Jan. 13, 2017
Warmest thanks for the opportunity to be part of the broader discussion on faith, sexuality and the meaning of freedom. At the moment we are focusing on one aspect of that discussion, namely, the “demands” of faith in a dynamic cultural setting.
A clarification of the word “demands” might be in order. I would suggest it can mean three things: First, it refers to conditions under which people of faith and their ministries flourish so as to accomplish what they see as their God-given mission, a mission that often includes proclamation, worship, education, charity and advocacy.
Second, it means the legitimate expectation of people of faith that they and their religious institutions will be fully accorded the protection of their God-given religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. At the very least this signals freedom from government coercion but I would say it also includes a certain encouragement for religious people to pursue the truth, grow in virtue, and make their contribution to human dignity and the common good.
Third, the word “demand” does not imply a need or desire on the religious side to compromise the rights of others in fulfilling a religious mission; nor does it imply a right on the part of religious people and their institutions to endanger the common good of society. Rather, there is need to ensure that in our society there is ample “room” for people of faith, for their institutions, and for religious ideas. And, like everyone else we have the right to contribute to and shape the culture of which we are a part by participating in the marketplace of ideas. Let me add that not all these demands are of the practical order. Some are of philosophical, others legal, and still others, practical.
Finally I would note that the mission is often carried out heroically when the foregoing conditions or demands are not met. Paradoxically, the church’s mission often flourishes best under the most adverse conditions. That said, I’d ask that you permit me briefly to expand upon these points.
Read more from Archbishop Lori here.