Archbishop William E. Lori was installed as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore May 16, 2012.
Prior to his appointment to Baltimore, Archbishop Lori served as Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., from 2001 to 2012 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 to 2001.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Lori holds a bachelor’s degree from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Ky., a master’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg and a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977.
In addition to his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.
Annual Conference of the Academy of Catholic Theologians
The Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.
May 25, 2017
Thank you for inviting me to serve on this panel with President John Garvey. I’m delighted to be with you today to discuss religious liberty and I hope my remarks will provide some fodder for discussion.
As noted, I serve as the U.S. Bishops’ “point person” on issues of religious freedom, mostly those that pertain to its erosion here in the United States. When I was ordained a bishop twenty-two years ago, this is the last thing I thought I’d ever do for the Bishops’ Conference. So this must truly be a part of God’s plan for my life!
One thing I’ve learned over time is that discussions on religious freedom can easily start off on the wrong foot: we sometimes wade into specific threats to religious freedom without sufficiently reflecting on what freedom itself is and on how we must engage the culture in which we are immersed. It isn’t wrong, of course, for the Church to identify specific threats to religious freedom or to be keenly aware of the ways religious freedom has eroded in our country through bad laws, court decisions, and policies. Not to do so is to bury our heads in the sand. Nor is it out of place for us to analyze how our societal “slouch towards Gomorrah” (which recently seems to have become a headlong rush) affects the state of religious freedom at home and abroad. At the same time we’re obliged, I think, to identify and support various remedies through legislation, in the courts, and in public policy that promise to protect and defend the God-given gift of religious liberty. In fact, I’ve done a fair amount of that myself.