Roman Catholic Parish


June 23, 2019

Dear All,

If we accept that freedom is the image of God in humans, then we have two issues for the Church to confront; her failures in that area and the forces of enslavement that surround her.

Her failures may or may not be as great as her detractors claim. The Crusades, the various Church/state partnerships of the great ages of exploration and colonization, the trail of martyrs and the silenced voices of independent thinkers, and, of course, her scandalous record of honesty and transparency have gone on in the name of some abstract principle, but never in the interest of human thriving.

That does not mean that the Church is in the same league as Nazism, the Terror of the French Revolution, the various pogroms of Czarist and Leninist Russia, or the Roman Empire or some the terrorist organizations floating around in our contemporary world. But, lilies fester foulest and there is no excuse for the Church to be anything at all at any time than a community deeply committed to the freedom of all humanity.

The first freedom -- and the absolutely most important -- allows every man, woman or child to seek and carryout the will of God in their regard. This is the freedom that comes with being created; as such it predates every other freedom and any other freedom or source of freedom. A government or a 'religion' or a state or some '-ism' that does not recognize this right in every human being does so in direct opposition to the God whose first action is freely to create and fashion his image in his creatures.

Clearly, a situation of poverty, disease and ignorance is one in which people cannot really concentrate on deepening their relationship with God. The church, over the centuries, has fostered health care initiatives, education and social welfare programs. But this has not happened to create some sort of paradise on earth, a human Utopia. We were not made for anything in this world, but for the God who is its source. Thus all of her caritative efforts are directed to the one goal of freeing people up from the state of wage slavery or chronic illness or ignorance so that they can then pursue their relationship with God. To a starving man, bread must seem a god.

With this in mind, it becomes easier to see why the Church can so easily criticize capitalism as a way of acquiring wealth that enslaves the poor even as it criticizes socialism as a totalitarian economic system that breeds lack of initiative and loss of individual dignity. The real problem in either system is that it does not make room for religion to direct the human heart to love of God and neighbor. Indeed, the Church is clear in its assertion that governments first obligation is to allow the citizenry to seek that which the government cannot provide, access to the God who is over all. Secularism is the end of human freedom, imprisoning humanity on the surface of the earth.

These are the big-stroke outlines of the mysterious thing that is freedom of religion. We will do some more detailed examples next week and thereafter.

Really and truly and strikingly (not strikingly) yours,




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