Tuesday 31st May 2016

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Fortnight For Freedom . . . The Redemption Of Jesus Christ Sets Us Free

July 9, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By MOST REV. JAMES D. CONLEY

(Editor’s Note: Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., gave this homily at an ecumenical prayer service for religious liberty at Zion Church in Lincoln on Friday, June 27, 2014. After the prayer service, representatives of the Diocese of Lincoln, the Nebraska Family Alliance, and faculty members for the University of Nebraska conducted a roundtable discussion on religious liberty.
(Bishop Conley delivered this homily only days before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.
(The Diocese of Lincoln kindly granted The Wanderer reprint permission for Bishop Conley’s homily. All rights reserved.)

+    +    +

Pastor Kearns, dear brother priests and clergy members, dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
It is a privilege to come together today with you to pray for the good of religious liberty. I am grateful, Pastor Kearns, that you are hosting us. And I am grateful to the Nebraska Family Alliance, and Greg Schleppenbach, for helping us to arrange this prayer service.
Today, we pray together as disciples of Jesus Christ for the good of our nation, and the good of religious believers around the world.
King David says in Psalm 133: “How good it is when brothers dwell in unity.” Today, we dwell in unity with one another — the unity of our common Baptism, our common redemption, and our common need for the freedom that comes in the salvation of Jesus Christ.
In the redemption of Jesus Christ, we’re set free from the chains of sin that enslave us. In the redemption of Jesus Christ, we’re set free to live in the world as sons and daughters of God the Father — set free to worship, to work, and to pray as disciples. In Christ, no matter the circumstances of our daily lives, we’re freed — and in Him we’ll enjoy an eternal life of real liberty. In eternity, we’ll possess the freedom for the highest kind of human activity, the worship of the Blessed Trinity.
The freedom promised to us by Jesus Christ assures that no matter how we fare in this world, He alone, in eternity, will be victorious. It’s important to remember that. We needn’t be discouraged in temporary defeats.
But it’s also important to remember that what happens in this world matters. The freedom Christ confers on us: the fundamental freedom God gives us in creation — is for our vocations in this world — lived out now, in our real lives.
We’re set free by Christ so that we can know Him, love Him, and serve Him. We’re set free by Christ so that we can be instruments of his divine Providence. We’re set free by Christ for our sake, but also for the sake of the poor, the marginalized, the unborn, and the lonely.
We are set free by Christ so that we can love as God loves.
Freedom is the responsibility to choose goodness over profit, or comfort, or consequence. As the Letter of St. James says, freedom is the responsibility to “be doers of the word, not hearers only.” We are praying today for religious liberty. But we should also pray that we each use the liberty we’ve been given to be good disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our freedom is a grace. But it is also a tremendous responsibility.

An Abolitionist

In my own mind, the preeminent Christian hymn to freedom is John Newton’s Amazing Grace. All of us know the lyrics. Grace, recalls Newton, sets free captives, brings sight to the blind, and brings sinners to the freedom of eternal life with God. Some of you may know something about its author. John Newton was a sailor on slave ships that ran between Africa, England, and the Caribbean, in what Eric Metaxas called the “Triangle of Death.”
He was a believer — he had become a Christian during a shipwreck in his youth. But shipwreck conversions sometimes lack depth, and Newton’s might have. He gave up gambling, and drinking, and profanity, but for years after his conversion, he continued in the slave trade.
The Lord transformed John Newton’s heart. Slaves had made him wealthy. They’d given his family great opportunities. They’d funded his studies in theology, and allowed him to become an Anglican priest. Comfort and profit blinded John Newton. But the Lord worked in Newton’s heart. And eventually, his eyes were opened to truth.
John Newton became an abolitionist, and a mentor to William Wilberforce. His influence led to the 1807 Slave Trade Act, which began the process of abolition in the British Empire. Through Christ, John Newton brought justice to the world. He loved, in a real sense, with the merciful love of God.
Grace sets captives free. And freedom is the grace to know the fullness of truth, and to respond.

The Darkness Of Sin

Our religious liberty has the potential to transform the world. God may well use the Christians of our generation to end the shame of abortion. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we may well restore the family, and protect marriage, and bring peace to the poor. If we work together in the Holy Spirit, Christians can be the hands and feet of our redeemer.
Is it any wonder that religious liberty has so many enemies? Should we be surprised that the freedom to live as Christians is under attack?
The human freedom to choose goodness is a great threat to the chaotic injustice of the Devil. The darkness of sin has no greater enemy than those who carry the light of Christ.
In Massachusetts, and D.C., and Illinois, Christian adoption agencies have been shut down in the name of “tolerance.” In Colorado, believers have been barred by law from respecting the natural law of marriage. In several states, providing care to undocumented immigrants — to children even — has been outlawed.
And today, or perhaps Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Christians have the right to bring the faith into their business administration. Churches, and hospitals, and universities are still being threatened.
All of these threats are coming to the state of Nebraska. We are not immune from the great force of secularization that is reshaping the moral landscape of our nation.
Of course, Christian persecution in our nation pales in the face of the threats believers face around the world. In the Middle East, and Asia, and Africa, Christians are still beaten, and tortured, and crucified. This is happening today. Right now.
Our religious liberty is threatened because of the tremendous influence religious believers can have on the world. Persecution is a force of evil.
Pope Francis says that religious persecution is the “great challenge of the globalized world, a sickness, in which weak thought even reduces the general ethical level, in the name of a false concept of tolerance that ends up persecuting those who defend the truth on humanity and its ethical consequences.”
Religious liberty is threatened by those who would use government as a tool for tyranny, for oppression, and for the triumph of hedonistic self-interest. But the best solution to the threats we face is to do the opposite — to live active, joyful, just lives as Christian citizens.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we’re called to make disciples of all nations. And if we actually commit to doing that, we’ll overcome the forces of secularization and hedonism. The greatest response to the threats we face is a commitment to real evangelization.
Pope Francis said last week that “every human is a ‘seeker’ of truth on his origins and destiny. In his mind and in his ‘heart,’ questions and thoughts arise that cannot be repressed or stifled, since they emerge from the depths of the person and are a part of the intimate essence of the person. They are religious questions, and religious freedom is necessary for them to manifest themselves fully.”
Men and women enslaved by sin are searching for truth. The truth is knowable. Jesus Christ is the truth. And the way. And the life. If we are witnesses to that fact, then the slavery which threatens religious liberty stands no chance. If we use our freedom to choose the goodness calls us to, our freedom will beget more freedom. Our love will always beget more love.
St. Paul says that we must not be “conformed to this world.” He tells the Romans that we must be “transformed, by the renewal our minds.” Today we are here to renew our minds — to deepen our understanding of God’s plan for us — and our understanding of real, divine freedom.
May we understand freedom. May we exercise it. And may Christ use us each to transform the world.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Amoris Laetitia is ‘objectively unclear’ since even bishops have conflicting interpretations: Cardinal Caffarra

ROME, May 30, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The cardinal tasked by Saint Pope John Paul II 36 years ago with founding an institute to study marriage and the family has criticized Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation on the family for lacking…Continue Reading

34% of “Pro-Choice” Women Who See This Viral Video Turn Against Abortion

A new four-minute viral video is causing over a third — 34 percent — of “pro-choice” women surveyed to view abortion “less favorably.” And 28 percent of pro-choice women who watched the video stated there should be more restrictions on…Continue Reading

‘Biblically wrong’: Oklahoma lawmakers urge Obama’s impeachment over transgender bathrooms

Lawmakers in Oklahoma have introduced legislation calling for President Barack Obama to be impeached because of his administration’s support for transgender bathrooms. Another bill calls for a declaration of emergency in the state. In a measure called Senate Concurrent Resolution…Continue Reading

Oklahoma legislature passes bill making it a felony to perform abortions

Lawmakers in Oklahoma approved a bill Thursday that would make performing abortions a felony and revoke the medical licenses of most physicians who assist in such procedures. This sweeping measure, which opponents described as unconstitutional and unprecedented, now heads to…Continue Reading

Unanimous Win for Little Sisters of the Poor at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the government cannot fine the Little Sisters of the Poor.  The Supreme Court vacated the lower court rulings against the Little Sisters, accepting the government’s admission that it could meet…Continue Reading

Conservatives outraged over Obama transgender directive to public schools

The Obama administration’s directive Friday that every public school provide transgender access — or face the loss of federal funds — drew swift and strong condemnation from conservatives, with one public official blasting it as presidential “blackmail.” The administration’s directive…Continue Reading

Pro-Life Leaders Decry Scandals, Urge Catholic Colleges to Reject Culture of Death

Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 31 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm…Continue Reading

ACLU launches campaign to strip Catholic hospitals of federal funds

NEW YORK, May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholic hospitals across the U.S. are “withholding emergency care” and denying “essential health services,” the ACLU is alleging in a new campaign. They also inflict harm on “transgender and gender-non-conforming patients” “when seeking…Continue Reading

Harvard Law Professor Says Pro-Life Christians Should be Treated Like Nazis

Every day, it seems, the United States is becoming a more hostile environment for people with pro-life and conservative positions. Abortion activists constantly challenge pro-life laws, stall abortion industry investigations, force religious objectors to pay for abortions and attack life-affirming…Continue Reading

Obama plans new push for transgender rights in schools

The divisive and politically combustible issue of bathroom access for transgender individuals is about to become further inflamed, as the Obama administration is expected in coming weeks to aggressively reinforce its position that transgender student rights are fully protected under…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Notre Dame is Wrong

Notre Dame’s Great Scandal: Honoring Vice President Biden By Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family: The University of Notre Dame has announced that they intend to confer the Laetare Medal, an honor given to Catholics “in…Continue Reading

DoJ to North Carolina: You Have Until Monday to Reverse Bathroom Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a letter from the Department of Justice that gives him until Monday to reverse his state’s controversial bathroom bill, reports The Hill. The DoJ said the law is in violation of the federal Civil…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Commentary

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .      

Today . . .

Pope Francis at Santa Marta: memory, prophecy, hope

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the Readings of the Day, the Holy Father focused on the threefold theme of the dynamic unity in Christian life, the signs of which are living memory, the prophetic spirit, and the sure horizon of hope. The Pope took as the central focus of his reflection the Gospel passage of the day…Continue Reading

">Ronald Reagan . . . Memorial Day Address

Planned Parenthood sponsors bill to make it illegal to record and post undercover footage

A bill making its way through the California State Assembly, sponsored by Planned Parenthood, seeks to make it a crime to publish conversations with certain health care providers, notably those associated with abortion facilities. California has already squashed the rights of pro-life pregnancy centers, demanding they offer abortion as an option to their clients, despite their pro-life mission. Now, Planned Parenthood and CA Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez think it’s a fine idea to prosecute someone from posting a “photo…Continue Reading

South Carolina governor signs ban on abortion for babies who feel pain

CHARLESTON, May 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – South Carolina has joined 13 other states that forbid abortions to be performed on unborn children capable of feeling pain. As expected, Governor Nikki Haley, a Republican, signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Wednesday. The law restricts abortion to the first 19 weeks of pregnancy. “South Carolina took a courageous stand to protect women’s health and safety in limiting abortion at a point at which the risks…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Perseverance in prayer needed, but not “magic wand”

pope908

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday said “prayer is not a magic wand.” He was speaking during his weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope was discussing the Parable of the Unjust Judge – also known as the Parable of the Persistent Widow – from the Gospel of Luke. In the parable, the persistence of a widow forces the unjust judge to grant her request for justice, “so that she will not eventually…Continue Reading

Luther 1517-2017… Five Hundred Years Of Heresy And Doctrinal Confusion

luther

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 9 (Editor’s Note: This is the ninth installment in a series by Wanderer contributor Raymond de Souza on Henry VIII’s book defending the seven sacraments against Martin Luther. De Souza edited this updated version of Henry’s work, which is presented to readers in this series. (This series will appear…Continue Reading

Excluded From Arizona House . . . Racial Healing Meet Has To Find Another Location, Loses Audience

By DEXTER DUGGAN MESA, Ariz. — The chairman of an Arizona Tea Party group introduced a representative of Black Lives Matter Arizona at a racial-healing conference here, saying, “Black lives matter, and of course we agree that all lives matter,” but blacks are unique in U.S. history as “a people who have endured chattel slavery.”…Continue Reading

Havana: The Potemkin Village Of The 21st Century

By ALBERTO MARTINEZ PIEDRA According to the media, it is often heard that many Americans are interested in traveling to Cuba because, as relations between the jewel of the Caribbean and the United States warm, they “want to see the island before it changes.” And they make this statement with a certain degree of optimism.…Continue Reading

Rocky Homilies

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER (Editor’s Note: Deacon James H. Toner, Ph.D., serves at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro, N.C.) + + + The Holy Father’s admonition in Amoris Laetitia that priests must understand that the moral law should not be thrown at people as if it were so many stones (n.…Continue Reading

Restoring The Sacred… A Procession To The Ends Of The Earth

By JAMES MONTI Several weeks ago, after attending the Easter Vigil at a nearby seminary, and the emptied chapel had fallen silent, I began to hear the sound of the sacring bell being rung in the sacristy. Puzzled by this, I wondered whether the seminarians were perhaps trying to repair the bell. But then from…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Look To Our Father In Heaven

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Everyone has made a wrong decision at some point in his or her life, and everyone can speak about the suffering or pain caused by bad decisions. What, on the other hand, about the suffering or pain that is caused by doing the right thing? How often can we say that we suffered personally and…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church Miracles And The Saints

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’.” “Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Matt. 10:7-8). It is evident that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His disciples the power to perform miracles, and many of them did just that. Not…Continue Reading

The Church’s Liturgy — Who Celebrates?

By DON FIER There is an ancient Latin saying in the Church that eloquently expresses what her members believe of the efficacy of the sacraments and their relationship to faith: lex orandi, lex credendi (“the law of prayer is the law of faith”). Each of the seven sacraments, as we saw last week, can be classified in various categories. Yet…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. My husband and I are wondering when to say the “Amen” after the Lord’s prayer is prayed during Mass. I believe “Amen” should be said after we say “deliver us from evil.” — J.W., Georgia. A. Although it is correct to say “Amen” at the end of the Our Father while saying it outside of Mass, for example, while…Continue Reading

God’s Prophet

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Tenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Gal. 1:11-14a, 15a, c, 16a, 17, 19 Luke 7:11-17 In the first reading today we hear about the death of the son of a widow with whom the Prophet Elijah stayed when he was passing through that region. The woman had been very good to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Kevin Of Glendalough

By CAROLE BRESLIN Dublin, the largest city in Ireland, lies on the east coast of Ireland, just across the Irish Sea from Liverpool, England. It is the heart of Irish commerce and the gateway for travelers who wish to enter into the heart and soul of the ancient Irish culture of the Emerald Isle. Traveling south past the Wicklow mountains,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustine Of Canterbury

By CAROLE BRESLIN A Celtic cross erected in 1884 marks the spot in Ebbsfleet, Thanet, East Kent, where St. Augustine of Canterbury is said to have landed in 597. While some form of Christianity in England may be traced back to the times of the Roman occupation, it did not become a strong presence until the arrival of St. Augustine,…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading