An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Made for Freedom: Fr. Nolan on Religious Freedom

Did you know that we have smaller segments available of Made for Freedom? If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably seen them. Here’s Fr. Nolan speaking about religious freedom:

Fr. Nolan says, “Just because our faith is personal doesn’t mean it’s private.” What is the distinction between “personal” and “private”? Americans tend either to overemphasize or under-emphasize privacy—we will post our various whims and even our meals on social media, not seeming to care that this is public, but then we may get shy about sharing our views about controversial issues in a public forum.

Faith is deeply personal. It is a gift of grace that directs a person’s whole life. How, then, could it not be visible or clear in public?

The reason the Catholic faith, in particular, cannot be relegated to the “private” sphere, where it’s no one else’s business, is twofold. First, we have been enjoined by Christ to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Secondly, we know that, “faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jas 2:17). We cannot sit comfortably in our church pews, recite the creed, and then go “incognito” into the world. Doing so would mean ceasing to be who we are called to be.


Today, challenge yourself to share your faith with another person, in “public”. People need to know that their neighbors and co-workers value their faith, even if those people do not share it. How else will they know that it’s something valuable that should be protected?

This doesn’t have to be complicated. Is it a beautiful day outside? “It’s so pretty out, God is good!” Did you have a hard morning at work? “I need some serious grace to get through this afternoon.”

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