Yesterday, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published an eloquent statement on what it means to be both Catholic and American, and the importance of religious freedom. Since the Bishops don’t give me a personal call when they make statements, or send a copy to my inbox, I learned about this the same way many people have or will: from a link to an article excerpting the statement on my Facebook wall, in my case from the Diocese of Knoxville website.
This short article gave the impression that the most important part of the statement was its call for Catholic Americans to resist unjust laws. This was a bit alarming so I decided a look at the original source was in order.
The second place I heard about the statement was on Twitter, via a link to an an editorial on Commonweal. Had I read only that (and judging from the comments thereafter, most readers did) I would have been left with an impression of the statement as a partisan diatribe against President Obama.
No doubt other people, seeing other links which present quotations from the statement with their own personal slant, will come away with other impressions–and they will be the impressions that the media want them to have.
I don’t want–or need–anyone telling me what I need to think about anything. I can think for myself and you can too. Didn’t I just write about the importance of seeking out original sources?
Here’s a link to the actual statement. It’s a bit long but it’s well-written and interesting. I read it aloud to my husband last night. If you are Catholic, it’s your duty to read it. If you are not, and you would like to understand why Catholics are making such a big deal over the HHS mandate, you should read it too. Perhaps you will come away from it realizing that it really IS about religious freedom, not birth control, per se.
Besides the direct knowledge and understanding of the issue that I gained from reading the document in full, I received something more personal, my own mandate, if you will:
Catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. The Catholic Church in America is blessed with an immense number of writers, producers, artists, publishers, filmmakers, and bloggers employing all the means of communications—both old and new media—to expound and teach the faith. They too have a critical role in this great struggle for religious liberty. We call upon them to use their skills and talents in defense of our first freedom.
Would you look at that? Right there my church recognized the importance of blogging to catechesis today. The Bishops recognized the talent of Catholic bloggers and called upon them to use it! I got a little chill reading that, seriously, because one of my goals with this eclectic little blog, even with its minuscule reach, is to educate about the parts of my faith of which I have a good understanding. Now that I feel that it’s not just my goal, but also a request from the Church, I will try even harder.