Assoc. Prof. Mary Erika N. Bolaños, PhD, Principal of the Senior High School and faculty member of the Institute of Religion, was one of the plenary speakers in the Fourteenth International Congress entitled “Catholics and Religious Freedom” held from November 26-27, 2021. The conference was organized by the Academy of Social and Media Culture in Torún, Regional Center of International Debates in Torún, the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, and the St. John Paul II Institute.
In her talk, Bolaños acknowledged the foundations of religious freedom—human dignity, faith, reason, and freedom of conscience—as a backdrop for the instances of modern-day martyrdom of both “named and nameless people who out of their faith and conscience shed life.” The Senior High School Principal argued that religious freedom “is the cornerstone of a society that promotes human dignity.” To this end, she argued that “a good measure of a society’s adherence to human dignity is its respect to religious freedom as the latter follows on the duty of all people to seek the truth about God. It is not a theological assertion or a religious claim of privilege— it’s a claim about what a human being is.”
Zeroing in on Catholic institutions, Bolaños said that “it is an important thing to raise a new generation of Catholics that understands the value of human dignity and the rights that root from it. Lastly, my assertion is that In our times a special obligation binds us to raise a new breed of Catholics – and this challenge is extended upon Catholic schools – that is to produce scholars, athletes, artists, scientists, leaders, and all professionals who are advocates of dignity and truth. I propose a new frame of thought challenging us to live out a new martyrdom which is a bloodless stand against the unjust and the oppressed.”
The intention of the Congress is to unveil a peculiar map of the real destruction of religious freedom in individual countries across continents and to draw attention to the cynical silence of international political bodies on this matter.
Watch Bolaños speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHB_8hcwaUI