PROVO, Utah — The fight to defend moral principles is linking Mormons and Catholics like never before.
recent years, Catholics and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints have stood more frequently side by side in the public
square to defend human life and dignity," Francis Cardinal George told
nearly 12,000 students, faculty and community members gathered Tuesday
"I'm personally grateful
that after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics
and Latter-day Saints have begun to see each other as trustworthy
partners in defense of shared moral principles."
to be the highest-ranking Catholic official to ever visit BYU, Cardinal
George spoke about the need for both religions to stand together to
protect religious freedom — not simply as a set of private beliefs, but
the ability of individuals and groups to practice their religion in the
"Any attempt to
reduce that fuller sense of religious freedom, which has been part of
our history in this country for more than two centuries, to a private
reality of worship and individual conscience so long as you don't make
anyone else unhappy, is not in our tradition," said Cardinal George,
president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and
Archbishop of Chicago. "It was the tradition of the Soviet Union."
His message was echoed by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who spoke recently at BYU-Idaho.
values and political realities are so interlinked in the origin and
perpetuation of this nation that we cannot lose the influence of
Christianity in the public square without seriously jeopardizing our
freedoms," said Elder Oaks, a member of the LDS Church's Quorum of the
Protecting those freedoms,
despite theological differences, is so crucial that both Catholics and
Latter-day Saints are seeing themselves as "spiritually united," said
Robert George, a devout Catholic and professor at Princeton University
who spoke at BYU in October 2008.
goes beyond having a common set of moral or political convictions," he
said. "More than that, it's an appreciation of each other, an
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