To Your Excellency, my Bishop: The Second Vatican Council addressed the issues that were foreseen to influence the Church in the modern era. In Paragraph #76 of Gaudium et Spes the Council explained how the Church must "not place her trust in the privileges offered by civil authority" because fear of losing those privileges could causes it to mute its witness. "It is only right...that at all times and in all places, the Church should have true freedom to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine, to exercise her role freely among men, and also to pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of a person or the salvation of souls require it." The U.S. Government's IRS regulation 501(c)(3) grants the Church Tax Exempt status. The fear of losing this status has strangled the Church's witness. The Second Vatican Council clearly expressed in Paragraph #76 that no privilege granted by civil authority should stifle the Church's witness. Too many times I have seen the Church back down on issues based on the perceived threat of a loss of the tax exemption. I sign this petition to express my ardent desire for the U.S. Bishops to recognize Paragraph #76 by implementing the teachings contained within and by not letting this perceived fear influence the Church's witness. It is not the purpose of this Petition to encourage or cause any diocese to lose its tax exempt status. I merely ask Your Excellency to teach, act, and allow others to teach and act in your diocese without regard to any tax status. It is not asking you to do any more than the Fathers of Vatican II, your predecessors, taught in Gaudium et Spes #76. PLEASE NOTE (if you plan to sign the petition): We do not accept any donations. If you choose to sign the petition you must un-check the bottom block that asks you if you want to receive similar petitions. Unless you un-check the block before you click on "Sign Petition" you will be solicited to donate to iPetitions. We do not recommend that. When you sign the petition, your name will not be viewable by the public. When we have collected many signatures, we will send a copy of the petition to each Diocesan Bishop. At that time we will furnish to that Bishop the name of the signers in his Diocese. It would be best if full names were submitted when signing. The petition enables you to sign anonymously but if you are urging your bishop to "stand up and witness," you should be willing to identify yourself to that bishop. Signing anonymously diminishes the value of your signature. Only 1 signature per e-mail address is permitted. Any other questions about this petition E-mail us at ToFreeTheChurch@gmail.com.