Liberté – Here We Go Again

Liberté – Here We Go Again

Submitted by Peter Stuart

LIBERTÉ! WE SEE THIS WORD SMEARED ON THE GRAND THÉÂTRE, AND IT FEATURES PROMINENTLY IN A NEW CULTURAL EVENT: BUT WHAT OF THE LIMITS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIBERTY AND OF ITS SPIRITUAL DIMENSION?
Well here we go again. The secular intelligentsia of Québec have concocted yet another cultural ‘tour de force’ to enlighten us all here in Québec city. I was walking back to the bus stop the other day from my job at St. Patrick’s parish and arrived at my usual bus stop at the Grand Théâtre. I looked up and saw huge graffiti-like lettering in black on the wall of the concert hall which spelled ‘Liberté’.

Well, I said to myself. Is this some exercise in tomfoolery foisted upon the citizenry of Québec by those ‘indigné’ protesters down in St. Roch who’re aping the ‘occupy Montréal’ protests, who’re in turn aping the ‘occupy Toronto’ protests, who’re in turn aping the mother of them all, the ‘occupy Wall Street’ protest? (Which by the way just recently got cleared out by the cops who got fed up of all those people protesting about just about anything and everything under the sun, with no clear leadership to press their demands).

Well gosh golly jeepers no. It first of all looked like it was a projected image on the wall, but in fact was actually painted letters, which were subsequently removed, and is all part of a cultural event about liberty which is being organized by the Faculty of Letters at Laval University. I read up on it in the Voir newspaper as soon as I got on the bus that day, and read further on the web in the Soleil newspaper. I was curious about one thing, and had a sneaking suspicion that my most jaded impressions of post-modern Québec society would be confirmed.

I looked at the whole line-up of conferences and workshops being offered by the event-planners, and sought in vain to find even a single workshop or conference which dealt with the notions of the limits and responsibilities which are inherent in the notion of liberty, and second, the spiritual or faith-based component of liberty and its impact on society.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Nyet.

I didn’t see anything about any involvement from the faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences at Laval, no involvement, not a peep from the Archdiocese on this crucial topic to our society, nothing. I did see, however, a great cornucopia of secular topics regarding human rights, the rights of children, freedom of the press and the media, emerging freedom movements in the Arab-Muslim world in light of the so-called Arab Spring in recent times, etc.

But nothing whatsoever about what are our responsibilities and limits to our seemingly unbridled sense of entitlement to rights in our society. I should think that there would at least be some mention of a faith-based notion of liberty, where humans dwell in the presence and the Grace of God, and strive to do His will, and are ultimately subject to it.

Far from being a constraint on our liberty, being subject to God’s will frees us from the enslavement of the temporal world and it snares of money, power, property and prestige, as well as gluttony, pride, anger, sloth, envy, lust, and greed, which just happen to be the seven deadly sins. Subjecting ourselves to God’s will, as it says in the Lord’s Prayer, gives us a proper moral and spiritual compass, which helps to guide us on the straight and narrow path.

This is ultimate liberty and freedom. Not some secular bundle of liberties which lead to rights, which engender a culture of entitlements which lead us down the garden path to an even greater sense of entitlement.

I think it would do the good folks at the faculty of Letters at Laval University a heck of a lot of good if they would  read the ‘Letters’ in one particular book that comes to my mind, which just happens to be the all time number one best seller on the planet. It’s called The Bible, and the lessons that it teaches us are just as true today, if not more so, than they ever were hundreds of years ago.

Maybe then the next time they concoct another ‘tour de force’ about something like ‘liberté’, they’ll be ‘forced’ into ‘liberating’ their hearts, minds, and souls from what is really imprisoning them: Their sense of unequivocal entitlement.
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About the author:


Peter Stuart is a freelance journalist and writer based in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. He has a degree in Canadian Studies from the University of Ottawa.
He has written Op-Ed pieces for the last ten years for publications including: Le Soleil, La Presse, Quebec Chronicle Telegraph and Impact Campus.
Peter writes in both French and English, and and has published his first book, entitled ‘The Catholic Faith and the Social Construction of Religion: With Particular Attention to the Québec Experience’. 
You can read more of Peter’s work by visiting his blog.
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This response was emailed in by Duncan Flowers, one of our site users:

Sorry Peter I’m completely lost here, What are you complaining about? I can’t see your connection between Liberty and Religion. Why does religion need to be brought into this? You say ” I did see, however, a great cornucopia of secular topics regarding human rights, the rights of children, freedom of the press and the media, emerging freedom movements in the Arab-Muslim world in light of the so-called Arab Spring in recent times, etc”

“Secular topics” seems a good idea to me. If they had brought religion into it, which one(s) should they choose?

Also why did you mention the Arab-Muslim world? Why not the Arab-Christian world? Or even better the Arab world, leaving out the mention of any religion, as it has nothing to do with what was going on.

Whatever the event, whatever the show let people judge it for what it is – religion free!!!
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