Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California

This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Proclaiming Christ in the Public Square . . . Pentecost, Sunday, 27 May 2012

We do not seek to defend religious liberty for partisan or political purposes, as some have suggested.  No, we do this because we are lovers of a human dignity that was fashioned and imparted not by the government but by the Creator.

We defend religious liberty because we are lovers of every human person, seeing in the face of every
man and woman also the face of Christ, who loved us to the very end and who calls us to love and serve our neighbor with the same love he has bestowed on us.  We uphold religious liberty because we seek to continue serving those in need while contributing to the common good in accord with the Church's social teaching and to do so with compassion and effectiveness....

We do this because Archbishop John Carroll's generation of believers and patriots bequeathed to us a precious legacy that has enabled the Church to worship in freedom, to bear witness to Christ publicly, and to do massive and amazing works of pastoral love, education, and charity in ways that are true to the faith that inspired them in the first place.  We defend religious liberty in fidelity to the wisdom of James Cardinal Gibbons who withstood in the breach those who said it wasn't possible to be a practicing Catholic and a loyal American.  " ...I belong to a country," he said, "where the civil government holds over us the aegis of its protection, without interfering with us in the legitimate exercise of our sublime mission as ministers of the Gospel of Christ.  Our country has liberty without license, and authority without despotism."

Now we must be loyal Americans by being bold and courageous Catholics!

So, dear friends, let us be of good cheer.  Let us never imagine that the faith we profess with such personal conviction is merely a private matter.  By its nature, the profession of faith is a public matter -- for the faith is meant to be spread far and wide and acted upon in and through Church institutions and in the witness of individual believers.  Let us not shrink from entering the public square to proclaim the Person of Christ, to teach the values that flow from reason and faith, to uphold our right to go about our daily work in accord with our teachings and values, to defend the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death, to defend the institution of marriage as between a man and a woman, and to serve effectively those in great need with convictions borne of the moral law.

                                -- Archbishop William Lori,
                                Installation Homily, May 16, 2012
                                Archdiocese of Baltimore

        Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

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