John. L. Allen Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and senior Vatican analyst for CNN, gives the annual University of St. Thomas Center for Faith and Culture Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Lecture.
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) marked a sea change in Catholic thought with regard to religious freedom, although the theological roots of the idea go all the way back to Christ and his teaching of “render unto Caesar.” In recent decades religious freedom has emerged as the centerpiece of Vatican diplomacy, which, among other things, has bred a new and far more positive understanding of the United States and its role on the global stage. Today the most creative and passionate Christian reflection on religious freedom is emerging from the Middle East, where Christians are an embattled, and shrinking, minority, and where separation of religion and state amounts to a survival strategy. This lecture will sketch the past, present and future of the Catholic approach to religious liberty, both in theory and in concrete geopolitical situations.
During the event, the UST Center for Faith and Culture also presented the Faithful Citizen Award to Joe Tortorice, President and CEO of Deli Management, Inc., which operates the Jason’s Deli restaurant chain. The “Award to a Faithful Citizen” is conferred upon persons who are led by the Holy Spirit, and who manifest the incarnate love of God for this world in their lives and actions as Catholics.