* 26/2 Reflections on Freedom and Responsibility VI.


The Church speaks about freedom often by using the term ‘free will.’  The Council Fathers of Vatican II teach:


It is in accordance with the dignity of all men, because they are persons, that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore bearing personal responsibility, that they are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation  to seek the truth, especially religious truth.  They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they know it, and direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of the truth.


This passage shows us something of the paradox of our freedom.  To do whatever we want is not really freedom.  It is actually a type of slavery – even addiction is not too strong a word.  In saying that we are ‘impelled by our nature’ to seek the truth, the Council Fathers are saying that because the human person has been created with an intellect, we have an in-built need for that which ‘feeds’ the intellect – knowledge, yes, but above all, truth.  To adhere to that truth, once we’ve found it, and direct one’s whole life in accordance with its demands: this, paradoxically, is freedom.  This is joy.


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