Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

As we celebrate our country’s birthday, we rejoice in its many blessings and the freedoms we enjoy. Our freedom was won after a long war for independence, liberty, and justice for all. However, we did not win all these rights when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. Our immigrant forefathers from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, etc. encountered discrimination and harsh treatment afterwards. Our African brothers and sisters came to America as slaves and did not become free until the Civil War. Women were denied the right to vote until the 20th century. Children and women worked in sweat shops during the industrial revolution until labor laws were enacted well into the 1900’s. In the west, Chinese coolies labored in the cities to eke out a living and on the prairies, building the railroads in difficult and dangerous lands. We Catholics, too, suffered discrimination and harsh treatment, even in Maryland. Arthur Schlesinger Sr., the eminent Harvard historian, said that anti-Catholicism is the longest, most persistent prejudice in the history of our country. Today there is another class of people who enjoy no freedom and have no rights. They are the unborn in the wombs of their mothers.

This weekend as we celebrate, let us be thankful for the blessings and freedom we enjoy and the many who worked and fought for our country. Let us also be grateful for the men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms. But let us also pray for those helpless, unborn children that one day they may be granted the most basic of human rights – the right to life.

- Fr. Carl