Letter from Fr. David
Dear Friends in Christ,
Last week, in light of our nation’s celebration of freedom and independence, I began a mini-series of articles on the topics of liberty in general, and our specifically enumerated American freedoms in particular. In so doing I am quoting directly from various Founding Fathers and other sources, both secular and religious. I continue with recalling the 1st Amendment of our Constitution and quoting the subject of religious freedom.
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” – Constitution of the United States, Article 1 of the Amendments to the Constitution
“[The affidavit] says that Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth, and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other new divinities of his own.” – Socrates (470-399 B.C.)
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.” – James Madison (1751-1836)
“Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that…. of liberty to worship our Creator in a way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.” – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” – Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1799, written by Thomas Jefferson
“A religion that doesn’t interfere with the secular order will soon discover that the secular order will not refrain from interfering with it.” – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)
“Of its very nature, the exercise of religion consists before all else in those internal, voluntary, and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind.” – The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, On Religious Freedom, 1965
“We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.” – Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
“The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error, but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matter by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2108, copyright 1994
“A just laicism allows religious freedom. The state does not impose religion but rather gives space to religions with a responsibility toward civil society, and therefore it allows these religions to be factors in building up society.” – Pope Benedict XVI
“Religious liberty certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate. But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families.” – Pope Francis
“Man’s religious conscience is his sanctuary.” – Anonymous
It is instructive to note that the first enumerated liberty in the Bill of Rights is that of religious freedom. This was not accidental, and the Founding Fathers knew and understood why. So should we.
Have a blessed week!
See us at the Fiesta Days Parade, Sunday, July 23rd, at 1:30pm. We will again be joining St. Patrick’s and Holy Apostles on the tri-parish float. (Psst! We’ll be on the float with the huge gold chalice!)