Freedom of Conscience / Freedom of Religion

In the last couple of years, seriously threatened by a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services, the American bishops have taken up the battle cry of religious liberty and conscience rights.  At first glance, these things seem like “no-brainers” that everyone can agree on.  Nonetheless, some of the bishops’ critics have astutely pointed out that even religious freedom has its limits, as Vatican II itself affirmed.

As the dialogue in the wider society gets bogged down in mere sound bites, this presentation will move beyond political partisanship to explore what “conscience” and “religion” really are, and why even these sacred rights are not necessarily absolute.  It will also set the stage for the following talk ("Relationship between Church and State").