Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Liberty and Religion

One is free when he or she can act without external pressure controlling what one does.  The recent reports of violent persecution of Christians in Iraq, Pakistan and Egypt show that there is not full religious freedom in these countries, at least not for Christians.

External pressure doesn’t have to be violent; it can stem from prejudice or even law.  When religious people have to censor themselves because they are afraid of contempt or because the law will be used to punish them for their beliefs, religious freedom is minimal or non-existent.

Even when one is externally constrained, one can remain internally free.  Martyrs for the faith go to their death freely.  One is internally free when acting in accord with the will of God.  Confessing one’s personal sins and receiving absolution sets one free at the core of who we are: children of God who delight in doing the Father’s will.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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