Archbishop Carlos Maria Vigano, the Papal Nuncio to the United States, gave a thoughtful and timely address at the University of Notre Dame, called “Religious Freedom, Persecution of the Church, and Martyrdom.” Read the entire address!
Here is a key quote, wherein the Archbishop defines religious freedom:
Religious freedom is the exercise of fidelity to God and His Holy Church without compromise. Human action that reflects this fidelity is what has hastened martyrdom and persecution for many believers of the past, and of today. At the core of this fidelity is the desire to be a good citizen of the two cities where we all live: the City of Man and the City of God. This kind of dual citizenship necessitates libertas Ecclesiae, i.e., the freedom of the Church. This freedom is essential to the religious freedom which properly belongs to the human person. And this freedom that belongs to the human person is simultaneously a human, civil, and natural right which is not conferred by the state because it subsists in the human person’s nature.
Archbishop Vigano highlights several examples of the violation of regilious freedom; I’ll give you two. In one case in England, Mr. and Mrs. Johns, a devout Evangelical couple, was declared unfit to be foster parents by an English court. Why? Because they taught the children that certain sexual expressions by consenting adults are sinful. The judge specifically ruled against them because their action was based on religious faith, which the judge found “divisive, capricious, and arbitrary.” In another example, several parents decided to “opt-out” of public school indoctrination for their children which taught that same-sex marriages were normal and healthy. The courts found against the parents in Parker v. Hurley, rejecting the parents’ religious freedoms.
The solution? The lay faithful must confront these challenges, remembering that we are disciples of Christ and not “elements of a political or secular ideology.”