Daily links, Thurs., April 12: A fortnight for freedom and dissent on the Old Sod

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The U.S. bishops' ad hoc committee on religious liberty issued their promised statement on religious liberty today: "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty." In it, they somewhat breathlessly suggest, "that the fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts [sic, it's a memorial, and memorials don't have vigils] of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, be dedicated to this 'fortnight for freedom'—a great hymn of prayer for our country." (Seriously, that sounds like something you would hear on The 700 Club.)

Commonweal's editors found the statement both unnecessarily sweeping and unfortunately partisan; at U.S. Catholic, Meghan Murphy-Gill breaks down the bishops' accounts of the "concrete threats" to religious freedom.

On the irenic side of things, Nicholas Kristof notes the appearance of a kinder, gentler group of atheists, who, while not sharing theistic beliefs, nevertheless find something to admire in religion.

Crossing the Pond to Ireland, we discover that the Redemptorist priest who founded the reform-minded Association of Catholic priests has been sent to a monastery for six months, while a survey commissioned by said association found a shocking (?) amount of support for the ordination of married men (about 90 percent) and women (77 percent). The whole report is here.