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 May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Blog

What is love? Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

People say things like "If you really love me, you'll have sex with me" or "If you really love me, you'll buy me nice things," but what is the real definition of love? How do newly weds navigate the difficult terrain of authentic love? BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - When ... continue reading


Desolation, Grace, and Trust Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Recently I've crossed into a place I'm not proud to admit I've entered. It's not a physical place, but rather a spiritual and mental place. It's a product of exhaustion coupled with fear, but mostly it's due to a greater distance between God and I because I've been ... continue reading


The Corporate Christian Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

What is a "corporate Christian"? It is a name I have coined for Christians whose world-view is filtered through the 501c(3) charter of their church. Not every Christian nor every church goes through this filter. However, there are a number who do and they do not ... continue reading


The Problem of Freedom Without God

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

In these increasingly dark days, a philosophy of freedom without reference to God has emerged.  In other words, people believe they are free to do anything they want. Well, the fact is, God does give the right of free choice or what is often called free ... continue reading


While Men Slept Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

The parable of the "while men slept" has a message for our times. How can we apply its lessons to our times? The parable of sleeping men is in Matthew 13:24-30, 39.24 He proposed another parable to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed ... continue reading


The Power of Belief Systems Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

Belief systems cause people to act, or "not" to act, as the case may be. Beliefs dictate actions; they also dictate in-actions. Therefore a lot of what happens to a person and community is caused by their actions creating consequences, or their lack of offensive ... continue reading


Just Sign on the Dotted Line Whom You Will Serve Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

The insanity of Western leaders is being manifested as 1000 'Altars to Baal' will be erected in cities around the world. The first alter is expected to appear on April 19, the anniversary of both Waco and the the Oklahoma City Bombing.  An altar is planned in ... continue reading


Has the Church Become Secular? Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

There are some serious questions to ask in this election cycle.  A big one is: has the church become secular?  What does that mean?  The question refers to whether the church adopted the tactics of the secular world as a means to obtain its ends? This ... continue reading


My Bad Attitude Watch

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

I suppose you could say I was feeling inspired (or maybe just brave) when I decided to follow up our hour of peace and stillness with another hour of quiet reflection and prayer at the home of a fellow parishioner for the parish's annual rosary crusade (sans ... continue reading


Good Friday - Gazing Upon The Face of Christ Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

It is only with much perseverance and undeserved grace that our meditation and contemplation will bear fruit - fruit which we should share with those around us. On those occasions when we are so blessed, most of us will resort to sharing our experience with written or ... 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

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Reading for Monday, May 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • Bl. Edward Jones: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • 'The doctors were shocked': Conjoined twins share unusual bond
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 HD Video
  • The gruesome way scientists are killing unborn babies in school ...
  • Daily Readings for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Historical Jubilee documents on display!

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 1:1-11
1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:46-53
46 and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer ... Read More

Reading 2, Ephesians 1:17-23
17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 5th, 2016 Image

St. Hilary of Arles
May 5: Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative ... Read More