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False Freedoms

By Amanda Conklin
Contributing Writer

On March 11th my husband Seth and I, along with two of our diocesan seminarians, Thomas Higman and Scott Belina, had the privilege of having dinner with Archbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We were among about ten other young adults from a local parish near Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput took this opportunity to discuss the Obama Administration’s recent HHS mandate.

His Grace stressed the importance of our roles as young adults in the Church. One thing that has stuck in my mind since our discussion is the importance of highlighting that this is NOT an issue of women’s health, it is an issue of freedom of conscience and religious liberty as laid out by our Constitution.

The Archbishop affirmed us as young adults and warned us that we have very difficult times ahead. If we as young people do not take up the battle for our Church, it is possible that our children might not have the freedom to live their lives publicly as Catholics. 

In His Homily at World Youth Day 2002, in Toronto, Canada, Pope John Paul II said:  “The "spirit of the world" offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness. There is perhaps no darkness deeper than the darkness that enters young people's souls when false prophets extinguish in them the light of faith and hope and love. The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.” 

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans currently think that freedom means freedom from religion, not freedom of religion. If we cannot unite as Catholics and Christians then God will continue to be slowly squeezed out of our schools, hospitals, organizations and maybe even wrung out of our personal decisions. 

I challenge you, young adults, this is the time to unite and bring to life the true meaning of our universal Catholic faith. Our generation is effective at uniting for a cause. We have seen it on various social networking tools over numerous issues. Our generation is one that gets things done when uniting. Our generation naturally wants to be passionate about something, why not get passionate about the most important thing in our lives? It is not just our religion as a label or a hobby, but our faith as our identity is being challenged.  

As a woman, I am using my voice to say that this has nothing to do with whether or not you approve or disapprove of contraception etc. It has nothing to do with "old men in collars oppressing women." It has everything to do with silencing our consciences. I for one will not let my government silence my conscience.

We are called to be Catholic first, Americans second. Will you join me? www.stophhs.com

Photo supplied
Saranac Lake native Amanda Conklin, her husband, Seth, of  King of Prussia, Penn., and two seminarians studying for the Diocese of Ogdensburg at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia, Penn., accepted Archbishop Charles Chaput’s recent invitation for dinner. The head of the Philadelphia archdiocese invited about 15 young adults to discuss the Obama administration’s HHS mandate. From left are Scott Belina, Seth and Amanda Conklin, Archbishop Chaput and Deacon Thomas Higman.


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