Tag Archives: religious liberty

Catholic bishops and religious freedom

Amy Sullivan of Time magazine wrote a piece today, “Why Catholic Bishops are Targeting Obama on Religious Freedom.” I don’t particularly think Sullivan’s article is not all that informative, in fact, I think she needs to review it again and republish it. She does, however, indirectly say that Catholics –indeed all people of faith– better wake up today and get with the program: the current presidential administration of the US government is narrowing an understanding and practice of religious freedom. Catholics, unlike the Jews or the Muslims are too often slow to know the horizons of the debate. Catholics don’t often go up to Mount Nebo to survey the geography or their own history. Whether recent events are the most egregious in 30 years is a matter of opinion, but the trampling (or reduction) of religious freedom harms everybody, atheist and the Legion of Mary member alike.

It’s time to get fluent in the terms of religious freedom, pun intended.
This is not a Catholic issue. This is an issue for all people who live a life of faith.

Yousef Nadarkhani sentenced to death for being Christian in Iran, the Church silent

Yousef Nadarkhani.jpgYousef Nadarkhani, 33, is a Christian; he’s never practiced Islam, the faith of his family. He converted Christianity at the age of 19. A court ruled that he’s guilty of apostasy but he’s also being accused of security charges, running a brothel, being a rapist and being a Zionist. And now he faces death. 

BUT it seems that the charge of apostasy is being minimized or completely discounted now; information conflict. Nadarkhani was arrested October 13, 2009.
“I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant,” Yousef Nadarkhani said.
Benjamin Weinthal’s article in The Jerusalem Post gives some more detail.

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SSPX insulting Pope Benedict?

I raise the question of the Society of Saint Pius X insulting Pope Benedict with a degree of seriousness. Why? Because when I read the article that was written by Father Regis de Cacqueray and published with the approval of the SSPX Superior General Bishop Bernard Fellay, I thought while many of the ideas need to be understood better and are worthy of further investigation, de Cacqueray’s seeming intentions and tone are really offensive and unbecoming of a priest.

As Pope Benedict has said and indicated many times, no one is above scrutiny. Charity requires the teaching of truth; the first item of justice ought to be charitable discourse to correct error. I do, however, think Father Regis de Cacqueray’s rhetoric is rather inflamatory.
The National Review had an opinion piece on the issue, too.
AND all this around the days of serious conversation between the Holy See and the SSPX!!!
What do you think?

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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Where Shahbaz Bhatti leading us now?

A few times in the last month I’ve mentioned the the tragic death of a brother in the Lord, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic in Pakistan, a voice against oppression. His death should signal for us that religious freedom is not operative around the world as well as out-and-out persecution of Christians is a too frequent occurrence. Just read the end of the year stats on the deaths of people just because they are Christian published by the Vatican office of Evangelization of Peoples. We can’t under-estimate the our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face just because they utter Jesus’ name as Lord and Savior: they face death and oppression daily.

In a recently published essay, “The Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Jesuit Father Luciano Larivera, explores the details of a  Christian’s murder by Islamic extremists. He writes in his summary, “On March 2, a commando of an Islamic terrorist group assassinated Shahbaz Bhatti, 42, the minister of Religious Minorities in Pakistan. He was a Catholic, and is already considered a martyr for the faith and interreligious dialogue. Let us quote the spiritual testament. As with the governor of the province of the Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who was killed Jan. 4, Bhatti had fought for the abolition, or at least for the reform, of the law against blasphemy and the liberation of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to be hung for insulting Muhammad. Pakistan is torn apart by numerous tensions and an internal power struggle. Religious violence and intimidation have weakened the Government’s action. The country needs the restoration of an effective criminal justice system, which also prevents and sanctions crimes against religious minorities. La Civiltà Cattolica (3859, 2011, II, pp. 81-90) carries the essay.

The UK’s Guardian carried this obit for Shahbaz Bhatti.

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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