Inaugural: Which way for Freedom?
By: Deacon Keith A. Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
"There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.... Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way....
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul."
George W. Bush, January 20, 2005
Like millions throughout the world, I just heard President George W. Bush deliver the fifty fifth Presidential Inaugural address. It was extraordinary.
Now, it is time to seriously examine its implications. I write as a patriotic American who loves this Nation. I also write as someone who genuinely appreciated this Inaugural address.
However, there are very real questions we must ask now ourselves as a Nation. Among them, what does freedom mean and how is it to be exercised?
In his encyclical letter entitled "The Gospel of Life" Pope John Paul II warned of a "counterfeit notion of freedom." He views this counterfeit "freedom" as the root cause of what he has labeled the "culture of death." In using that phrase, "culture of death", he coalesced all the current social evils; from abortion (which is always and everywhere intrinsically evil); to modern slaveries, (including pornography and drug addiction); to disdain for the poor and a cheapening of all life; as well as the foreboding momentum toward misguided use of technologies to destroy life, active and passive euthanasia and the return of eugenics.
All of these evils find their roots in a utilitarian worldview that sees human persons as instruments and property, rather than images of God, unrepeatable gifts, with endowed, inalienable rights. He warns of what he calls a "Promethean attitude" that is being embraced by individuals, groups, states and regimes, which view the person as some "thing" to be used rather than someone to be received as a gift.
This attitude has become institutionalized in "structures of sin" that are rooted in - and propelled by - a view of freedom as a raw power over others, especially the most vulnerable, and as the "right" to do whatever one chooses.
This notion of freedom as some "right" to do whatever one chooses without reference to what is true, moral or in keeping with our obligations in solidarity, will lead to what he called "the death of true freedom."
In this Nation that we love, we must face some very hard facts. False ideas of freedom as a "right" to do whatever one chooses in a moral vacuum are being propelled by a false notion of the autonomous self as the measure of all things. A plague of license masquerading as liberty has characterized these mistaken notions of "freedom." Freedom has been reduced to a notion of doing whatever one "chooses", including the intentional killing of children in the womb. It has been ripped from its true meaning. This idea of "choice" as a "right" to do what is wrong, never promotes true freedom. It inevitably leads to profane forms of slavery and could bring about the demise of the entire system of rights which is the basis of our free society.
It has been thirty two (32) years since the infamous U.S. Supreme Court Decision of Roe v Wade which consigned an entire class of Americans to the status of property. Like millions, I have prayed, marched and worked tirelessly for life. I have also gone to the U.S. Supreme Court, as a human rights lawyer, to defend pro-life protestors. I will gather with thousands next week in Washington DC to mourn the thirty second "anniversary" of the worst fruit of this counterfeit notion of freedom.
America has hidden the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the first home of the whole human race, the womb, behind the language of "freedom of choice" for far too long. Some choices are always and everywhere evil and wrong. They should not be called "free". They are criminal, even if not currently deemed to be so in the positive law. It is time for an end to legalized abortion, period. That is only the beginning.
There are other examples of the counterfeit notion of freedom resulting in social ills:
Our Courts give legal protection to the commercial trade in pornographic images that turn the bodies of women and men into objects to be used for self centered deviate sexual gratification. This is not freedom. True freedom is promoted when a society recognizes that the whole person, body and soul, is an image of God. Such a truly free society protects and esteems the dignity and beauty of sexual relations within the stable bond of heterosexual marriage and builds itself upon the natural fruit of that bond, the family. Instead, this society uses the police power of the State, through the judicial branch, to protect even child pornography under a misguided notion of free speech. It must end.
In this last year we witnessed the erosion of the institution of marriage and an assault against the family, led by extremists who have misused courts and public officials. Relying on a counterfeit notion of "freedom", the proponents of this new Cultural Revolution have as an explicit goal giving those who engage in protracted promiscuous, non-unitive, non-procreative deviate sexual acts, between men and men and women and women, equal legal status with authentic marriage. If this goal is achieved, this counterfeit of "marriage" would then be "protected", with the power of the State. The Judges, who found a "right" to abort a child in some "penumbra" of the Constitution, could find new "rights" to "protect" those who do what is wrong. Unchecked, the effect could be the demise of true marriage - the plan that is written in the natural law for human fulfillment, flourishing and the continuation of the human race - as well as the erosion of a healthy social fabric. It must not stand.
We are in a struggle for the very definition of the word freedom in this Nation we love - right at a time when our President has inspired us to achieve freedom's highest goals and to serve other Nations by helping them to find and fulfill its promise.
Human freedom is a "good" of the person which must be exercised in relationship to truth and in conformity to an objective moral order. The exercise of freedom is to be placed at the service of the person, the family and the common good. Freedom is not an abstract concept. The fulfillment of the call and vocation to the right exercise of human freedom is found in the free choice of the good and the free gift of self to others in love.
Only an authentic exercise of human freedom will lead us along the path to human fulfillment as well as to building a truly just social order. Choosing the good and the true is the core of what constitutes true freedom. Only human persons can be free because only human persons have the capacity to make choices.
This all has implications on the application of the Presidents inspiring call to freedom on the individual, the family, the community, the society and in our international relations as a Nation.
It is time to reflect on this fine Inauguration speech.
As a Nation, we must now answer the question "Which way for freedom?"
Deacon Keith Fournier is a Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. A Human Rights Lawyer and public policy activist, Deacon Fournier is the author of seven books. His eighth, "The Prayer of Mary: Living the Surrendered Life" will be available in the spring from Thomas Nelson. He is the Senior Editor and Correspondent for Catholic Online.
Third Millennium, LLC
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Monday, May 29, 2017
- St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 29, 2017
- US Archbishop decries President Trump's budget plan - at odds with ...
- Getting Creative With Dead Bodies?
- A Big Thank You from JESUS IS - The Series HD Video
- Jesus Is HERE: Pope Francis declares Jesus intercedes for us every day
- 26 Coptic Christians dead after heinous attack HD Video
- Day 5 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Day 4 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Day 3 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.