What Does It Mean To be Free?
When we use the word "Freedom" we do not necessarily mean religious freedom specifically, although that is an important kind of freedom since it is the first, the ability to relate without coercion with our Creator. Freedom is at the core of our existence. Without a clear understanding of this reality, efforts to promote religious freedom could be counter-productive, and deeper confusion and even conflict could erupt.
The U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults says this about freedom, "Human freedom is more than the capacity to choose between this and that. It is the God-given power to become who He created us to be and so to share eternal union with Him. This happens when we consistently choose ways that are in harmony with God's plan......Ultimately human freedom lies in our free decision to say 'yes' to God."
Freedom comes to us as a gift; Christ makes us free by offering Himself in the sacrifice on the Cross and by sending us the gift of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul writes (Gal. 5:13), "Remember that you have been called to live in freedom - but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh. Out of love, place yourselves at one another's service."
The gift of freedom requires a response on our part, an ongoing response sustained by both faith and reason, and supported by God's grace.
The gift of freedom introduces a kind of drama in our lives. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it this way (#1733-4): "The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to slavery in sin'...Progress in virtue, knowledge of good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts. "When we meet people who are holy, when we study the lives of the saints, we see what authentic freedom is like, we see that growth in virtue leads to growth in freedom.
Sadly, our Catholic teaching on freedom is not well understood and is even rejected by many in society today. Licentiousness is falsely taught as freedom, and is energetically promoted by hedonistic forces in popular culture. This leads to the opposite of love. For it tempts people to use others as objects of pleasure, rather than to make a gift of oneself for their good. On the other hand, the virtue of chastity counteracts hedonism, and by daily effort to grow in this virtue, one's ability to love steadily increases with the aid of the Holy Spirit. When love grows, so does freedom.
Fierce independence and exaggerated self-sufficiency, so common today, also erode authentic freedom; as does the pursuit of one's own interest with disregard for the good of others. Initially and for a time, persons may celebrate such actions as freedom but, in fact, they enslave the heart, turn one away from God, and lead to lonely isolation from others. But the virtue of obedience counteracts this spiritual imprisonment. Aided by the mercy of God, we can learn to submit our will to the Lord's plan for our life and to trust in His loving providence. When that happens, we discover that true freedom is actually rooted in natural inclinations toward what is true and good.
Source: Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Courageous Priest.
Abortion, in general, and specifically, what is proposed in the Freedom of Choice Act, is not a right or a freedom, it is an abuse of freedom and a license to kill, which is never right. The abuse of freedom always results in the loss of freedom. The unborn already have no right to their fundamental right, which is life, if someone decides that the child should be killed. If the "Freedom of Choice Act" passes (anywhere in the world), then it will be the death of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and a host of other liberties. Ultimately our fight is not with the pro-abortion groups or pro-abortion politicians, our fight is against the powers and principalities of this world. While we want to save as many babies as possible, our greatest concern should be for the souls of those proponents of death who are so ensnared by the Evil One. Let us pray for their conversion because we are our brothers keeper.