freedom of conscience & freedom of religion

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  • 1. Freedom of ConscienceFreedom of Religion

2. Source of Controversy:The HHS MandateRequires the health plansof all institutions to pay forcontraceptive services: Sterilizations Contraceptives Including emergencycontraception that, insome cases, causesearly abortions 3. The Vice-Presidential Debate 4. The Vice-Presidential DebateWith regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institutionCatholic or otherwise, including Catholic socialservices, Georgetown hospital, Mercyhospital, any hospitalnone has to either refer contraception, none has to pay forcontraception, none has to be a vehicle to getcontraception in any insurance policy theyprovide. That is a fact. That is a fact. --Vice President Joseph Biden 5. Response of the U.S. Bishops 6. Response of the U.S. BishopsThis is not a fact. The HHS mandatecontains a narrow, four-part exemption forcertain religious employers. Thatexemption was made final in February anddoes not extend to Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercyhospital, any hospital, or any other religious charity that offers its services toall, regardless of the faith of those served. 7. The Facts The HHS Mandate requires that all institutions payfor coverage of Sterilizations Contraceptives So-Called Emergency Contraceptives Only one exemptions - for religious employers: Consistent with most States that have suchexemptions, as described below, the amended regulationsspecify that, for purposes of this policy, a religiousemployer is one that: (1) Has the inculcation of religiousvalues as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons whoshare its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons whoshare its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profitorganization 8. The Facts The HHS Mandate took effect August 1st Already forcing for-profit employers to provide all of these services, even if it violates their consciences A one year grace period granted tonon-profit employers (who do not fit theexemption) Barring a change, they too will be forced beginning on August 1st, 2013 9. The U.S. Bishops BattleCryFreedom!!! Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion 10. Potential Objections Not that long ago, the Catholic Churchwasnt so keen on Religious Freedom 11. Potential Objections Freedom of Conscience & Freedom ofReligion are not absolute rights 12. Tonights QuestionsWhat is Freedom?What is Conscience?What is Religion? 13. What is Freedom? 14. At Least Two Dimensions1) Freedom of Choice A power of choosing from among optionsFreedom is the power, rooted in reasonand will, to act or not to act, to do this orthat, and so to perform deliberate actionson ones own responsibility (CCC n. 1731) 15. At Least Two Dimensions2) Freedom as Fulfillment in the TruthYou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free (Jn8:32)Freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factorleading to the destruction of others, when it no longerrecognizes its essential link with the truth (John PaulII, Evangelium Vitae n. 19)The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.There is no true freedom except in the service of what isgood and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuseof freedom and leads to the slavery of sin (CCC n. 1733) 16. Limits to Freedom of Choice The State can and must step in (at acertain point) when citizens beginmaking evil choices Nature itself limits our Freedom ofChoice 17. Subjective / Objective Balance Freedom of Choice (subjectively) isimportant and to be respected A reality that God Himself respects throughout Scripture But is not an absolute right has to be anchored in objective truth 18. What is Conscience? 19. St. Thomas Aquinas(3 Key Points) 20. St. Thomas Aquinas1) Conscience takes general moral knowledge andapplies it to specific situationsHis Example:(Premise 1) I must not do anything which is forbidden bythe law of God(Premise 2) Sexual intercourse with this woman isforbidden by the law of GodCONCL: I must abstain from this intercourse 21. St. Thomas Aquinas2) Conscience can be mistakenHis Example: Certain heretics who believe that all oaths whatsoever are forbidden by God[Could lead to a mistaken conviction ofconscience that taking an oath in court issinful] 22. St. Thomas Aquinas3) We are bound to follow our conscience Even when it is mistaken (!) Even when it tells us to go against our superiorsREASON: Conscience applies principles thatGod Himself has placed in our natural reason 23. Some Observations HereA) The need to form our consciencesaccording to the truth To fail to do so places us in a lose-lose situationB) Conscience tells us what we must do (notwhat its okay to do) For conscience is said to witness, to bind, orincite, and also to accuse, torment, or rebuke Most basic moral principle is bonum agendumest; malum evitandum est:--Good must be done; evil must be avoided 24. Conscience not a Cop-Out!Occasional appeals in recent decades toconscience (and to St. Thomas) in lettingCatholics off the hook from ChurchteachingsBUT Are their consciences well-formed? Are their consciences telling them, I mustdo X or I must not do Y? 25. (Blessed) John HenryNewman 26. (Blessed) John Henry Newman Conscience experienced as a voice We are accustomed to speak ofconscience as a voice, a term which weshould never think of applying to the sense of the beautiful; and moreover a voice, or the echo of a voice, imperative andconstraining, like no other dictate in thewhole of our experience 27. (Blessed) John Henry Newman Conscience as echo of Christs voice: a messenger of him, who, both innature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by hisrepresentatives. Conscience is theaboriginal Vicar of Christ 28. Vatican II on ConscienceIn the depths of his conscience, mandetects a law which he does not imposeupon himself, but which holds him toobedience. Always summoning him to lovegood and avoid evil, the voice ofconscience when necessary speaks to hisheart: do this, shun that. For man has inhis heart a law written by God; to obey it isthe very dignity of man; according to it hewill be judged (Gaudium et Spes, n. 16) 29. Vatican II on ConscienceConscience is the most secret core andsanctuary of a man. There he is alone withGod, Whose voice echoes in his depths. In awonderful manner conscience reveals that lawwhich is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor Hence the more right conscience holds sway, themore persons and groups turn aside from blindchoice and strive to be guided by the objectivenorms of morality. Conscience frequently errsfrom invincible ignorance without losing itsdignity. The same cannot be said for a man whocares but little for truth and goodness, or for aconscience which by degrees grows practicallysightless as a result of habitual sin. (Gaudium etSpes, n. 16) 30. Vatican II on ConscienceIn all his activity a man is bound to followhis conscience in order that he may cometo God, the end and purpose of life. Itfollows that he is not to be forced to act inmanner contrary to his conscience. Nor, onthe other hand, is he to be restrained fromactingin accordancewithhisconscience,especially in mattersreligious. (Dignitatis Humanae, n. 3) 31. Final Observations Essential to respect freedom ofConscience For forcing someone to violate conscience isforcing him/her to commit sinBUT Conscience must be formed according to thetruth Conscience is only binding when it tells us whatwe must do / avoid There must be at least some limits to the Staterespecting freedom of conscience what arethey?? 32. What isReligion? 33. Religion Typical View Today Usually involves Doctrine Morality Ritual Worship A human attempt to give meaning to lifeand the universe (cf. Wikipedia) There exist many different religions each of which is a legitimate quest formeaning 34. BUTA God who is merely imagined and invented is not God at all. If He does notreveal Himself, we cannot gain access toHim. The novelty of Christian proclamationis that it can now say to all peoples: Hehas revealed himself He personally And now the way to him is open. --Pope Benedict XVI in Paris (Sept 12, 2008) 35. Pope BenedictsUnderstanding of Religion God is realHe has revealedHimself The way to Himis now open 36. Religion as a Virtue Justice towards God is called the virtueof religion (CCC n. 1807) (Justice = to give each his/her due) Acts of Religion (CCC nn. 2096-2103) Adoration Prayer Sacrifices Promises / Vows Evangelical Counsels (hence the term Religious Life) 37. Tracing the History Religion comes from the Latin Religio Cicero (106 B.C. 46 B.C.) --Religion as cult (cultus), i.e., ritual worship --A very public understanding of Religion a civic duty --Religion as the basis of laws and culture 38. Scripture Greek words sometimes translated asReligion in English: Latrea ritual worship Thrskea worship / devotion / piety /observance Eusbia godliness, piety Deisidaimona god-fearing 39. Latrea (ritual worship)Example: 1 Maccabees The false Latrea of King Antiochus (1:43) in contrast to the true Latrea offered by the Jews (2:19, 2:22)[False Latrea = IDOLATRY] 40. Thrskea (Worship / Piety / Obersvance) Example: James 1:26-27If anyone thinks he is religious, and doesnot bridle his tongue but deceives hisheart, this mans religion is vain. Religionthat is pure and undefiled before God andthe Father is this: to visit orphans andwidows in their affliction, and to keeponeself unstained in the world 41. Eusbia (godliness, piety)Example: 1 Timothy 6:5-8men who are depraved in mind andbereft of truth, imagining that godliness isa means of gain. There is great gain ingodliness with contentment but if wehave food and clothing, with these we shallbe content 42. Deisidaimona (Fear ofGod) Historically was used In negative sense (superstitious fear) In positive sense (fervent devotion) In neutral sense Only Scriptural exam


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