July 29, 2012—Napa, CA—(CATHOLIC BUSINESS JOURNAL) Bishop Robert Morlino, speaking on “The Constitution, Human Nature, and Religious Freedom,” linked beauty and goodness to the truth of human freedom. He then laid bare the role that secularism has played, and continues to play, in destroying this natural linkage. Authentic freedom, he said, will continue to come under attack until we turn the tide on secularism’s push to diminish truth, beauty and goodness.
Speaking at the Second Annual Napa Institute, Bishop Morlino called into question the character of secularism, which is based on the enslavement of feelings to instinct. He showed how feelings, while important, do not lead to authentic freedom unless they are educated and well-formed. “Slavery to instincts is worship,” he said, “and not freedom.” Ask anyone addicted to the power, honor and pleasures of the world if they are truly free. Addiction to power, honor and pleasure yield only an insatiable desire for more of the same; not freedom or inner peace.
Beauty, he continued, is essential for the formation of feelings and provides for the integrating unity of the human person. Bishop Morlino stated that real beauty unveils a hidden truth and lifts us up to mystery. Beauty and mystery are under attack by secularists and, now, by the state. The state today shows a complete disrespect for mystery and an increased focus on getting everything under its control—birth, death, and everything in-between.
Bishop Morlino further noted that we are “in a spiritual battle and need to wake up from our sleep and fight our way out of the cave into the pure sunlight of goodness, beauty, and truth.” We will then become an occasion for others to see the light…bringing more of us together… in the light where “we cannot be defeated.”
He closed by noting that in history, humanity flourishes when freedom flourishes. Religion has been an enabler of freedom by promoting beauty and mystery, providing self-restraint in morals, and thereby reducing the need for coercion. The state will continue to step-in and control and coerce our lives, as religion is diminished. The Catholic Church is finding its ministry increasingly defined by the state and with it, its role as a source of truth, beauty, and goodness and a force for human freedom becomes more evident, more radiant in contrast.
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