Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brian Hanson

3/10/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Blog

The Art of Receiving Watch

Image of Jesus teaches that it is better to give than to receive, but in order to give we must first receive, gracious recieving blesses those who give.

By Shelly A. Schneider

How good are you at receiving? Not as in professional football, and not as in birthday or Christmas gifts. I'm talking receiving as in sincere compliments and unexpected blessings.things like that. I was never a good receiver and I never really gave it much thought. I ... continue reading


We Stand With You Lord - No Matter The Price We May Be Asked To Pay!

Image of We can gaze upon His Presence here in the Eucharist as long as our Churches remain open.

By Michael Seagriff

May the following words penned more than 50 years ago by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O. encourage us during these trying times and our pending exile in a world that has, for the most part, turned its back on the Lord who created them, died for them, yet still offers all ... continue reading


An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Image of We are brothers and sisters in Christ and we can't be whole until we are all whole together.

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. NASHVILLE, TN - Three weeks prior to the end of 2014 (good riddance, you crazy year, I am so ... continue reading


Synod on the Family: Perception v. Reality

Image of Pope Francis understands the critical importance of the traditional nuclear family in God's plan for human society in general and for the Church in particular.

By by Justin Soutar (Richmond, VA)

The secular news media has irresponsibly embedded in the public mind its own grossly inaccurate portrayal of the 2014/2015 Synod on the Family, raising vain expectations among the Church's enemies (including dissenters) of doctrinal and disciplinary changes that cannot ... continue reading


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Image of One has to look a little deeper to find something other than physical beauty.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Have you ever really thought about that? I'm talking about the heading above. I suppose once you become a spouse and parent the whole "eye of the beholder" thing has some relevance. In my eyes, there is nothing more beautiful on this planet than my husband and our ... continue reading


An Urgent Prayer and Warning - Lest Thy Church Suffer Too Great A Darkness

Image of O Come Let Us Adore Him While We Can!

By Michael Seagriff

Those who have visited here, read my book, I Thirst For Your Love, or frequent Harvesting The Fruits of Contemplation, know how much I value and promote the work of Father Mark and his community, The Benedictine Monks of Perpetual Adoration. Father Mark ... continue reading


Think the grass is always greener? Maybe not.

Image of Kids grow up so fast...we need to enjoy every moment of time.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Are you a 'grass is always greener' person? I was, too, until a seemingly normal Thursday afternoon many, many years ago. Read on. LOS ANGELES, CA - I used to watch moms with teenagers and feel pangs of jealousy.'I can't wait until my kids are old enough to do things ... continue reading


Tribute to an American Catholic Hero

Image of  The 3-cent Iwo Jima stamp was issued July 11, 1945

By Justin Soutar

John Henry Bradley (1923--1994), one of the six Iwo Jima flag-raisers in World War II, may have never considered himself an American Catholic hero, but that's exactly what he was. Whether tending wounded Marines under heavy gunfire in the battlefield or comforting ... continue reading


God said...and I listened

Image of Our daughter, Sam. Most days I feel blessed that she is so similar to me.

By Shelly A. Schneider

I received an e-mail from my friend, and newspaper photographer, Ray Rockwell this morning. It was titled, 'God said 'No.' I'd seen it before, but I decided I might need to read it again. Here's a small part of the text: LOS ANGELES, CA - I asked God to grant me ... continue reading


Our Lost Cathedral Hagia Sophia

Image of Beautiful mosaics in the Hagia Sofia Museum

By Michael Clark

On May 29, 1453, the Christian world lost its first great cathedral, the Hagia Sophia, as Muslim invaders sacked the city of Constantinople finally ending the Roman Empire. The massive church was not spared from the looters, as its treasures and art were either hacked ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 2:2-5
2 As he said these words the spirit came into me and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
1 [Song of Ascents] I lift up my eyes to you who are ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:1-6
1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 12:7-10
7 Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 5th, 2015 Image

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria
July 5: Cofounder of the Barnabites. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter