Friday, March 30, 2012

My Take on the News: Religious Freedom, and Saints

I spent most of the time I'd allotted for this post to my take on JetBlue Flight 191 to Las Vegas:Bottom line, for that post: there isn't a one-to-one correlation between virtue and being blessed with health and wealth. Being sick isn't necessarily a good idea, either, and that's another topic.

God, Neighbors, and Life

I've gone over this before. A lot:I decided to become a Catholic: which means I take the outfit that my Lord set up very seriously, including what the Catholic Church has been teaching for about two millennia now.

Here's some of what I noticed in this week's news:
  1. In Praise of Religious Freedom
  2. In Defense of Religious Freedom
  3. Tourists, Questions, and Saints

1. In Praise of Religious Freedom

"In Revolution Square, Pope praises religious freedom"
CNA/EWTN News (March 28, 2012)

"Cuba has made progress towards full religious freedom and the government should continue these advances to strengthen society and to allow the Catholic Church to pursue her mission, Pope Benedict XVI said at a huge public Mass in Havana, Cuba.

" 'It must be said with joy that in Cuba steps have been taken to enable the Church to carry out her essential mission of expressing her faith openly and publicly,' the Pope said in his homily on March 28.

" 'Nonetheless, this must continue forwards, and I wish to encourage the country's government authorities to strengthen what has already been achieved and advance along this path of genuine service to the true good of Cuban society as a whole.'

"Religious freedom shows 'the unity of the human person, who is at once a citizen and a believer,' he explained. This freedom legitimizes believers' contributions to building up society...."
"Religious freedom" does not mean 'free to agree with me.' It means freedom: to practice one's religion. Or not practice any faith. Again, I've been over this before:
  • Catholics must support religious freedom
    (Catechism, 2104-2109)
    • For everybody
      (Catechism, 2106)
I'm sure that Cuba's national government has room for improvement, when it comes to religious freedom.

So does America's.

Moving on.

2. In Defense of Religious Freedom

"Tens of thousands rally for religious freedom in 143 US cities"
Benjamin Mann, CNA/EWTN News (March 27, 2012)

(Sarah Webb, The Catholic Standard and Times, via CNA/EWTN News, used w/o permission)
"Catherine Moran from St. Joseph Parish in Warrington, Pa. holds a sign during the March 23 Philadelphia rally. Credit: Sarah Webb-The Catholic Standard and Times."

"After drawing 54,000 people to 143 nationwide protests, leaders of the Stand Up For Religious Freedom campaign are more determined than ever to end the federal contraception mandate.

" 'From coast to coast, the response of the crowds at these rallies was a tremendous optimism that we can change the HHS mandate,' said Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler, who planned the March 23 'Rally for Religious Freedom' with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.

" 'People came out for the very first time in their lives, to any sort of grassroots protest activity,' Scheidler said of Stand Up For Religious Freedom's first effort.

" 'That happened in Chicago. It happened in San Francisco, in Washington, D.C., in New York, Philadelphia, and other large cities.'

"Each of those cities drew between 900 and 2,500 people, united in their desire to restore religious freedom by ending the president's contraception coverage rule. ..."
The "president's contraception coverage rule" includes the sort of "contraception" that involves killing someone who can't run away or fight back. The Catholic Church says we shouldn't kill innocent people. Even if our rulers say it's okay. Which isn't the same as supporting strict pacifism. (Catechism, 2263-2283, 2296, 2302-2317)

Which reminds me of the story about a [name of your favorite pacifist sect] who found a prowler in his home. "Friend," the [name] said, "I would not harm thee for the world: but thou standest where I am about to shoot."

The Church also says that rape and genocide are wrong, but those rules don't seem to be quite as controversial in America. (Catechism, 2356; 2313) And yes, I know about the pedophile priests.

I'm glad to see that so many folks in America noticed the latest attack on religious freedom: and cared enough to go to a rally in their area. We may end up dealing with this issue with less fuss and bother than what America went though with slavery. It took a couple centuries and a major war to sort that mess out. (February 2, 2009)

Coming This November - - -

If you're an American citizen, and eligible to vote: We've got a national election coming up in November. Just a thought.

3. Tourists, Questions, and Saints

"Church: Vietnam revokes visas of church officials"
Victor L. Simpson, Associated Press, via The Jakarta Post (March 27, 2012)

"Vietnam has revoked the visas of three representatives of the Roman Catholic church seeking to hold talks about the possible beatification of a late cardinal who was forced into exile, church officials said Tuesday.

"The delegation was set to arrive Friday and planned to discuss the late Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, who was appointed deputy archbishop of Saigon days before the South Vietnamese capital fell to the communist North in 1975.

"The delegation was sent by the diocese of Rome, which is considering pushing ahead with a cause for the beatification of the cardinal, a controversial issue in the communist-run country. Beatification is the last official step before possible sainthood.

"A Vatican official, who has followed the case but spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity, said the three were traveling on tourist visas. He said he had no additional information.

"Thuan was a nephew of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of US-backed South Vietnam who was assassinated in 1963 during the Vietnam War...."
The Vatican has a very short bio of the former President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on their website:He died September 16, 2002.

It's possible that being in Vietnam on a tourist visa, and asking questions, was a violation of Vietnamese law. In any case, I can see why the folks running that country might be diffident about attention being drawn to the late Cardinal.

He spent 13 years in a reeducation camp: nine in solitary confinement. (Wikipedia) Again, I can see why the Hanoi government acted the way he did. Not only was the Cardinal Catholic, but he's related to the former president of South Vietnam. 'Obviously,' from some points of view, a troublemaker.

And, maybe, a saint.

Offending secular authorities by acknowledging the existence of God isn't necessary to being recognized as a Saint. But it's one way to exhibit heroic virtue. (Catechism, 828)

The way America is going, folks here may be getting more opportunities to practice heroic virtue on a Saintly level. Martyrdom, by the way, is a sort of fast track: but by no means the only way folks become Saints. Which reminds me of Saint Stephen. (Acts 6:5-7:60) I've been over that before, too. (February 12, 2012)
More posts about forcing Catholics to violate our conscience:
The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Conscience
Related posts:

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.