By cultivating freedom in their own hearts first through prayer and the Eucharist, Catholics will be best equipped to live their faith and promote religious freedom in a society that is increasingly hostile to Christianity, said Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference.
In his June 24 talk, “Building Babylon’s Good without Bending to its Gods,” at St. Paul Church in Ham Lake, Adkins compared life today to the Jews’ experience of living in exile under Babylonian rule in the sixth century B.C. as chronicled in the Bible.
Although American culture isn’t as bad as Babylon, Adkins said, people today, like the Jews, bear responsibility for exile in a country whose idols aren’t made of gold, but promise happiness and success. God gives people the grace to be faithful while calling them to prudently engage with culture and renew the political order.
“The key really is repentance, conversion and fidelity to the Lord, cultivated by prayer and a reclaiming of our own interior,” Adkins said, “for there will be no peace in society until there is peace in the hearts of men and women.”
The talk, attended by about 80 Catholics and non-Catholics, coincided with Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period from June 21 to July 4 when the U.S. bishops ask Catholics to learn about the importance of religious liberty throughout U.S. history and to actively promote free religious practice. The theme of the fourth annual Fortnight is “Freedom to bear witness” to the truth of the Gospel.