Freedom of Religion
Posted 1 June 2012 Posted by Father John Francis Murray, C.Ss.R.
Tags: freedom of religion, catholic, christian, sacred heart
This last Wednesday I went to a press conference in Orlando held by Bishop John Noonan and leaders of other faith traditions. They spoke with one voice… the press conference was not about politics, it was about religious leaders, pastors and American citizens coming together to speak about the truth, faith, the gospel, and religious liberty.
As your pastor, I realize many of you, like me, are bombarded with all kinds of information communicated to us in so many ways. Turn on an evening cable news talk show, emotions and opinions are on over drive, especially during an election year. As much as we may want to ‘tune out’ this person or that person (and you may) there’s something that allows an individual to say something that could offend you, it’s called the freedom of speech.
Ask any person who found refuge in America after experiencing persecution in their native country because they dared to speak out, or practice a different religion. It’s interesting that our first freedom in American is the freedom of religion. Our bishops and many religious leaders of different faith traditions and all people of conscience are alarmed that for the first time in our nation’s history the government is dictating to religious entities the way in which they should be religious, how they should conduct their affairs! To many religious institutions and people of conscience, the government is saying, “You will do this and violate your deeply held beliefs, or else!”
I have written about this subject a number of times in my pastor’s letter, so I will not go into any further detail on the specifics of “how we got here.” This week’s bulletin will deal extensively with Religious Liberty. As pastor, I hope and pray that you take the time to educate yourself regarding this most important issue.
At the press conference, our bishop and the religious leaders stressed the importance of prayer during these upcoming days. On Tuesday evening a group of Sacred Heart parishioners met to discuss and make plans for the Fortnight for Freedom in our parish. These two weeks, from June 21st – July 4th will be a time of prayer and education for our parish and indeed for the entire country. As people of faith we need to be grounded on the reality that all of our freedoms come from the Triune God, he alone is our rock and our salvation.
As American citizens, we need to be reminded of our history, and of those freedom fighters who have shed their blood to protect our freedoms.
May God bless you and may Mary our Mother protect us always!
Respectfully in Christ,
Father John Francis Murray, C.Ss.R.