Religious freedom becoming top issue in U.S.

May 30, 2011
John Garvey

John Garvey

John Garvey is convinced that religious freedom will be the most important issue facing the Catholic Church in the United States over the next half century.

"This is so because our culture is evolving in ways that are indifferent and sometimes even hostile to religion," said Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America.

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."