Religious freedom seen as top issue facing US church in years ahead
- Escrito por www.catholicnews.com
The sexual abuse crisis has particularly wounded the Catholic Church, he said, contributing to a loss of moral authority. In the past decade, he said, legal restrictions aimed at the church garnered a sympathetic hearing. The church now finds itself in the same position as religious minorities, he said.
"In fact, its position is worse," Garvey said, "because when a state like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacts laws that are aimed at the church, it may not seem discriminatory to people because a majority of the legislators who passed the laws were baptized as Catholics." Religious people have traditionally sought shelter in the Constitution, he explained, "and that's an area where the shade has been diminishing in the last decade."
Garvey spoke May 10 at an inaugural lecture on religious liberty, hosted by Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore at Calvert Hall College High School in Towson. The gathering attracted an estimated 150 people. Garvey focused much of his talk on the 1990 Supreme Court ruling, Employment Division v. Smith. The ruling held that the First Amendment protects religious actors against discrimination, Garvey said, but not against laws that are neutral and generally applicable.