President Trump Proclaims Jan. 16th as Religious Freedom Day - Feast of Pope St. Marcellus I, Martyr
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
WASHINGTON, DC | President Donald J. Trump, issued on Jan. 15th, proclaimed that January 16th will hereby be celebrated as the nation's Religious Freedom Day. The announcement comes roughly three weeks since President Trump's proclamation on the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered by the King's men.
There remains no need to articulate the Divine Will evident in these proclamations that attempt to affirm truth, identify error, and present the need to defend against the incoming religious persecutions that await the faithful in our pilgrimage through tyranny.
The full text of the President's proclamation is listed below, and followed by an excerpt and prayer in honor of Pope St. Marcellus I, who's feast is celebrated on January 16th and was exiled and martyred by the heretical Roman Emperor Maxentius in 310 AD.
Faith inspires hope. Deeply embedded in the heart and soul of our Nation, this transcendent truth has compelled men and women of uncompromising conscience to give glory to God by worshiping both openly and privately, lifting up themselves and others in prayer. On Religious Freedom Day, we pledge to always protect and cherish this fundamental human right.
When the Pilgrims first crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 years ago in pursuit of religious freedom, their dedication to this first freedom shaped the character and purpose of our Nation. Later, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, their deep desire to practice their religion unfettered from government intrusion was realized. Since then, the United States has set an example for the world in permitting believers to live out their faith in freedom.
Over the past 4 years, my Administration has worked tirelessly to honor the vision of our Founders and defend our proud history of religious liberty. From day one, we have taken action to restore the foundational link between faith and freedom and promote a culture of religious liberty. My Administration has protected the rights of individual religious believers, communities of faith, and faith-based organizations. We have defended religious liberty domestically and around the world. For example, I signed an Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty to ensure that faith-based organizations would not be forced to compromise their religious beliefs as they serve their communities. This includes defending the rights of religious orders to care for the infirm and elderly without being fined out of existence for refusing to facilitate access to services that violate their faith.
We have also protected healthcare providers’ rights not to be forced to perform procedures that violate their most deeply-held convictions. Additionally, we have ended the misguided policies of denying access to educational funding to historically black colleges and universities because of their religious character and of denying loan forgiveness to those who perform public services at religious organizations. Throughout this difficult year, we have continued these efforts, cutting red tape to ensure houses of worship and other faith-based organizations could receive Paycheck Protection Program loans on the same grounds and with the same parameters as any other entity. We have also aggressively defended faith communities against overreach by State and local governments that have tried to shut down communal worship. Together, we have honored the sanctity of every life, protected the rights of Americans to follow their conscience, and preserved the historical tradition of religious freedom in our country.
While Americans enjoy the blessings of religious liberty, we must never forget others around the world who are denied this unalienable right. Sadly, millions of people across the globe are persecuted and discriminated against for their faith. My Administration has held foreign governments accountable for trampling — in many cases, egregiously so — on religious liberty. In 2019, to shed light on this important issue, I welcomed survivors of religious persecution from 16 countries in the Oval Office, including Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and made history by standing before the United Nations General Assembly and calling on all nations of the world to stop persecuting people of faith. The United States will never waver in these efforts to expand religious liberty around the world and calls on all nations to respect the rights of its citizens to live according to their beliefs and conscience.
On Religious Freedom Day, we honor the vision of our Founding Fathers for a Nation made strong and righteous by a people free to exercise their faith and follow their conscience. As Americans united in unparalleled freedom, we recommit to safeguarding and preserving religious freedom across our land and around the world. NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2021, as Religious Freedom Day. I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and that teach us how to secure this blessing both at home and around the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
DONALD J. TRUMP (White House)
Pope St. Marcellus I, Martyr
"We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully hearken to Thy people praying for help through the merits of blessed Marcellus, Thy Martyr and Pontiff, in whose martyrdom we rejoice. Through our Lord." (Collects, Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962)
His date of birth unknown; elected pope in May or June, 308; died in 309. For some time after the death of Marcellinus in 304 the Diocletian persecution continued with unabated severity. After the abdication of Diocletian in 305, and the accession in Rome of Maxentius to the throne of the Caesars in October of the following year, the Christians of the capital again enjoyed comparative peace. Nevertheless, nearly two years passed before a new Bishop of Rome was elected. Then in 308, according to the "Catalogus Liberianus", Pope Marcellus first entered on his office: "Fuit temporibus Maxenti a cons. X et Maximiano usque post consulatum X et septimum" ("Liber Pontificalis", ed. Duchesne, I, 6-7). This abbreviated notice is to be read: "A cons. Maximiano Herculio X et Maximiano Galerio VII  usque post cons. Maxim. Herc. X et Maxim. Galer. VII " (cf. de Rossi, "Inscriptiones christ. urbis Romæ", I, 30). At Rome, Marcellus found the Church in the greatest confusion. The meeting-places and some of the burial-places of the faithful had been confiscated, and the ordinary life and activity of the Church was interrupted. Added to this were the dissensions within the Church itself, caused by the large number of weaker members who had fallen away during the long period of active persecution and later, under the leadership of an apostate, violently demanded that they should be readmitted to communion without doing penance. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" Marcellus divided the territorial administration of the Church into twenty-five districts (tituli), appointing over each a presbyter, who saw to the preparation of the catechumens for baptism and directed the performance of public penances. The presbyter was also made responsible for the burial of the dead and for the celebrations commemorating the deaths of the martyrs. The pope also had a new burial-place, the Cœmeterium Novellœ on the Via Salaria (opposite the Catacomb of St. Priscilla), laid out. The "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 164) says: "Hic fecit cymiterium Novellae via Salaria et XXV titulos in urbe Roma constituit quasi diœcesis propter baptismum et pœnitentiam multorum qui convertebantur ex paganis et propter sepulturas martyrum". At the beginning of the seventh century there were probably twenty-five titular churches in Rome; even granting that, perhaps, the compiler of the "Liber Pontificalis" referred this number to the time of Marcellus, there is still a clear historical tradition in support of his declaration that the ecclesiastical administration in Rome was reorganized by this pope after the great persecution.
The work of the pope was, however, quickly interrupted by the controversies to which the question of the readmittance of the lapsi into the Church gave rise. As to this, we gather some light from the poetic tribute composed by Damasus in memory of his predecessor and placed over his grave (De Rossi, "Inscr. christ. urbis Romæ", II, 62, 103, 138; cf. Idem, "Roma sotterranea", II, 204-5). Damasus relates that the truth-loving leader of the Roman Church was looked upon as a wicked enemy by all the lapsed, because he insisted that they should perform the prescribed penance for their guilt. As a result serious conflicts arose, some of which ended in bloodshed, and every bond of peace was broken. At the head of this band of the unfaithful and rebellious stood an apostate who had denied the Faith even before the outbreak of persecution. The tyrannical Maxentius had the pope seized and sent into exile. This took place at the end of 308 or the beginning of 309 according to the passages cited above from the "Catalogus Liberianus", which gives the length of the pontificate as no more than one year, six (or seven) months, and twenty days. Marcellus died shortly after leaving Rome, and was venerated as a saint. His feast-day was 16 January, according to the "Depositio episcoporum" of the "Chronography" of 354 (entombment) and every other Roman authority...[for the] burial of his remains, after these had been brought back from the unknown quarter to which he had been exiled. He was buried in the catacomb of St. Priscilla where his grave is mentioned by the itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs as existing in the basilica of St. Silvester (De Rossi, "Roma sotterranea", I, 176). (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910)
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.