Bishop Kemme urges all to defend religious freedom
The Gospel of Christ is one of love and mercy, according to Bishop Carl A. Kemme, but this age, like every other age, is rejecting it and persecuting those who share it.
“Why? Because the gospel cannot be accepted without it changing us and inviting us to a deeper way of life. And many in our culture today, as has been the case of the past, simply refuse to be changed by the gospel. The forces of evil in the world today are, I think, increasing in order to reduce the effects of the Gospel we profess, and perhaps even to stamp it out completely.”
In a homily marking the end of the Week for Religious Freedom delivered in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita Tuesday, June 29, , Bishop Kemme said Christians around the world are not able to do what those attending the service were able to do: gather to worship and pray, and speak openly about Christ without fear of retribution or persecution.
Don’t take freedom for granted
We can’t take religious freedom for granted, he said.
“This is changing and I fear not for the better,” the bishop said from his cathedra. “Forces that may present themselves as natural or tolerant, may be looking at some or any part of our teachings and asking if they can in fact to be tolerated – particularly our teachings on life and the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception until natural death.”
Society is at odds with the church’s teachings about marriage between one man and one woman, and with human sexuality.
Bishop Kemme said religious freedom is a fundamental right of every person and that everyone should respect and defend that right.
He tied his comments to the Gospel of the day, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and how they were persecuted for their beliefs. They imitated their Lord, Jesus, in laying down their lives in love, the bishop said.
“How can we as a church not celebrate those days in one day, the great solemnity, for all that we owe to them in so many ways these two apostles of the first apostolic era,” he said.
Keep the faith
Like Paul says in the Second Letter to Timothy, Bishop said, we should finish the race while keeping the faith.
“I love that expression,” he said. “‘I have kept the faith,’ he reminded Timothy, and urged all of us to do the same. We should all desire and endeavor to keep the faith of our fathers, the faith of the apostles, the faith of our grandparents and other ancestors, to keep it in this day and time in which we have been called to live. No matter what it may cost us, no matter how much persecution or rejection or animosity.”
Bishop Kemme closed by asking God to bless the United States of America, the State of Kansas, our communities, and local governments and for the intercession of Saints Peter and Paul to inspire all to be witnesses of their faith.