Government cannot take away true freedom, Archbishop Chaput teaches
“True freedom knows no attachments other than Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Chaput said in his July 4 homily at Washington, D.C.’s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
“True freedom can walk away from anything – wealth, honor, fame, pleasure … It fears neither the state, nor death itself.”
“We’re free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God’s plan,” Philadelphia’s archbishop said. “When we do this, when we choose to live according to God’s intention for us, we are then – and only then – truly free.”
“This is the kind of freedom that can transform the world. And it should animate all of our talk about liberty – religious or otherwise.”
The Archbishop of Philadelphia preached at the last Mass of the U.S. bishops’ two-week religious freedom campaign, which was spurred by the federal mandate requiring religious employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs.
The Fortnight for Freedom began June 21 – the vigil of the Feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More – and ended on the U.S. celebration of Independence Day. Its closing Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., with a homily delivered by Archbishop Chaput.
He began his homily by greeting the congregation on behalf of the Church in Philadelphia, “the cradle of our country’s liberty and the city of our nation’s founding.” It was there, he recalled, that “both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were written.”
In his sermon, the Philadelphia archbishop taught that the human right to religious freedom is needed “to create the context” for the “true freedom” offered by Jesus Christ, which involves liberation from sin and the gift of eternal life.
While religious liberty “is a foundational right” and “necessary for a good society,” it is not “an end in itself.” Rather, it must be used to find and live out the truth in order to attain to holiness, the highest form of freedom.
This higher form of freedom, found through God’s grace, “isn’t something Caesar can give or take away,” Archbishop Chaput taught. [More]