Matt C. Abbott
Are many young adults against religious freedom?
By Matt C. Abbott
July 5, 2015

After the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex "marriage" nationwide was handed down, a survey was conducted by the Barna Group that has buried in its findings the following item:
    There is a substantial minority, however, among Americans under 40 (26 percent) who believe the law should compel religious institutions and clergy members to perform same-sex weddings.
Twenty-six percent of foolish Americans under 40 (yes, there are indeed many Americans over 40 who are just as foolish) may not seem like a big deal, but I fear that percentage will grow with the help of pop culture and academia. As that occurs, the courts will likely increase exponentially the persecution of God-fearing, natural law-abiding people.

Much to pray for, that's for sure.

I asked Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to comment on this sobering development.

Father Pavone's response is as follows (slightly edited):
    In considering our response to the statistical finding that a substantial minority do not understand what religious freedom is, we should consider at least two levels.

    On the level of responding to the actual danger, we need to give the example of fidelity, even in circumstances where people do in fact try to compel us to violate our faith. This is, in fact, the response Christians have given from the beginning of their history, including in the lives and deaths of the martyrs.

    On another level, we have to consider how other words and actions within the family of the Church unfortunately create fertile soil for the position of this substantial minority. It is one thing for us to clamor for our religious freedom in the face of a government that issues mandates against it; but then it is another thing to have Church institutions issuing mandates against her own freedom to speak out to that government.

    I refer to the self-censorship on display in every election cycle when dioceses tell their parishes that they cannot distribute voter guides, preach about election issues, or endanger the tax-exempt status of the Church. The climate of fear that is engendered is highly unreasonable, both in light of what the law actually says and what the Church's own magisterial documents say. As a result, we show exactly the opposite of the courageous spirit which embodies the essence of religious freedom and constitutes its most compelling pedagogical effect.

    In short, if many [young adults] think it's OK for the government to control the Church, maybe it's because they've seen us already let it happen.
Regarding homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
    Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 "Unsolved" podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He is mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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