Tuesday 31st March 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Lying About Card. Burke

Both Michael Sean Winters of the Fishwrap and David Gibson of RNS posted intellectually dishonest hit pieces against Card. Burke. They purposely misread what Card. Burke said in order to put him in the worst light they could. At least…Continue Reading

Pope says prayers, not ‘gossip,’ needed for successful synod on family

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No matter how weary, wounded or sinful a family has become, the church will always do everything to try to help family members heal, convert and reconcile with the Lord,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

LifeSiteNews: Since the extraordinary synod on the family, we have entered a period of uncertainty and confusion over several “hot-button” issues: communion for divorced and “remarried” couples, a change of attitude towards homosexual unions and an apparent relaxing of attitudes…Continue Reading

Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis

SOMERVILLE, NJ, March 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic school has decided not to rehire a theology teacher who rejected the argument in favor of gay “marriage” on her private Facebook page, her family has announced. The controversy began last…Continue Reading

Creepy Catholicism.

Martin O’Malley is the latest Catholic politician to come out as a duplicitous “Catholic.” Deacon Kandra posts an excerpt here from an interview in which O’Malley displays some amazingly twisted thinking to support homosexual marriage–even though he’s a Catholic. As far…Continue Reading

Polish Bishops’ Conference rejects Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried”

The Polish Bishops’ Conference has issued a communiqué firmly rejecting the proposals that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life. The communiqué, published on 12th March, includes the following statement: “In view of the…Continue Reading

Celtic Catholic priest and friends pile on archbishop

On Monday March 16, KALW radio’s City Visions will host a program “Can Bay Area Catholics and Archbishop Cordileone find Common Ground?” Scheduled guests are the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto; Most Holy Redeemer parishioner and teachers’ union representative Ted DeSaulnier; and…Continue Reading

The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment

A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Pope Is Not Above the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Edit: Rorate tends to understate things.  They want a sober response.  We’d like to offer this translation of Giuseppe Nardi’s appreciation of their take on Cardinal Müller’s recent letter appearing in the Osservatore Romano and additional commentary from other important Italian…Continue Reading

Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?

The Vatican today announced that the vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family will be a consulter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Professor José Granados‘ appointment,…Continue Reading

Gay activist: Of course our goal is to ‘indoctrinate children into LGBTQ agenda’

TORONTO, March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A homosexual activist has candidly admitted that gay-themed materials and policies pushed in grade schools across North America are for the sake of “indoctrinating” children into an unquestioning acceptance of homosexuality. “I am here…Continue Reading

Pope . . . giving holy Communion to remarried divorcees “won’t solve anything”

On the second anniversary of his pontificate, the Holy Father gave a lengthy interview to a Mexican television journalist. – CNA/Bohumil Petrik VATICAN CITY — In a new, wide-ranging interview published Friday on the second anniversary of his election, Pope…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: remember persecuted Christians

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. “We think…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday Homily

pope742

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way…Continue Reading

Pope: Life Of St Teresa Of Avila Can Help Renew Consecrated Life

st thera avila

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said the life of St Teresa of Avila, characterized by “total self-giving to God,” is a “great treasure” that can help to renew consecrated life today. The pope spoke of the witness of St Teresa in a letter, issued Saturday, to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the saint’s birth. Listen to the report by Laura…Continue Reading

Mass at Santa Marta- Ode to joy

2015-03-26 L’Osservatore Romano Joy and hope are Christian traits. It is sad to find a believer who knows no joy, fearful in his attachment to cold doctrine. This was the very reason for Francis’ ode to joy during Mass at Santa Marta on Thursday, 26 March. At the beginning of Mass, the Pope acknowledged the Carmelite “Hour of Prayer for Peace”. “Dear brothers and sisters”, he said, “the day after tomorrow, 28 March, will be…Continue Reading

“What Is Historical Church Teaching On Contraception?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Part 1 “Contraception cannot be an expression of total self-giving, because in contraception, something is…Continue Reading

Transforming The St. Patrick’s Day Parades

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON St. Patrick’s Day, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in Ireland, has been corrupted in America by homosexual activists who flaunt their opposition to Catholic doctrine. Celebratory parades have been co-opted for dissident political purposes. Since the seventh century, St. Patrick has been revered as the patron saint…Continue Reading

How Far Can One Sink?

By DONALD DeMARCO “With [Premier] Wynne’s sex education curriculum, we have at last splashed down in a miasmal sewer in which it’s hard to sink any further.” So writes Harley Price, who has taught philosophy at a number of prestigious universities. Many, including outraged parents and indignant members of the medical establishment, agree with him.…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . A Spiritually Sound Approach To Depression

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The Catholic Guide to Depression, by Aaron Kheriaty, MD, with Fr. John Cihak (Sophia Institute Press, 228 pages). Visit www.sophiainstitute.com or call 1-800-888-9344 for more information or for ordering. + + + This book has a lengthy introduction, and is then divided into two parts. The first is entitled “Understanding Depression,”…Continue Reading

What If Hillary Doesn’t Care?

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What if Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked by foreign agents when she was the secretary of state? What if persons claiming to have done so are boasting about their alleged feats on Internet websites and in chat rooms traditionally associated with illegal or undercover activities? What if this is the sore…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Message From Cardinal Burke

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . The Lessons Of Holy Week On Faithful Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As Holy Week is upon us once again, and we join in with the condemnation of the crowd, crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” we relive the betrayal of sin which marks every human life. We accompany the Lord Jesus Christ on His way of the cross and journey with Him all the way to Calvary.…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: As readers of this column know, we like to quote Fr. George Rutler from time to time because his weekly bulletin columns at the Church of St. Michael in New York City are sources of both information and inspiration. After starting his March 22 column by noting that history is “replete with the failures of famous figures,” such…Continue Reading

We Have Been Raised With Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Easter Sunday (YR B) Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Col. 3:1-4 John 20:1-9 In the Gospel reading today, we hear about Peter and John entering the Lord’s grave after they had been informed by St. Mary Magdalen that Jesus had been taken away. We are told that when the Beloved Disciple saw the burial cloths there and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Faustina And Divine Mercy

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Divine Mercy Chaplet had never been one of my favorite devotions until my aunt died. As she lay in the hospital during her final hours, I sat in the room, visiting with the endless stream of visitors who stopped in to see their fellow volunteer. By six o’clock, the room was quiet. I decided to read…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Of God

By CAROLE BRESLIN In our time, it is common to hear parents bemoan the fact that their child is impulsive, or strong-willed, or irresponsible. Even the Holy Family suffered when our Lord, at the age of twelve, stayed behind in the Temple. How Mary and Joseph must have agonized over the missing Child Jesus. How do you tell God you…Continue Reading