Bishop Joseph Strickland: Morally Coherent Catholic Citizenship

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Bishop’s Blog / 3rd Post in the Series…Morally Coherent Catholic Citizenship

By Bishop Joseph Strickland, Diocese of Tyler, Texas, Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Bishop Joseph E. Strickland was named the fourth bishop of Tyler in September of 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to being named bishop, he served a number of roles in the diocese, including vicar general, judicial vicar, and pastor of the Cathedral parish. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. 

The Right to Religious Freedom Should Inform our Voting

In his World Peace Day message for 1988, Pope St John Paul II said: “Religious freedom, an essential requirement of the dignity of every person, is a cornerstone of the structure of human rights, and for this reason an irreplaceable factor in the good of individuals and of the whole of society, as well as of the personal fulfillment of each individual. It follows that the freedom of individuals and communities to profess and practice their religion is an essential element for peaceful human coexistence. […] The civil and social right to religious freedom, inasmuch as it touches the most intimate sphere of the spirit, is a point of reference for the other fundamental rights and in some way becomes a measure of them”

This emphasis on religious freedom ran throughout the late Popes teaching magisterium. It was demonstrated early in his service to the Church. For example, then Bishop Karol Wojtyla’s actions at the Second Vatican Council. He made five interventions during the discussions which helped to formulate the final Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humane) which was promulgated by Pope St Paul VI on December 7, 1965.

This is all in keeping with his rich understanding of the essential connection between truth and freedom as discussed throughout “The Splendor of Truth” (Veritatis Splendor) where John Paul warns of the “death of true freedom” (Par 40). It is also addressed repeatedly in “The Gospel of Life” (Evangelium Vitae) where he writes of freedom’s “…essential link with truth” and “…inherently relational dimension.”(Par. 19) ….

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