AUSTIN, Texas – Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of the Archdiocese of San Antonio called Catholics to champion the tenets of their faith in the public square during his opening statement at the 2012 Texas Catholic Conference General Assembly.
Observing that Catholics across his Archdiocese have expressed concerns about current threats to religious liberty, he urged the Texas Bishops and their diocesan staff present at the General Assembly to continue efforts to defend the nation’s First Amendment freedom.
Archbishop García-Siller said that religious freedom is a fundamental right, not “simply a privilege received as an act of tolerance from a sympathetic government” and therefore government does not have the authority to diminish or remove it. Catholics should not be forced to choose between faithful citizenship and being faithful to the Gospel, he added.
Furthermore, Archbishop García-Siller said that the Catholic Church does not engage in partisan politics, but rather remains “defined only by the Gospel and teaching of the Church, which defies contemporary labels, and which is timeless truth.”
Archbishop García-Siller’s address set the framework for the Texas Bishops’ General Assembly, a bi-yearly event hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference to convene the bishops and their staff for an update on the Conference’s public policy objectives. During the Assembly, Texas Catholic Conference Executive Director Jeffery Patterson and Associate Director Jennifer Carr Allmon presented the bishops’ legislative agenda.
Participants also developed diocesan-level strategies for participating in the upcoming Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day on April 9, 2013. Catholic are encouraged to join the Texas Catholic Network to stay informed on the bishops’ policy objectives and participate in advocacy for their faith through Network Action Alerts.
The Texas Catholic Conference is the association of the 15 Roman Catholic dioceses of the State of Texas and is the official public policy voice of the Bishops of Texas. The Texas Catholic Podcast is a production of The Texas Catholic Conference. For more information on the Texas Catholic Conference, visit www.TXCatholic.org.
Listen to Archbishop García-Siller’s entire address on the Texas Catholic Podcast.