Americans must defend their legacy of religious freedom, cardinal says
September 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Religious freedom has been an essential part of the United States since its beginning and is essential to its future, Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl said in a Sept. 13 talk at Georgetown University.
'The voice of faith has served and continues to function as the conscience of society,' the cardinal said in his keynote address. His talk was part of a conference on 'Catholic Perspectives on Religious Liberty' sponsored by the Maryland Catholic Conference -- the public policy arm of Maryland's Catholic bishops -- and the Religious Freedom Project of Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
The cardinal said the Catholic Church in the United States must continue to be a voice of conscience to a culture that needs a north star to guide its moral compass, in the face of an increasingly secular society that seeks to remove the influence of faith from the public square.
'Our religious beliefs stand, as they have from the beginning, ready to serve our country in the public square, shedding the light of God's wisdom into the heart of the great American experiment in religious pluralism and liberty, while at the same time contributing to the common good and fostering the natural and spiritual prosperity of our people,' Cardinal Wuerl said.
The cardinal's address, titled 'Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society: The Legacy of 'Dignitatis Humanae,'' examined key principles from the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom, and how those ideas offer insight to the nation's continuing legacy of religious freedom in a country with people of many different faiths who are united as American citizens.