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SearsAlan E. Sears

CROMWELL – Alan E. Sears, president, chief executive officer and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), will speak Oct. 5 at Holy Apostles College and Seminary about the growing and emerging threats to the free exercise of religious freedom.

Mr. Sears was invited to participate in the John Paul II Lecture Series in Bioethics launched at the college in 1982, which features addresses by some of the leading voices in moral theology and bioethics.

The title of his talk is "Mandates, Decrees and Bioethics Liberty."

The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. It will be preceded by a 45-minute classical music recital, beginning at 4:30 p.m., by Katherine Rex, an emerging young talent, who will play a trio of compositions on the piano.

"They (ADF) are unquestionably the premiere religious liberty civil rights organization in the world … the flip side of the ACLU," said Deacon Tom Davis, associate director of the Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College, who coordinates the lecture series. He also serves as deacon at St. Ann Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Danbury.

Mr. Sears "built this (ADF) from a grassroots, solo operation in the ’80s to the most powerful litigation organization in the world dedicated to protecting religious liberty," Deacon Davis noted, estimating that the ADF has allied some 2,000 lawyers around the world to legislate religious liberty issues.

Since the ADF (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund) was founded in 1993, Mr. Sears has led the strategy, training, funding and litigation initiatives dealing with freedom of religion, abortion, marriage and the composition of families in the United States and around the world.

The alliance-building legal ministry brings together thousands of Christian attorneys and organizations to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith. Under his leadership, ADF has litigated cases before the Supreme Court, has funded nearly 2,400 grants and legal projects for allied attorneys and organizations, and has equipped more than 1,600 Christian attorneys and 1,000 law students to defend religious liberty.

In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions" in the ADF-backed case, Gonzales v. Carhart. And in July, Hercules Industries, a Denver-based heating ventilation and air-conditioning manufacturer that employs nearly 300 full-time workers, got an injunction in federal court that stops enforcement of the controversial health care mandate in the case prepared by the ADF.

     Before founding the ADF, Mr. Sears was a federal prosecutor, serving with the United States Justice and Interior departments under President Ronald Reagan.

 

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.