Catholics must promote ‘freedom for’ more than ‘freedom from,’ says Cardinal Dulles

.- Catholics in the United States must live and promote a positive approach to liberty, conceived more as “freedom for” something constructive rather than as a mere “freedom from” real or imaginary restraints, said Avery Cardinal Dulles in his keynote address at the first National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

The event yesterday gathered more than 1,000 attendees at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., including many Catholic personalities such as Judge Robert Bork, Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Walter Jones, the Honorable Tommy Thompson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Theodore Cardinal McCarick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., who is in Rome for an Ad Limina visit, sent a personal greeting that was read by Fr. Robert Pranke, the archdiocese’s director of vocations.

“Your presence has completely surpassed our expectations,” said Austin Ruse, vice-president of the organizing committee during the breakfast, which followed the prayer of the rosary and a celebration of the Eucharist.

“There is nothing more central in our nation than the idea of liberty,” said Cardinal Dulles during his keynote address. “Our anthems, our Constitution, our national monuments,” as well as the most famous phrases of the Founding Fathers refer to liberty and freedom, he explained.

“Yet, we speak more in terms of ‘freedom from’ that of ‘freedom for.’ That is to say, we understand liberty as the freedom to do what we feel to do, without the limitations of external constraints.”

The cardinal said many scholars today believe the 21st century will be the age of “moral freedom” – following and age of economic and political freedom – in which each individual will choose what is morally fit for him or her, without “external” or “imposed” norms.

Cardinal Dulles recalled that the Supreme Court’s decision upholding abortion was based on the idea that each individual can define who is a human and when a human life begins. “This is a fearsome principle,” he said, because it is the same one that inspired ideologies such as Hitler’s and Stalin’s.

“When each moral option is equal to another, inevitably society decays,” said the cardinal, pointing out that today’s alarming increase in the kind of crimes and social ills usually marks the fall of a civilization. “A moral vacuum is always filled by drugs, lust and violence,” he explained.

According to the cardinal, “the basic error is to describe freedom in negative terms, as freedom ‘from’ instead of as ‘for’. Positively described, freedom is the quality and the capacity to choose the best” and to be attracted to the highest values, explained the cardinal. 

“The love of God of the angels is both necessary, but pre-eminently free,” he said as an example. “Jesus teaches us that truth makes us free, which means to be liberated from error and sin,” he said. “Freedom is not the opposite of love. It is the source of it.”

Cardinal Dulles concluded by saying, “We, Americans, have the responsibility to avoid the misinterpretation of freedom, to explain and make evident that freedom has to be related to responsibility and objective principles.

“There is hardly any concept as important for our national welfare in the contemporary world as this true meaning of freedom,” he stated.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: