is the most
concise expression that I have seen of a personal and political
we all should resolve to embrace from now on.
The world seen from Rome
Weigel on a Crisis of Liberty
Speaks on Social Teaching, John Paul II's Legacy
DEC. 23, 2011 (Zenit.org).- At a time when the debate over the true
nature of human freedom is rife with controversy and emotion, Catholics
seek to restore society to an understanding of what it means to be
was on this theme of freedom that George Weigel, friend and renowned
biographer of Blessed John Paul II, spoke earlier this month at a
Rome on Blessed John Paul II and the Crisis of Liberty.
talked to Weigel about freedom and Catholic social teaching, and its
application to today's social and political concerns.
Catholic social thought can seem abstract to the average Catholic. In
ways can the person in the pew apply it? Or is it not applicable to
Catholics in everyday life can honor the dignity of every human being;
Catholics in everyday life can live in service to the common good;
everyday life can help build and sustain the institutions of civil
like the family, a free press, free business and labor associations,
Church; Catholics in everyday life can live in solidarity with others
means that Catholics in everyday life can live the four bedrock
Catholic social doctrine.
In regards to those in public office and those who influence policy,
what do you think are the most urgent areas where it needs to be
and how can it be used most effectively?
The defense of human dignity against the rise of utilitarian criteria
for measuring human worth, the defense of religious freedom in full,
defense of civil society institutions like marriage are the three
issues in the public policy arena in the West today. Engaged Catholics
hold their public officials accountable for their actions on these
What has Pope Benedict XVI added to John Paul II's legacy of social
He's further cemented the life issues into the foundations of Catholic
public policy advocacy according to the social doctrine, and he's
the idea of a human ecology that must be attended to in any society
aspires to freedom.
At this time, Americans are being faced with new challenges to
freedom. In light of Church documents such as Gaudium Et Spes and the
teachings of John Paul II, what can American Catholics do to address
growing threats to religious freedom, in particular during this
As noted above, we can hold Catholic public officials, and indeed all
public officials, to account for whether they serve the common good by
defending life, religious freedom, and civil society institutions like
marriage. And if they don't we should vote them out.