26 January, 2012

Freedom of Conscience in the USA

"With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning. The Church’s defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a “language” which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world. She thus proposes her moral teaching as a message not of constraint but of liberation, and as the basis for building a secure future."
 --From Pope Benedict's Address to the Bishops of the U.S., Jan. 2012

This paragraph really stood out in the midst of a generally excellent and very relevant speech on the role of Catholics in a society in which freedom of conscience is being increasingly infringed upon. Partly because the whole "natural law" concept is one of the most taboo ones you can bring up in academia, and academia is where I am right now, I particularly liked the italicized sentence:  a simple and eloquent way of putting it, even if that alone won't convince anyone adhering to (more or less) total relativism.

The whole speech is short, very worth a read, and available here. In case, by some chance, you are unaware of the circumstances surrounding the speech, here's an overview: http://www.catholic-convert.com/2012/01/21/obama-gives-catholics-one-year-to-learn-to-violate-their-consciences/

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