The Day Before Thanksgiving: Are There Still Self Evident Truths and Unalienable Rights?
sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true".
"Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires".
In May of 2005, when he took possession of the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, he explained the Petrine mission: "Peter expressed in the first place, on behalf of the apostles, the profession of faith: 'You are the Christ, the son of the living God.' This is the task of all the Successors of Peter -- to be the guide in the profession of faith in Christ, the son of the living God."
"This teaching authority frightens many men within and outside the Church. They wonder if it is not a threat to the freedom of conscience, if it is not a presumption that is opposed to freedom of thought. It is not so..The power conferred by Christ to Peter and his Successors is, in the absolute sense, a mandate to serve."
The Catholic Church has a vital task in this hour. She must point the way to authentic human freedom in a world deluded by a multitude of counterfeits and competing claims. She offers authoritative teaching concerning the existence of self evident truths in an age which insists there are no truths at all.
To make such a claim is not politically correct in a culture which has adopted the notion that there are no objective truths. According to Pope Benedict, freedom was Blessed John Paul II's mission, "when, in face of all attempts, apparently benevolent, in the face of erroneous interpretations of freedom, he underlined in an unequivocal way the inviolability of the human being, the inviolability of human life, from its conception until natural death."
Now it is Pope Benedict's mission - and he needs our help.
Catholics are the champions of freedom in an age rushing toward a new form of slavery. The work of exposing the "erroneous interpretations of freedom" and proclaiming the full truth concerning its constitutive nature is integral to the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. In one of his seminal works entitled "Introduction to Christianity" wrote:
"One could very well describe Christianity as a philosophy of freedom." And, so it is. Philosophy deals with existential questions such as what is freedom and how it is to be exercised. This neo-pagan age has become intoxicated on the wine of a false notion of freedom as a power over others who are weaker and the "right" to do whatever one wills.
In the same homily, the Pope uttered these profound words "The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery." While they call doing what is wrong a right contemporary men and women are being bound in the chains of self delusion, atheistic materialism and nihilism. The new slavery of this age treats persons as property to be used rather than gifts to be received.
The task we have as Catholics is to proclaim a different way, the "more excellent way" that St Paul writes of in his letter to the Corinthians, the way of love. (I Cor. 12 and 13) That is the only way to authentic human freedom. The Catholic Church proclaims the words of her founder, Jesus Christ - that all men and women can "know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)
As sons and daughters of the Catholic Church living in America, we need to live the truth and be willing to defend it. On the day before this Nation pauses to give thanks, a defining question must be asked of all Americans: are there still self evident truths and unalienable rights?
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Thanksgiving, American founding, Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll, Inalienable Rights, Religious liberty, marriage, family, Right to life, Self Evident Truths, Deacon Keith Fournier
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