I have come to light a fire on the earth... - Luke 12:49
Log in / Register
Your shopping cart is empty
7 Deadly Sins/7Lively Virtues
Lectures & Postcards
Word on Fire Interviews
Articles and Commentaries
Word On Fire Blog
About the Series
PJ SUPPORT MATERIALS
RSS & Syndication
Pass the Flame
CDs & MP3s
Current rating: 4.5 (10 ratings)
Fr. Barron comments on Religious Liberty
Well done. Is it possible that we are repeating history? My kids want to know...have these "persecutions" happened before? We are reading through Mark and have arrived at ch.13. They want to know: have these signs begun to manifest? Can you help us?
5/16/2012 4:40:27 PM
You on spot on Fr. Barron on every point. That is a great point about "Hard" and "Soft" tyrannies. One can aruge the U.S. is slipping into a soft tyranny (inching towards greater oppression instead of simply sticking rifle butts in our face). I watched Chesterton's Father Brown series from the 1970s Brit. tv (I recommend it), and the blatant anti-Catholicism aimed at Fr. Brown by supporting characters is captured perfectly by Chesterton (and Enlgish Catholic himself)
5/16/2012 8:35:45 PM
Try as you might to soften the criticism, comparing the horrors of 16th century England to the HHS controversy of the past few months is a bit of a reach in my view. Surely you do not suggest that an image of Sebelius or Obama belongs in your montage of Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin.
5/16/2012 10:21:14 PM
Joel- Obama knows, as do many political science and public administration majors in this country, in order for society to accept change (in whatever direction you want to take them), change must occur in an evolutionary pace, not revolutionary. This administration has an advantage through data bases that are currently being used, to study society and predict their voting behavior, and analyze how to get people to change their behavior. If that isn't scary, I don't know what is. This process slowly and scientifically erodes freedom. The data and statistics through the US Census Bureau, and the Dept. of Labor Statistics are being combined, to do the above mentioned analysis. It is a massive undertaking, but one that is successfully changing the political arena to include very methodical political oppression.
5/16/2012 11:07:37 PM
I agree about the importance of religious liberty. But it seems to me that Christianity in Europe and North America today isn't "persecuted" so much as sidelined. Johann Baptist Metz is on to something, I think, when he says that the Northern Hemisphere has entered an age of religious indifference. True: militant secularists and atheists make a lot of noise in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. But the more urgent danger is the attitude of sheer indifference to traditional Christianity displayed by the middle class, youth, and baby boomers. The end is a whimper more than a bang.
And if any of this is on point, the obvious question to ask is: how much responsibility must the Christian community shoulder for its own marginalization?
5/17/2012 4:01:47 AM
Joel.... the idea of somebody reaching into and forcing me to violate my conscience, my relationship with God, the deepest core of myself, would truly be one of the most horrific things that could happen. so, yea, it is a fair comparison and as the dominos fall - with potential of a worse outcome.
5/17/2012 7:50:05 AM
Carla: The point I was attempting to make is that we need to be extremely careful when conducting our political discourse. The Catholic Church has a legitimate beef with the HHS mandate and is right to see the issue as a matter of religious liberty. But, little value is added to the debate by conflating concerns about the HHS issue with the violent suppression of Catholicism in 16th Century England, and by extension, other examples of violent suppression of religious liberty by a veritable litany of history’s worst oppressors. Whatever can be said about the HHS mandate and religious liberty, no one can legitimately suggest that an attack on religious liberty was the motivation behind this recent decision of the Obama administration. Fr. Barron remarked that he had no desire to demonize Anglicanism. As the case is made for the protection of religious liberty, I think we should be just as careful to refrain from demonizing the Obama administration.
5/17/2012 9:21:28 AM
Joel, the Obama Administration is responsible for the negative effects and backlash of it's decisions and leadership. Most Christians who voted for Obama (excluding me,) didn't expect Obama to turn on their freedom of religion. I'm sure they didn't expect to have their freedom of conscience to be violated, and be forced to pay for abortifacients either. This administration has made it's bed, therefore must lie in it, with all it's uncomfortable lumps and bumps. If that means the Catholic Church legally fights against the poor policy-making of this administration, then so be it (good!) Personally, I'm not making any efforts to make this administration look like a victim here, because of the highly skilled and manipulative tactics that have been used by this administration to attack this country's foundational ideologies and freedoms. Joel, you said, " We need to be extremely careful when conducting our political discourse." What?? Nooo, that would be the Obama Administration who is conducting political discourse. The Catholic Church along with many other Christian denominations are conducting are planning our nation's political recourse, which involves legal litigation to protect our rights as citizens.
5/17/2012 12:39:10 PM
Joel: I agree there is a fine line, and I think Fr. Barron carefully walked it. What I took from it, was that whether religious freedom is suppressed by other religious bodies or by secularized governments, the result is the same. I think the debate needs to be framed just as Fr. Barron showed it: by showcasing what happens when religious freedom is pushed aside. It starts first with the attitude and/or ideology that religion has no say in the public square. If that is accepted, then history shows time and time again the violent, dehumanizing results.
5/17/2012 12:54:21 PM
Without a people looking to God, the government becomes the highest authority, and tyrrany is inevitable. If Christians get mushy, the tyrants will come.
5/17/2012 6:42:17 PM
Dan: Thanks for your response. I think this video is a good example of how hard it is to walk that fine line whether or not we agree that Fr. Barron was successful. When pushing a cause in the public square, proportionality is often the first victim of the debate: the sky is always falling or we are always on the slippery slope to oblivion. That is why it bothers me greatly that the specter of violence is even mentioned in the same breath as a discussion about religious liberty arising out of the HHS controversy. More to it, the thought that religion has no say in the public square in American politics is absurd: American politics is absolutely bathed in religion. Look at the recent decision by the people of North Carolina to constitutionally enshrine a particular view of marriage, a view informed primarily by religious belief, including Catholic doctrine. Do you doubt for a moment that religious freedom was not absolutely trashed by that decision?
5/18/2012 7:58:33 AM
There is a willingness, at least in Norway, to openly ponder what is happening in their society as it relates to religious freedom and what is morally right. The debates on the subject of abortion are fascinating, and one could only hope that such debates will some day happen in the US. The willingness for secular groups to struggle with deep and troubling questions about life, death and God is astounding. What is even better is the clear voice of the Catholic Church is often included in these debates. I would argue this is because Norway was for many centuries as Catholic country and much of it's Catholic roots are still quite strong, even if they are few. (Norway's experience of reformation is unique in Europe and well worth exploring) As the US was NEVER a Catholic country, the risk of it falling into a very destructive tyranny is very high. A Catholic voice - faithful to the teachings of the Church - is essential in the US at this time.
5/18/2012 8:01:03 AM
Brian A Cook
Kerry, I have been contemplating why many people turn away from Mother Church. I do the biggest culprit is the fact that the earthly allowed itself to be associated with the Dark Ages, with dead monarchist regimes, with right-wing dictatorships, and with reactionary attitudes. Mother Church will have much work to do to convince people that she really offers the fullness of truth and life. MUCH work indeed. Carla, Robert, the sad fact is that the Church has been accused of slowly and scientifically eroding freedom and inching towards tyranny throughout history. Could it be that the earthly Church failed to make good on her promise to give life abundantly, not just in the afterlife but here and now as well?
Father Barron, I appreciate your words in general in this video.
I know I have been mostly negative on these threads. I have a complicated and difficult history of seeking truth and goodness, mainly through Mother Church. I recognize that the Church is basically the Body of Christ. However, there is no denial that there are stains that need to be washed through divine grace and strenuous human efforts. That will certainly be necessary to provide a credible witness to the Gospel.
For several reasons, I have been contemplating giving up on posting to Catholic websites in trying to ask questions to prod discussion. Though the threads I see here usually aren't as vehement as on others, I still see some comments which infuriate me (i.e. scapegoating feminists for men's lower performance and blithely insistence on "a return to the natural order").
5/18/2012 1:25:49 PM
Brian A Cook
I should have added this to my last post. If you never see me here again, I wish all of you well and I ask you to pray for me.
5/18/2012 1:26:44 PM
Anger is the enemy in your search for the Truth.
I think you best stay here with us.
5/18/2012 2:30:08 PM
Does Elizabeth the first really belong in the same montage with Stalin and Hitler?
5/18/2012 3:25:33 PM
For Brian, should you ever return to WOF:
Why go from site to site, why walk, run, crawl, fly away from the community of the faithful, imperfect as we are. Perhaps you have a Gift which will enhance, possibly complete us; perhaps we have a Gift you have prayed for; perhaps the work that you speak of, includes your input, your willingness to carry the cross with us, weep with us, forgive with us, move forward with us. And Who can you run to, and Who do you escape from, for you carry your dismays wherever you move on to.
will you be praying for us too?
5/18/2012 4:37:56 PM
I was born in England, but we moved to the States when I was very young...I remember visiting my grandparents in Bromsgrove when I was a pre-teen for my Uncle's wedding (reception at Marlbrook) But I don't remember anyone persecuting me or my family for being Catholic. I've been to churches in Spain, Australia and the US and I've never known persecution. I've read about the Inquisition and thought that one of the worst periods in Catholic history. But I'm wrong. And I'm ashamed to say I'm (half) English. I can't believe that entire island is basing, for the most part, their religion on a (and not to speak ill of the dead) 'portly' man who either divorced or killed his wives.
5/18/2012 5:57:31 PM
There are a lot of sweeping generalizations in the above comments about the Catholic church. When I find that my perspective is too large, I find it helpful to narrow my scope, view, and focus on a smaller section such as my Diocese, Parish, school and my own spiritual life. Sometimes it isn't as overwhelming.
5/18/2012 6:07:16 PM
Wow. I'm about at the point of joining Brian. I admire and learn from what Father Barron and the other columnists post, even if I occasionally disagree. But readers' comments are often over the top, and I find that incredibly discouraging. In this posting alone, Carla's political rants are now joined by Racheal's incredibly bigoted and uninformed slap at Anglicanism. Reality just isn't so simple, so black-and-white, so all-or-nothing, that it allows for these sorts of binary judgments.
5/19/2012 6:57:59 AM
I agree, that sweeping generalizations, both about the Catholic and Anglican churches are unhelpful. I appreciated Fr Barron's observation that Catholic and Protestant are drawing closer together against the threat of secularism. I was encouraged to hear of the Church's role in Norway (being a big Sigrid Unset fan) and encourage folk to pray for a similar awakening in England. Anglicans are being given a unique invitation through Anglicanorum Coetibus to rejoin the Church.
5/19/2012 8:19:26 AM
Big hug to Brian and Kerry. Please don't be frustrated with us, families disagree sometimes. This forum is a little limited but if you want discussion just ask for it. Remember we're on the same side, aspiring together.
5/19/2012 9:10:58 PM
At least my political rants are in line with the Catholic Churchs political rants. This IS a commentary on religious liberty, correct? There are some political topics that are black and white, such as the right to life, and the right to religious freedom. When important issues become grey, that is when we lose perspective of their utmost importance. May we never forget the importance of life and religious liberties.
5/19/2012 10:10:14 PM
Those of us who admit that unborn children (euphemistically and clinically called "fetuses") are human beings will never be able to soften our language enough to suit your sensibilities. Why? Because what we have on our hands is a full-blown genocide. It deserves outrage; indeed, hyperbole seems almost impossible when one thinks about the sheer enormity of it all. AND as it so happens, this genocide is one that targets, more often than not, minorities, females, and those with physical and mental disabilities. Religious or not, a "liberal" person should be outraged. Period. Yet here we are again -- begging each other not to say anything too bad about the President and his band of apostate Catholics. Pardon me while I say, Puh-leeze.
5/20/2012 6:02:49 AM
Carla, what is the difference between religious liberty and religious freedom? or am i understanding you? I'm serious, i don't know. you guys are all way smarter than me, 1/2 of these commentaries i really don't understand, let alone the comments.
In regards to anybody leaving around here, i think it's a little like staying in a marriage... just walk out on us? He told us to love each other unconditionally. Maybe we can try to take opportunity in this to learn how to open our hearts to our neighbor just a tiny bit more. for heavensakes, we aren't even in the same room and people are walking out? How can this be?
5/20/2012 7:08:17 AM
Perhaps another topic for Fr. Barron. I served as a chaplain for a state prison. The chapel building in the yard was used by Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Muslims. When I started there were Sweat Lodge ceremonies held there. Then they added Wicca. Then there was a group of Satanists that used a stuffed cat and plastic knife for their ceremonies. I would like to hear a commentary on why Satanists should not be included in the list when we talk about Religious Freedom.
5/20/2012 8:00:13 PM
Nate and Carla: Thank you for proving that my concerns were not misplaced.
5/20/2012 8:37:05 PM
ANONYMOUS- For a more clear understanding, here is a good article that explains they way the current administration is affecting freedom of religion.
5/20/2012 10:43:32 PM
It is really important to have a Catholic perspective rather than simply a political perspective when it comes to properly understanding the state of things in the United States. Remember, the One True Church was here long before people began to think in terms of "Left" and "Right" and "Health Care for All". I find it very telling that the target of the State (could be any state in the world and at any time in history) finds the greatest conflict with the Catholic Church whenever the Church stands it's doctrinal grounds. The US is no exception to that rule. I love my country, but I take great comfort in standing against the policies of its government when they contradict the teaching of the Church. Mother Church will always prevail.
5/21/2012 7:09:49 AM
There were edicts by the Pharaohs, by Herod and others to prompt infanticide. On each and every occasion there arose a great spiritual renaissance by the likes of Moses and of Jesus, as well as the Passover, only this time, there is nowhere to run. The HHS Mandate is an edict likened to that of those in the past. With parallels drawn between humanist secularism and technology, a collapse of the exponential climb in both secularism and technology is indicated. A great spiritual awakening will follow.
5/21/2012 10:48:35 AM
Fact 1: Over 40% of African-American children conceived to mothers in NYC are killed in the womb.
Fact 2: We who are outraged about Fact 1 tend to use strong language.
Fact 3: Between the two preceding facts, it's the LATTER that prompts Joel's fit of hand-wringing "concern".
Fact 4: Fact 3 speaks volumes.
5/22/2012 10:20:14 AM
Nate: My comments were prompted solely by concern with the quality of our political discourse regarding the issue of religious freedom, the subject of Fr. Barron's video. Somehow, those comments led you to conclude that I favor abortion. Aside from the fact (I guess this would be Fact 5) that you are wrong, I think you should consider the likelihood that your outrage alone will never change a single mind or, more importantly to the issue of abortion, a single heart. I am not offended by your outrage or your strong language. I am offended by the way we demonize each other over all the various issues our country faces, not because it offends my sensibilities, but because such demonization tends to eliminate any possibility that we can effectively resolve those issues. I think your posts are excellent examples of that reality.
5/23/2012 6:12:43 AM
There is no greater attack then those aimed at the heart... it almost stops time and often for a long time. Religious Liberty is necessary for any country to progress or to heal for that matter. After hearing what you had to say on this score, I am convinced that there is no greater attack then those aimed at the heart of a person or nation. Evil has historically filled any void created from such an injury. I hope your warning is kept in a safe place in the mind of anyone listening to this commentary on religious liberty. The heart of this country would be our Constitution, worth protecting and defending for sure.
5/23/2012 10:13:20 AM
Thank you Father.
I'll get specific here as to the real problem.
For the last 30 years Catholics have been voting for Democrats because they believed that the Democrat party stood for social justice. I have been appalled by this fact simply because the Democrats have been standing FIRMLY and defending the killing of the unborn. My friends have not, until recently, begun connecting the dots. The modern Democrat party platform is nearly identical to the Modern US Communist party platform. Don't call me names, look it up yourself. CPUSA endorsed Obama. If that doesn't scare you, nothing will. The chickens are coming home to roost. The very individuals you all have voted into office are now pushing their Leftist agenda. I warned of this 25 years ago. Please Catholic's, it's bad enough to vote Republican but it's a complete disaster voting for Democrats.
5/25/2012 6:09:33 PM
First of all Kerry, and I believe you are a blogger working for WOF, you passed up an excellent chance to educate someone about Anglicanism, and I assume you're Protestant, instead addressing a commentator in a hostile manner? I've attended Protestant bible studies after joining Intervarsity (though I'm Roman Catholic from the cradle) and have some godly friends that I respect very much. I've never been asked to explain about my Catholicism-not once. Perhaps because I listened to what they had to say.
My interest in Anglicanism stops at Henry VIII. The fact that Newman and Chesterton are converts from Anglicanism solidifies that fact. What I can't understand is maybe I am wrong about a historical point; I am not paid to oomment so therefore I don't have to be correct, though I very much doubt I am. Why don't you prove me wrong?
5/26/2012 7:14:09 PM
I'm glad nobody is able so far to cite any error in Church teachings on faith and moral matters. "All the evil in the world is due to lukewarm Catholics." - Pope St. Pius V
5/29/2012 1:31:37 AM
I realize I'm playing 'Johnny-come-lately' here, but what the heck, here goes anyway.
I'd like to make three points, the first two concerning the video.
1. In regard to the issue of Religious liberty & the HHS mandate. If you understand the Church's teaching on human sexuality then you should also understand why disapproval of contraception is considered such a core principle to Catholics. Human life is made in the very image & likeness of God Himself. It is in this Truth that our absolute value & dignity are rooted. This cannot be understated! It is the Church's position that sex, when done as God intended(go forth and multiply), is good - VERY GOOD. But when the purpose is changed by people from pro-creation and bonding to mere pleasure then it becomes something, shall we say, more ignoble. Remember the Creed - "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of LIFE!" When people use contraception, whether in the loving embrace of a husband and wife, or the brutal incestuous abuse of a parent and child, when we frustrate God's intent, we sin. Recall the 'Book of Job' our perspective IS NOT God's perspective, we DO NOT always know God's will; God's plan. There are many examples from the Bible and from history of people who came into the world through less than ideal circumstances that God raised up and used for His greater Glory. So, it is NOT for the Government, or the schools, or the culture, or anyone else to assume that decision. I know it sounds somewhat draconian to our modern ears, but when it comes to sex, it should be between husband and wife alone, and they themselves should defer to God as to what the consequences of that loving act should be.
7/18/2012 8:45:54 PM
My second point - For those that made comments to the effect that we are exaggerating or embellishing the circumstances of today's "persecution". I think Father made a clear distinction that even though, today, we are nowhere near the events of past persecutions, keep in mind that those past occurrences, more often than not, they did not happen - SNAP - just like that! It was a more gradual process; the first step is to marginalize the religions, make them irrelevant, and sideline them. Next begin mocking them, make them a joke, and embarrass them. (I think many would agree with me that we are already in these first two phases.) Next enact legislation to outlaw their practices and beliefs. And it is with the HHS mandate that we are entering into this next chapter. If we don't start digging in and pushing back, we're going to get pushed over. As said by Edmund Burke - "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". Well, we good Catholic men better start doing something. And I thank Father Barron for being one of the leaders in standing up and doing something. So, are things as bad today as in years past - no, but am I really being outrageous to say there appear to be a trend in our culture that concerns me? I afraid if we don't answer this 'threat' there may be darker days ahead for all, and particularly Christians.
7/18/2012 9:17:57 PM
Last point, and this speaks to the mildly antipathetic back-and-forth between some of the commentariat above. Let's remember that we are members of Christs' Body - Christ is God - God is Love! Let us approach one another from Love(Agape!) If we strive to be mature in our Faith we can discuss these weighty matters with passion and fervor, but also with love and respect. Again Fr. Barron provides us with a good example of how this can be done. Stand your ground, defend your position, speak your piece, and love your interlocutor. I believe the idea is to bring them to the Light, not beat them over the head, or worse, chase them further into the darkness. As our Lord said "People will know you are my followers by how you love one another", and "Love your enemy's, and pray for those who persecute you". (I hope I'm not coming across too preachy.) Anyway, I've said enough, gotta go. God Bless, and Love to all.
7/18/2012 9:39:21 PM
Faith Clip Videos
Share with your friends
Get involved with Word On Fire
Click Here to Join our Mailing List
Click Here to Donate Now
Answering the Skeptics
Book of Eli
calling of the disciples
Fr. Robert Barron
Of Gods and Men
Pope John Paul
To Rome With Love
Tree of Life
Word From Rome
Word On Fire
"Intentional Discipleship": A commentary by Fr. Barron
"The Fault In Our Stars": A commentary by Fr. Barron (spoilers)
Bill Maher and Biblical Interpretation: A commentary by Fr. Barron
Fr. Barron comments on the meaning of Easter
Noah: A commentary by Fr. Barron
WORD ON FIRE CATHOLIC MINISTRIES | 5215 Old Orchard Road Suite 410 | Skokie, IL 60077
Copyright © 2010 WordOnFire.org