People of faith must advocate for religious liberty, says House speaker

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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., greets women religious at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 17 in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., greets women religious at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 17 in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — People of faith have the responsibility to “advocate for their faith,” not only through good works, but on spiritual realms — one being through prayer, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said May 17.

He made the comments at the 12th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which drew a record high of about 1,300 attendees to a downtown Washington hotel.

Ryan and Sr. Constance Veit, communications director for her religious congregation, the Little Sisters of the Poor, were special guests at the breakfast.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, pauses after speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 17 in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, pauses after speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast May 17 in Washington. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Keynote speaker Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments since late 2014, addressed the topic of marriage in the church. He said that it is the responsibility of the church to demonstrate to others how marriage should look within a Christian community.

“The family is the natural preparation and anticipation for the communion that is possible when we are united with God,” said Cardinal Sarah, who is the former president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. “This is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family.”

In his address, in addition to highlighting the importance of prayer, Ryan also emphasized the need to advocate for the government to safeguard religious liberty.

“Religious liberty is going to make a comeback,” he said. “There is a growing need for faith in this nation.”

Ryan, who is Catholic, also emphasized the importance of good works, referencing the ministry of Sister Constance and the Little Sisters of Poor.

In 2015, the religious congregation challenged the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most religious employers cover contraceptives for their employees even if the employer finds such coverage morally unacceptable. The Little Sisters’