Religious freedom was described by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2011 as the "the first of human rights" because it from it our other rights and freedoms flow. It guarantees rights for believers and non-believers alike. It is a freedom which flows from our innate dignity as God-created beings. Along with the right to life, religious freedom is the basic condition for all human rights; they are the condition for "the moral legitimacy of every social and legal norm".
Washington D.C., Jun 28, 2012 / 04:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid misrepresentations in the media and public square, a newly-formed U.S. lay Catholic group is working to communicate the Church's message in a way that is clear, positive and captivating.
"Threats to our religious freedom are not imaginary. They are happening right now. They are immediate, serious and real."
This is how Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia describes what he called "a pattern of government coercion" over religious practice and belief, including the US government's current attempt to compel Catholic organisations to offer insurance cover for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men [and women] who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity - I wish...to enlarge [their] knowledge, to cultivate [their] reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other, what are the bases and principles of Catholicism...
Blessed John Henry Newman
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