My dear Archbishop Rummel:
I SEND hearty greetings to you and through you to all who gather within the hospitable borders of the Archdiocese of New Orleans on the occasion of the Eighth National Eucharistic Congress. I trust that the deliberations will quicken the spiritual life of all who participate and inspire them with new zeal for the work of the Master whom we all serve.
We have just celebrated the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of our Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience as the cornerstone of all our liberties. We in this country are upholders of the ideal of democracy in the government of man. We believe with heart and soul that in the long struggle of the human race to attain an orderly society the democratic form of government is the highest achievement. All of our hopes have their basis in the democratic ideal.
Even before the adoption of our Declaration of Independence George Mason, in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, voiced what has become one of the deepest convictions of the American people: "That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other."
We still remain true to the faith of our fathers who established religious liberty when the nation began. We must remember, too, that our forebears in every generation, and wherever they established their homes, made prompt and generous provision for the institutions of religion. We must continue their steadfast reliance upon the Providence of God.
I have said and I repeat to this solemn Eucharistic Congress that no greater blessing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of religion. I doubt if there is any problem in the world today—social, political or economic—that would not find happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.
May your prayers hasten the day when both men and nations will bring their lives into conformity with the teaching of Him Who is the Way, the Light and the Truth.
Very sincerely yours,
The Archbishop of New Orleans,
New Orleans, Louisiana