Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Gravest Threat to Freedom

With the position papers for the cause for beatification of Abp. Fulton J. Sheen slated for presentation to the Pope, his work most definitely deserves some circulation. To say he was a man ahead of his time would be an understatement. Abp. Sheen lived and taught from an eternal perspective; thus his work is timeless.

From a 1943 address titled Freedom in Danger:
[T]he gravest threat to freedom comes from within; I do not mean within America alone, I mean within the hearts and souls of men throughout the world. While the world is attempting to preserve freedom in the political order, it is surrendering it in those deeper realms upon which the political reposes.

Picture a group of men on a roof-top proclaiming in song and story the glories of architecture, while below saboteurs have already knocked out half the foundations of the house—and you have the picture of modern freedom. Politicians in the upper stories are glorifying freedom while false philosophy in education, and so-called Liberal Christianity, have knocked away its supports.

[F]reedom is denied in education today. This may sound bizarre to some educators who have been shouting catch-words about freedom for decades. But I submit they are talking about license—not freedom. They are concerned with freedom from something; not freedom for something; they are interested only in freedom without law rather than freedom within the law. And the proof? Do not many educators today assume that evil and sin are due to ignorance, and that if we educate, we will remove evil? Do not others assume that evil is due to bad environment, bad teeth, or bad glands, and that an increase of material wealth will obliterate evil? Can they not see that these assumptions destroy freedom; for if evil is the result of ignorance, and not the result of a perverse use of freedom, then Hitler is an ignoramus, but he is not a villain? Can they not see that education without a proper philosophy of life can be made the servant of evil, as well as of good? Have they not the vision to see that if evil and sin are to be attributed solely to external circumstances, then man is not free to do wrong? Then wrong is in our environment, but not in us. Is it not inconsistent to praise a free man for choosing what is right, and at the same time, when he does wrong, to deny that he is free?
Click here to read the entire transcript of the presentation "Freedom in Danger", published at


Angela Messenger said...

Seriously, the man was a prophet. He wrote something once about the constant noise and interruptions we are exposed to that separate us from God. He wrote this before the invention of Twitter, blogs, the internet, the cell phone, the Blackberry, iPad, etc etc. He is as relevent, if not more so, today than ever.

Gina said...

He most certainly is, Angela. Finally film, television and "the new media" will have a patron saint---Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen, pray for the media--they don't have a clue.

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