishops say in the document, which is already posted on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”
The bulletin insert reminds Catholic parishioners that the bishops have called for “A Fortnight of Freedom”—which they have described as “a special period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action”—to take place from June 21 to July 4.
The bishops have noted that June 21, when this fortnight will begin, is the Vigil of the Feast of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More. Fisher was a Roman Catholic cardinal whom the English monarch Henry VIII beheaded in 1535 after he refused to act against his conscience and take an oath asserting that Henry was the supreme authority over the church in England. That same year, Henry VIII also beheaded Thomas More, his former chancellor, for the same reason.
The sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate is set to go into effect for most health-care plans on Aug. 1, about four weeks after the bishops' "Fortnight of Freedom."
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