Skip to main content

Fortnight for Freedom Reflection Day 4

To read the entire PDF click here.

On his part, man perceives and acknowledges
the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation
of conscience. In all his activity a man is bound to
follow his conscience faithfully, in order that he may
come to God, for whom he was created. It follows
that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary
to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be
restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience,
especially in matters religious.

For, 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 life directly
toward God. No merely human power can either command
or prohibit acts of this kind.

However, the social nature of man itself requires
that he should give external expression to his internal
acts of religion; that he should participate with others
in matters religious; that he should profess his religion
in community. Injury, therefore, is done to the human
person and to the very order established by God for
human life, if the free exercise of religion is denied in
society when the just requirements of public order do
not so require.
Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae), no. 3
December 7, 1965

It is through their consciences that human beings
perceive the requirements of the divine law. Human
beings must follow faithfully their conscience if they
are to grow in their knowledge of and union with
God. Again, the Council restates that, because of
this, no one should either be forced to act contrary to
his or her conscience or be forbidden to act in accordance
with his or her conscience. This is especially
the case when it involves one’s religious beliefs.

The Council Fathers note that this applies not only to
one’s internal private religious acts but also to public
communal religious acts. Human beings hold religious
beliefs within a community of like-minded believers
and so have the right to publicly live out their beliefs.
To forbid the just and proper public expressions of
religious belief would be contrary to the order that
God has established for human beings as social and
religious beings.

The Council Fathers want to ensure that religious
liberty is understood to be both private and public. It
cannot be limited to what takes places in houses of
worship. Rather, since religion is by its nature a social
phenomenon, its presence within the broader society
and culture should not be hindered or forbidden.

In what ways is religion being reduced to the
merely personal and private? Why should religion
have a voice in the public square?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include: Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life, and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&#…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is famous scene in the bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He in fact encouraged this honesty and o…