— Former priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock (AR) discussing the influx of Hispanic Catholics in Oklahoma and Arkansas with Pope Benedict XVI during his ad limina visit.
“We really want the freedom to practice our religion and that goes beyond an hour on Sunday. What we’ve been increasingly seeing is a moving away from the language of religious liberty. ‘Freedom of worship’ seems to narrowly define what we’ve come to enjoy as American citizens.”
The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City introduces the Reverend Monsignor Edward Weisenburger, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as bishop-elect of the Diocese of Salina (KS).
“Hopefully this is a step in the right direction, and we can enter into some meaningful dialogue about this, but at present, I’m not sure this comes as a solution.”
“We are grateful that the president has begun to listen to the voices raised in opposition to this intrusion on our first amendment rights, and we are encouraged that he understands the urgency of this matter. However, we are dismayed that he does not understand the root issues which are involved here.”
Wednesday, Weisenburger was asked whether he will follow United States Conference of Catholic Bishops members in their outcry against a new federal mandate requiring faith-affiliated institutions to offer free contraception as part of health care coverage.
He said the mandate, issued Jan. 20, reminded him of a famous Oklahoma Prohibition case involving a state law — the “Bone-Dry” law — enacted in 1917, forbidding the importation or possession of even sacramental wine. For all intents and purposes, the law made the celebration of Mass illegal. Weisenburger said Catholics protested the measure and the state Supreme Court overturned the sacramental wine prohibition.
“The state must not impose its will on the practice of religion,” he said of the new federal mandate.
“While the bishops did not go looking for this fight, it’s one they cannot walk away from.”
Weisenburger said the Catholic Church’s formal writings have always urged Catholics to get involved in the political process.
“We truly become Christians when it affects every aspect or our life,” he said.
I wanted the best possible bishop to go to Salina to succeed me, and I think my prayers were answered.
…I’ve been trained since the time I was in the seminary that when the Lord opens a door for you, you need to walk throught it. So I’m willing in faith to step forward and do what I’ve been asked to do.
From the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City:Monsignor Edward J. Weisenburger, JCL, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has been named as the eleventh Bishop of Salina (Kansas), by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop-elect Weisenburger, was ordained for the priesthood on December 19, 1987 and is the second priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma named a bishop in the past four years.