Traditional beliefs are under government attack in ways that are unprecedented in America.

On Sept. 29, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, the umbrella policy group of American Catholicism, announced the formation of an “Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.”

Why might the bishops be concerned about freedoms that are protected both in ordinary law and the Bill of Rights?

They’re worried because they have good reason to think that our current national leadership places other priorities much higher than mere constitutionally protected liberties.

In a statement released by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the president of the council, the committee’s purpose is “to address the increasing threats to religious liberty in our society so that the church’s mission may advance unimpeded and the rights of believers of any religious persuasion or none may be respected.”

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Vatican rips China for ‘intolerance’ and ‘repression’

by JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

A blistering Vatican statement today accuses China of “unacceptable and hostile acts” during a recent government-orchestrated assembly of Chinese Catholics, which it said smacked of “fear and weakness,” a “repressive attitude” and “intransigent intolerance,” producing a “grave loss of trust.”

Not only is it unusual for the Vatican to target a specific country in such public fashion, but today’s statement also ruptures the quiet diplomacy that has characterized the Vatican’s “China policy” since the papacy of Paul VI.

Most observers say the current row marks the most serious crisis in Sino-Vatican relations in recent memory, with one prominent Catholic expert on China gloomily claiming that things are headed “back to the time of Mao.”

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Out of every ten people, seven can not live their faith in full freedom.

The most persecuted religion is Christianity, with at least 200 million people suffering from discrimination. This was revealed by the report on religious freedom in the world that is published every two years by the Catholic organization “Aid to the Church in Need.”

In 21 of the 194 countries studied, there is hardly any religious freedom. The report notes that there are two types of religious persecution: one by policy and one by members of other religions.

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