WASHINGTON - At this important time in our nation’s history, I encourage all of us to take a moment to reflect on one of the founding principles of our republic – the freedom of religion. It ensures the right of faith communities to preserve the integrity of their beliefs and proper self-governance. There have been recent reports that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain. If true, this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country.
In our faith and our Church, Christ has given us a precious gift. As Catholics, we hold onto our beliefs because they come to us from Jesus, not a consensus forged by contemporary norms. The Gospel is offered for all people for all times. It invites us to love our neighbor and live in peace with one another. For this reason, the truth of Christ is never outdated or inaccessible. The Gospel serves the common good, not political agendas.
I encourage my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters, and all people of good will, to be good stewards of the precious rights we have inherited as citizens of this country. We also expect public officials to respect the rights of people to live their faith without interference from the state. When faith communities lose this right, the very idea of what it means to be an American is lost.
Politicians, their staffs and volunteers should reflect our best aspirations as citizens. Too much of our current political discourse has demeaned women and marginalized people of faith. This must change. True to the best hopes of our founding fathers, we are confident that we can and will do better as a nation.