Cardinal Wuerl calls religion the ‘conscience’ of democracy
Since America’s founding, its people have understood the importance of religion as the conscience of the culture and necessary for a society to flourish, said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
From the earliest days of our country’s history, religion has been understood as playing a “vital role” in public life and a clear “part of the very fabric of our nation,” the cardinal explained.
“We may have quibbled over expressions of faith. We may have even been hostile to one another’s faith,” he said. “But we never argued that faith doesn’t belong as the foundation for our understanding of how we relate to one another and our obligations to one another.”
Cardinal Wuerl delivered the keynote address at the Catholic Perspectives on Religious Liberty symposium at Georgetown University on Sept. 13.
The event was hosted by the Maryland Catholic Bishops Conference and the Religious Freedom Project of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
The cardinal explained that religious faith has always been “deeply embedded” in American culture.
While the work of religious schools, hospitals and social ministries are important, he said, these “tangible human services” are not the only contributions that religion offers to society.
“With religious faith comes a way of living, a set of standards for moral and civil behavior,” he explained, adding that these expectations are “woven into the very fabric of our societal life.”
“’You shall not kill’ is not simply a legal convention of any particular political persuasion, but rather a moral imperative rooted in our human nature, proclaimed by our religious heritage and intrinsic to the identity of all of us as a people,” he said. [More]