Some don’t like separation.
Religious Freedom, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to live by a fully formed conscience (all three are not the same things) are not only crucial issues for the citizens of the USA, Egypt, the Sudan, parts of Asia, but also for various places in Europe but further East, in Russia. Religious freedom is the basis of all freedoms.
Joseph Ratzinger wrote an article sometime ago on freedom and truth where he said, “freedom is the theme that most characterizes modernity.” We could also say that Americans most care about, but freedom is not just an American thing, it is a human thing that all people want to enjoy. From the American dream which is the achievement of freedom, human development we to need to sustain a work that helps all peoples, not just Catholics but Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims and the like, be truly free.
Of late, the Christians in the Ukraine are being forced to re-live Stalinist power plays to shout down the Church. The Catholics in the Ukraine, especially the Byzantine Catholics as lived in The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), are facing political fights with the state over the right to pray in public and to pray in public for the good of the nation. Here we have a keen issue of how faith and the public order intersect. Looks like a new John Paul II has risen…
George Weigel outlines the scene in his article in a National Review (January 14, 2014), “The Exhaust Fumes of Stalinism.” Weigel is good a pointing to the fact that culture, faith and good political order has been the hallmark of the Church: the dignity of the person and the God-given rights were only help up and promoted by the Church. A Church that is not beholding to state pressures and coercion. Metropolitan Shevchuk is articulating the hope and the path forward…
On Sunday, the Pope’s weekly Angelus prayer and address included an invitation to prayer, fasting and awareness for the situation of peace in Syria. On the vigil of the Nativity of Mary, Pope Francis –with all local churches around the world, will meet in supplication. The portion of the Pope’s invitation from the Angelus address is here:
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Our prayer today ought to be for the citizens and the government of the USA. As the Collect for today’s Mass asks God who is justice and truth: to open our hearts to recognize divine truth and to be rule by His justice. We are not creators of our own destiny as Mr. Obama said today. God has given us our destiny. Our work is to recognize the path laid before us to walk to Him.