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The Beacon The Beacon_March 23 2017 : Page 2

2 | MARCH 23, 2017 | THE BEACON | DIOCESE Justice Alito: Religious freedom FROM 1 assent to a new orthodoxy.” “I assume that people of all beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the re-cesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled bigots and treated as such by governments, employers and schools,” Alito wrote in his dissent. He told the St. Paul’s audience, “It is vital to our country that we evangelize our fellow Americans about the importance of religious freedom, because if we don’t, we won’t keep the flame of religious liberty alive in this country. The United States will not be the place that it has been — the country that we love so much,” he said. The religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution followed a considerable period of anti-Catholic bigotry in the original colonies before the Revolutionary War. But that prejudice softened, largely because the predominantly Protestant colonists fought alongside Catholics and because many Catholics supported the cause of independ-ence. George Washington also promoted re-spect for all religions throughout his life — even declaring in his farewell address in 1796, “religion and morality were indispen-sable if the new republic is to thrive.” Alito said that he first noticed anti-Catholic sentiment in the U.S. as a young boy in 1960 during the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, whose victory he said “lifted me up from the status of second-class American.” In 2007, Alito experienced anti-Catholic bias personally, after he and other Catholic justices of the Supreme Court voted to up-hold the ban on partial-birth abortion. A newspaper cartoon showed the Catholic jus-tices wearing bishops’ miters, perpetuating “the old slander that Catholics could not be trusted or could not exercise independent judgment,” said the associate justice, who visited St. Paul’s with his wife Martha-Ann. Before the presentation, Bishop Serratelli greeted Alito in the mansion of the Evangelization Center with Father Paul Manning, St. Paul’s executive director and diocesan vicar for evangelization; Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commenta-tor; and other lawyers and St. Paul’s staffers. There, the Bishop made a presentation to honor Andrew Anselmi, an Advocati Christi member. Anselmi was named a Knight of St. Gregory, a papal order bestowed on him by the Vatican. “Our culture marginalizes God,” said Bishop Serratelli in his remarks before Alito’s presentation. “Justice Alito’s office calls him to make legal decisions that conform not only with the Constitution of our country, but also with God’s law open to all through human reason. We pledge our prayers for the vocation that God has given you for the good of our great nation,” he said. Like all the talks in the series, the event PAPAL HONOR Bishop Serratelli presents Andrew Anselmi, a member of the diocesan Advocati Christi lawyers’ fellowship, with the papal honor of the Knight of St. Gregory on March 15 at St. Paul Inside the Walls, Madison, before a talk on religious freedom by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The Vatican bestowed the honor on Anselmi. Looking on is Anselmi’s wife, Sole. started with a 5:30 p.m. Mass in St. Paul’s chapel, followed by 6 p.m. cocktail hour and conversation; a 7 p.m. presentation, including questions and answers; and an 8 p.m. gath-ering of fellows of the Outreach for Lawyers, including private dinner with the speaker and discussion. Lawyers are eligible to earn Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for attending. After Alito’s talk, Father Manning men-tioned several takeaways, including that “Our nation’s dedication to religious liberty re-quires our dedication to our own religion.” “Justice Alito’s presentation was inspiring. He told us that it’s important as lawyers for us to evangelize by preserving religious lib-erty,” Anselmi said. [Information: (973) 377-1004 or] Students: Learn about religious liberty FROM 1 Barbara Samuells, founder of Catholics for Freedom of Religion of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., a lay ministry now ac-tive in five states. “There is unnecessary confusion in our country about religion’s place in public schools….specifically, what students can say and do and share about their faith, church and religious practices,” according to the presentation, which cites specific examples of educators impinging on religious freedom: from barring students from writing about Jesus in reports to censoring mention of God from graduation speeches. “In fact, re-ligious freedom in America protects your right to live your faith among your school friends in many appropriate school situations each day. The faith and religious practices you learn are not confined to home or church, but are protected in your public school as well,” it states. Regrettably, most of these denials of re-ligious rights are never challenged but should never happen — even for teachers, who want to express their faith in school. The presen-tation recommends law firms, such as the First Liberty Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom, which will represent students free of charge. A few years ago, Matrisciano had helped found Faith, Family and Freedom, an organ-ization based in the Diocese that was dedi-cated to preserving religious freedom. After the group disbanded, he asked the Don Bosco Council to form a committee dedicated to religious liberty. Matrisciano also reached out to one of his previous contacts, Samuells, who emailed him a pamphlet, “Free to Speak,” printed by the organization Gateways to Better Education. Samuells based the PowerPoint presentation mainly on material from the pamphlet. Matrisciano and Shaud sought interest in “Free to Speak” from nearby pastors and ap-proval from Bishop Serratelli and attended a training session about how to present the material at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception on Long Island. “God has been taken out of school. Society has convinced people that religion has no place in school. Some teachers and admin-istrators deny religious liberties out of prej-udice or an abundance of caution,” said Samuells, who noted that many parents who attend the presentation are surprised to learn about their rights. “We want to be lanterns of truth for the rights of religious freedom.” Laurie DiCianni, Our Lady of the Lake’s religious education director, called the Knights’ presentation to the parish’s Confir -mation students “well received.” The audi-ence was balanced between public and Catholic school students, she said. “It was presented simply and empowered students. They can question teachers. They have the right to express their faith in public settings,” said DiCianni, who was surprised to learn that Sparta High School has an af-ter-school Bible group. “Also, Catholic school students, who do talk about faith in school, got to think about their social lives — how to live outside the walls of the school and be firm in expressing their faith.” [Schedule a presentation of “Free to Speak” by sending an email to Matrisciano at]

St. Paul Inside The Walls

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