Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Roots in Freedom

In the early 70's I was offered a parish in Colorado if I would join a diocese there.  I took some time to think about it and finally said, "No."  All of my family connections were in Maryland.  I had some long friendships with some Baltimore priests.  In addition, I found that I placed a high value on the roots of the Baltimore diocese in democracy and freedom. 
John Carroll, the first bishop, whose brother Charles signed the Declaration of Independence, was understandably convinced of the importance of democracy and freedom of religion.  Church leadership in Rome had no appreciation of those values and often tried  to repress them, even at one point condemning "Americanism." 
Finally at the Second Vatican Council a Maryland Jesuit, John Courtney Murray crafted the Declaration on Religious Freedom, which Baltimore's Cardinal Lawrence Shehan convincingly presented to the bishops gathered from all over the world.  It passed 1,997 to 224.  The roots sowed in our beginnings continue to flourish.

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