Sunday mornings before Mass find me reading the newspaper during breakfast. One of the first things I read each Sunday (after the comics, of course…see my post from May 28 about my Saturday Mornings) is opinion columnist Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald. 95% of the time I find myself agreeing with what he has written. And, yes, I am a bit of a liberal. My parishioners know that, now you know it. Pitts has often been labeled with the “L” word, but he makes a lot of sense to me. I recommend his column that appeared this Sunday in the St. Louis Post Dispatch that lays bear a streak of religious intolerance that unfortunately has become part of the U.S. landscape in the post 9-11 era. I remind my readers that the Catholic Church preaches religious freedom and the right of each human to seek God in what ever way that their conscience and circumstances leads them. Yes, we hope that all people will find salvation through Jesus Christ, but in the realities of the human situation of this world and its many religions we must respect the beliefs of others. For those who want the source of the official teaching I suggest reading the Vatican II documents DECLARATION ON THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS (NOSTRA AETATE) especially paragraph number 3 and DECLARATION ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (DIGNITATIS HUMANAE) ON THE RIGHT OF THE PERSON AND OF COMMUNITIES TO SOCIAL AND CIVIL FREEDOM IN MATTERS RELIGIOUS.
Leonard Pitts writes about recent events in Murfreesboro TN, and some of its citizens who don’t seem to know that Islam is a religion, that Muslims are not a terrorist organization, and that in the U.S. we have the Bill of Rights that guarantee the right to practice your religion. Check out his column Awfully dark before the dawn.
Finally, brothers and sisters, remember that in Eucharistic Prayer IV of the Roman Catholic Church we pray in the current English translation, asking God to “gather people of every race, language and way of life into the one eternal banquet.”