Sunday, June 24, 2012
Our First, Most Cherished Liberty
"We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both,
grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful
for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and
American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our
allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory, and should
instead be complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which
obliges us to work together with fellow citizen for the common good of all
who live in this land. That is the vision of our founding and our Constitution,
which guarantees citizens of all religious faiths to right to contribute to our
common life together.
Freedom is not only for American, but we think of it as something of our
special inheritance, fought for at a great price, and a heritage to be guarded
now. We are stewards of this gift, not only for ourselves but for all nations
and peoples who yearn to be free. Catholics in America have discharged this
duty of guarding freedom admirably for many generations....
...From well before Cardinal Gibbons, Catholics in America have been
advocates for religious liberty, and the landmark teaching of the Second
Vatican Council on religious liberty was influenced by the American experience.
It is among the proudest boasts of the Church on these shores. We have been
staunch defenders of religious liberty in the past. We have a solemn duty to
discharge that duty today."
-- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty