Religious Freedom Week, an annual campaign by the U.S. bishops to encourage support for religious liberty, comes as Catholics in California and across the country face challenges to their religious liberty. “Strength in Hope” is the theme of this year’s Religious Freedom Week, which takes place June 22-29.
Valerie Schmalz, director of the San Francisco archdiocesan Office of Human Life & Dignity, said Religious Freedom Week “is a way for us to formally pray, reflect, and act in our capacity as Catholics who are citizens of the United States.”
Schmalz said the First Amendment “protects our right to be religious and be religious in the way we choose” but Catholics and other religious groups have been under increasing political pressure.
“The fact that a bill has passed the state Senate that would require priests to disclose aspects of someone’s confession to them, something no priest can ever do, is a sign of how out of wack our worldview is at times in this state when it comes to respecting religious freedom,” she said.