WASHINGTON – On January 16, the United States celebrates Religious Freedom Day. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, has issued a statement:
“The right to religious freedom is rooted in the dignity of the human person, who has a duty to seek the truth. Yet our country is riven by political and cultural factionalism, where competing groups seek not truth but rather mere power. Appeals to objective truth are treated as attempts to oppress. Narrative and spin are the weapons of choice.
“Recent popes have rejected this cynical view. Truth, not power, is the basis of our law and politics, even in a pluralistic society. In his recent encyclical, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis says, ‘If society is to have a future, it must respect the truth of our human dignity and submit to that truth.’ And he adds, ‘In a pluralistic society, dialogue is the best way to realize what ought always to be affirmed and respected apart from any ephemeral consensus.’
“Religious freedom opens up space for that dialogue by allowing communities to live in accordance with their convictions and thus contribute to the larger society. When that space for dialogue is constricted, the broader society suffers.
“On this National Religious Freedom Day, may American Catholics and all people of good will commit themselves to nurturing our country’s great legacy of religious liberty for all.”
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