Tag Archives: Mary Ann Glendon

Pope addresses the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences: true freedom of religion permits human fulfillment & the common good

The regular cycle of the Pope’s work is addressing those groups that advise him on a variety of subjects like theology, law, science, politics, life issues, etc. Benedict’s address to Professor Mary
Ann Glendon, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, talks about the theme of “Universal
Rights in a World of Diversity: the Case of Religious Freedom.” He reminds not only the head of this academy about the deep roots of Western culture being Christian, but it was Christianity that gave humanity the awareness of the various freedoms we know and love, that contribute to human flourishing and many time even take for granted. It was the Christian gospel that upheld and promoted the dignity of the human person, protected women and children, that organized labor freedom of worship, and other social systems. Most notably, the Pope reminds us, that the freedoms spoken of in
the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human
Rights have their roots in our belief and life in Christ. However, we can’t become smug –too satisfied– with what we’ve been given, even freedom. The Pope’s talk is not long but here are some germaine points for us to consider:

Deeply inscribed
in our human nature are a yearning for truth and meaning and an openness to the
transcendent; we are prompted by our nature to pursue questions of the greatest
importance to our existence. Many centuries ago, Tertullian coined the term libertas
(cf. Apologeticum, 24:6). He emphasized that God must be worshipped
, and that it is in the nature of religion not to admit coercion, “nec
religionis est cogere religionem” (Ad Scapulam, 2:2). Since man enjoys the
capacity for a free personal choice in truth, and since God expects of man a
free response to his call, the right to religious freedom should be viewed as
innate to the fundamental dignity of every human person, in keeping with the
innate openness of the human heart to God. In fact, authentic freedom of
religion will permit
the human person to attain fulfilment and will thus
contribute to the common good of society

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Glendon’s Daughter Comments

Yesterday (April 29, 2009), Tom McFeely, of the National Catholic Register posted a brief story relating the “back story” to Mary Ann Glendon’s declining the Laetare Medal.

Liz Lev.jpg

Catholic writer and art historian Elizabeth Lev is Mary Ann Glendon’s

In a post at
PoliticsDaily.com, Lev — who lives in Rome and is a regular contributor to
Zenit news service — discusses her mother’s decision to refuse to accept Notre
Dame’s Laetare Medal.

Lev explains that Glendon’s action, undertaken because of
Notre Dame’s honoring of pro-abortion President Barack Obama, must be
considered in the context of Glendon’s proven commitment to defending the human
rights of all vulnerable people, born and unborn

And, Lev said, in light of that commitment it’s silly to
dismiss her mother’s principled action as merely a gesture by someone who cares
only about the pro-life cause.

“Professor Glendon was to have been honored for not only for
her scholarship, but for her second career, her pro-bono work
— ranging from
the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the great civil rights issues of the
present day — namely, the defense of human life from conception to natural
death,” writes Lev. “Her concerns range from the aging and dying population to
the unborn to the well-being and dignity of every life, regardless of race,
religion, or economic status. Her outstanding work in this field has earned her
the respect of the most brilliant minds of the international community,
regardless of whether they agree with her position. So again, to see her merely
as ‘strongly anti-abortion’ instead of as a tireless defender of the dignity of
life, is to reveal not only a lack of understanding of the subject’s work, but
also the writer’s real interest in this question

Glendon declines Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal

Mary Ann Glendon has declined the Laetare Medal given by the University of Notre Dame.

I believe this is the type of witness to Jesus Christ we hunger for from the depths of our heart.

Read her letter to Father Jenkins here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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