Sunday, September 26, 2010

Archbishop Chaput - Religion, Journalism, and the New American Orthodoxy

The Witherspoon Institute has the text of Archbishop Chaput's recent address before the Religion Newswriters Association. It begins:

It’s good to be with you today. Of course, most speakers say that, but I actually mean it—for two reasons. First, I’ve been a heavy reader all my life. A lot of my reading has been, and still is, newspapers and news magazines, although now I mainly read them on my Kindle. And second, I love my country. I think there’s something wrong with a man unless, somewhere in his heart, he really loves his homeland—its people, its beauties, and its best ideals and institutions.

A free press is part of the American identity, and also one of its best institutions. I respect that. I value what journalists do for the same reason I value the importance of religious faith in American life—both in the private home and in the public square. A responsible press and a faith shaped by the God of charity and justice share two things in common: a concern for human dignity, and an interest in truth. We might define that word “truth” differently, and the differences might be serious. But an honest search for it creates a kind of maturity. And that maturity allows us to make a decent future through our choices here and now.

Freedom means that our choices matter. It also means that our mistakes have consequences. That’s why lots of people really prefer unfreedom. What many people really want is a rescue from the burden of personal responsibility. They want deliverance from the drudgery of thinking critically about themselves, their mortality, their world, and the purpose of their lives. We all struggle with these temptations. Americans as a people are no exception. So I can imagine an America without a free press. And I can imagine an America with much less religious freedom. But in either case, it would be a worse America and a disappointment to the generations that built it.

See the full article here.

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