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4/10/2012 9:25:00 AM
We have the wrong idea of freedom
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Pope John Paul II said we are not free to do anything we want, but are free to do what's right.
Catholic News Service photo
Pope John Paul II said we are not free to do anything we want, but are free to do what's right.

To the Catholic Sentinel:

That more people talk about freedom suggests we are losing it.

This comes from two different sources: Our definition of freedom and the way we are trying to get it.

People have the wrong idea of freedom. Most think it means having no restrictions at all. We want to live in a society that gives us what we desire but we are not giving anything in exchange. We are social beings. We need interaction with other humans. Freedom, according to the late Pope John Paul “is not the capacity to do what we like, but to do what we ought.”

We are fighting to be free instead of working for it. We are fighting wars to bring peace. We are killing people so we can live the way we want. That is not freedom; that is “The Law of the Jungle.” Freedom is obtained by dialogue among humans, not by fighting like animals. Freedom is obtained by forgiving and asking to be forgiven.

Perhaps Freud was right when he said, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” That is why we choose the shortest way, the comfortable one, the pleasant one and, at the same time, the irresponsible one and, erroneously, we call it “freedom.”

Bernardo Lara

St. Benedict





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