Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brian Hanson

3/10/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Do Americans know what freedom is?

Americans love freedom - but do they really know what freedom is?

Only God can give us real freedom.

Only God can give us real freedom.

Highlights

By Brian Hanson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/10/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: Religious Freedom, American Catholic Church, Freedom, Gay Marriage, God, truth, faith,


WASHINGTON, DC - Perhaps many would respond by saying freedom is the non-coercive capacity to choose. What would they choose? Anything that appeals as a good for them.

While it may be true that freedom entails non-coercion, it does not mean having an unbridled capacity to choose whatever one thinks or feels is good for them.  In such a notion of freedom - prevalent in liberal societies (like the United States of America) - what is good is not so much the thing chosen, but the sheer ability to choose things. The free American is not defined so much by what he chooses, as by the fact that he is capable of choosing anything. In this truncated form of freedom, the goodness of the thing chosen is secondary; in fact it is only
good' so long as it is 'chosen.'

Light a virtual candle today


However, this is a perversion of what freedom truly is. It is not the sheer capacity to choose that makes a person free, but the reality of an actual good that exists prior to any choice. You can only freely choose something if that something really exists as a good in the first place.

Here's an example that draws on a hot issue in our culture today: the goodness of marriage:

A man and woman who choose marriage are free because marriage as such already precedes their choice as a good in reality. A man and a man (or a woman and a woman) who 'choose 'gay marriage' cannot be said to be truly free, for 'gay marriage" does not truly exist as a good; it does not even exist in the first place.  In this context, 'gay marriage' needs to first be 'created' (because it doesn't actually exist) in order to be 'chosen' (which is a deception: a false freedom).  In this case, the actual good (marriage as it exists in reality) is rejected, and defying common sense, freedom becomes identified with a non-good ("gay marriage").

This may appear to be an over simplification of what freedom is (and isn't), and the example may also appear to be short-sighted for not taking into other factors that effect a person's freedom (such as sin). All that withstanding, the basic premise still remains: true freedom goes beyond the mere capacity to choose - freedom rests on a good that exists, and to which freedom is ordered.

In our American culture, we think that religious freedom means being able to choose your own religion.  At first blush, this seems to be a trustworthy definition of religious freedom; but think again.  For Catholics in America, it is important to be clear about this. Jesus Christ is not a mere option, and he is not just for Christians. He is the truth that sets everyone free; in a word, he is the true good that exists in reality, the one who reveals the meaning of human life. He is - in other words - for all human beings, and exists not a mere option, but as the Good that exists for all in reality.

To recap: true freedom does not consist choosing between endless indifferent options.  True freedom goes beyond choosing by allowing what is truly good to move the chooser to affirm that good. 

Freedom has been made possible for us because the Good to which we are moved toward - Jesus Christ - has first come to us.  This freedom certainly goes beyond its deficient form in our American culture.
 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More Blog

Book Review: Encountering The Manuscripts

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

I never gave much thought as to how the New Testament came to be written. I had assumed that someone carefully compiled the various writings sometime in the late 1st century, and that an intact New Testament existed from that time. That being said, I was frequently ... continue reading


Jesus Loves You: Trust in Him!

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

There is so much to prayer beyond simply asking God for all that we need in this life. When we trust in Jesus, and subsequently praise and worship Him for all that He is, we are surprisingly and profoundly filled with hope for today and eternity, we encounter sublime ... continue reading


Who Am I

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Humble people often have times in their lives when they receive an honor that they think they did not deserve. This praise may lead them to ask the question "who am I to deserve this?" They consider themselves unworthy of the glory for whatever reason and they question ... continue reading


The Storm of Resistance

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

The powerful winds swirled and twisted around my body as I stood there motionless. It danced so close to me, yet left me completely unscathed. It circled round me as if I was the eye of it's existence standing there in it's center completely calm and at peace. My arms ... continue reading


We Can't Give Up On Marriage

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Considering the recent focus on the family both inside and outside of the Church, it seemed fitting that we'd find ourselves under a spiritual attack, targeted directly at our Achilles's heel. Thus, I wasn't startled to sense that persistent nagging in my gut that ... continue reading


An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Image of (Blue Caleel/Pinterest).

By Jackie Stammen

Surprises. Our God is full of surprises. A mentor in my life once told me to expect surprises in life, you are sure to have them. Good or bad, you will experience surprises. Three weeks prior to the end of 2014 (good riddance, you crazy year, I am so glad you are well ... continue reading


The Nails

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

The Nails is a heartfelt ballad by Michael Schroeder, expressing the remorse and love felt by Christians when pondering the great sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. The song itself is subdued and quite simple in structure and performance. However, this ... continue reading


On Being a Catholic Christian:

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

Being a Christian today can be riddled with challenges and awkward times. Being a believing Christian is not for the faint of heart, or for those looking for popularity or worldly reward. However, they are compelled to embrace the high road whenever humanly possible, ... continue reading


So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Beginning on Saturday of this past weekend, the phrase made popular by Gene Wilder's character in the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "So shines a good deed in a weary world," has been dancing around in my head. I guess it would be logical for me to ... continue reading


My Winged Messengers

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Whenever I have been blessed to spend time in the chapel at the retreat house at the Abbey at the Genesee, an assortment of birds always flies above and around the exterior of the chapel as I first begin to pray - carefree, chirping, doing what God created them to do, ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know it is as you say: ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise up to praise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 28th, 2016 Image

St. Lorenzo Ruiz
September 28: Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was born around the year 1600 ... Read More