In 1965 the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council issued a Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humanae) that addressed the issue. Much of what the U.S. Bishops are reflecting upon is rooted in that teaching document. Readings from it as well as reflections on it can be found on the web page of the United States Bishops Conference, and are worth the read [ www.nccbussc.org ]. I will share some thoughts in the days to come.
The Fathers of the Council declared that every human person has the right to religious freedom. Its foundation is rooted in the very dignity of the human person since we are created in the image and likeness of God. Like God we are intelligent beings with a free will. This is revealed by the Word of God and by reason itself. The Council Fathers say that this right to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it becomes a civil right.
We hold that civil right to be guaranteed to us by the law of this land. And yet, there are moments and movements that seem to undermine those rights and threaten our freedom to be who we are, faithful citizens who can, like Thomas More, say that we are loyal to the state, always, but to God first. We cannot be subjected to the role of second class citizens who are ignored because of what we believe or to whom our first loyalty is given.
This Thursday evening at 7:30 pm
The Fortnight For Freedom
in the Diocese of Greensburg
will begin with a Holy Hour
at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.
All are invited to attend.