PODCAzT 126: Benedict XVI’s important address to US Bishops on Religious Freedom and the Church in the Public Square

In this PODCAzT we drill into an important address given by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 January 2012 to the bishops of Regions 4-6 in the United States.

This was Benedict’s second major discourse to US bishops who are making their ad limina apostolorum visits this year. In his address Pope Benedict speaks about “freedom of religion” and “the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres”.

I am going to read the full text of this important and jammed packed, memorable address. I think every Catholic in the United States will benefit from this, even though it is really directed to bihops. The Pope is talking about you.

I will then return to a few points Benedict made in the speech, including “human right” and “civil rights”, and the shift of language used (by the Obama Administration for example, from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship”, and then about mystery, transcendence, and the need for a true renewal of our Catholic identity through a renewal of our liturgical worship.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jim Ryon says:

    As I listened to your closing words about the liturgy, which I agree with 100%, I couldn’t help but worry that they may be negated tomorrow if the pope approves the travesty that is the liturgy of Neo-catechumenal Way.

  2. Thanks for the comment! That NeoCat liturgy thing bothers me too.

  3. Beautifully done, as always, Father.

    I’ve been thinking and writing quite a bit on religious liberty, and it seems to me that our weakness in this area contributes greatly to our overall lack of Catholic identity.

    Bishop Lori, Chairman of USCCB Committee on Religious Liberty recently said, “When we speak about religious freedom as the first of the freedoms, it’s not to aggrandize the Church, but to uphold the first line of defense for the dignity of the human person.”

    This is the problem: We (our shepherds) have stopped “aggrandizing” the Church – or more properly, we have ceased to make explicitly clear the unique grandeur of the Catholic Church and likewise Her Founder. We’ve contented ourselves with asking for a seat at the table alongside heretics and heathens.

    Is it even possible to defend the dignity of the human person (i.e., to aid them in perfecting their dignity in God) without pointing to the universal sacrament of salvation that is the Catholic Church? Have you ever heard a bishop publicly proclaim that the one and only God of all wills that every single human being draw near to Him as a visible member of the Catholic Church?

    We’ve ceased to proclaim to the world (and to our own) who we are, and who Christ is, and largely in the name of a castrated notion of religious liberty that effectively places Christ shoulder to shoulder with the false gods of the world, as though Church teaching is but an opinion to which we are entitled instead of what it truly is; the voice of the Lord calling out to His people.

    No wonder Catholics lack an identity.

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