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  #1  
Old Apr 30, '12, 10:41 am
bobbyva2001 bobbyva2001 is offline
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Default Explanation of Religious Liberty

In traditionalist circles you often hear the argument against the concept of religious liberty but rarely do you hear the defense of it. This article very concisely lays out why it does not contradict the teachings of the previous magisterium:

http://layobserver.wordpress.com/201...nd-vatican-ii/
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  #2  
Old Apr 30, '12, 12:37 pm
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ByzCathCantor ByzCathCantor is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

I am confused by the use of this term, which seems more appropriate to the politcal arena than within the confines of the Church, as is used in this context.
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  #3  
Old Apr 30, '12, 12:47 pm
bobbyva2001 bobbyva2001 is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Yes I should have clarified it as religious liberty as defined in VII.
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  #4  
Old Apr 30, '12, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyva2001 View Post
Yes I should have clarified it as religious liberty as defined in VII.
No worries, and perhaps more my ignorance than anything else, but it does strike one as an odd application of the term.

In any event, I personally could understand both sides of the argument, but tend to focus on the modern trends and how the fundamental teachings of VII (rather than the oft cited "Spirit of VII") could actually be used to support a return to more traditional norms and forms of liturgy, as seems to be the increasing desire of the laity, most notably young people. Even in my own tradition Eastern Catholic Church, we more often than not hear from our young people on these points (in our case, a frequent request is to use our "Latin", Old Church Slavonic, more frequently, even though they do not understand it).
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  #5  
Old May 1, '12, 1:13 pm
BloodandHonour BloodandHonour is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a good answer. Religious Liberty has been doctrinally and dogmatically banned by Pius IX in his Syllabus, and also in Encyclicals by Pius XII, Leo XIII, and Pius XI.

The sad part is I have no personal interest in Sedevacantist arguments, many of which are completely idiotic (especially ones brought forward by 'brother' Peter diamond and his ilk) sede's are worse examples of Christianity than your average Protestant. What I'm getting at is I hate any argument that lends some credit to their own brand of heresy. That being said, I don't understand why the bishops are pushing for a good thing and framing it as something that is anathema. It also opens up further the need for clarifications regarding the interpretation of the documents of VII.

In all honesty this whole question has been driving me nuts of late....
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  #6  
Old May 1, '12, 5:40 pm
mattkubes mattkubes is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

The traditional teaching is quite clear. Pope Gregory XVI had this to say in Mirari Vos:

"This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty."

Pope Pius IX made reference to the above encyclical in one of his own and also quoted St. Leo when he said this about religious liberty: "But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching "liberty of perdition"...".

These theme are repeated in Immortale Dei, Quas Primas, The Syllabus, and so many other Church documents. The unanimous, traditional teaching is clear. Sadly, it's is quite difficult to reconcile Dignitatis Humanae with this.
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  #7  
Old May 1, '12, 8:28 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

I think that we have to consider many factors.

First, none of these previous documents or the current one were meant as dogma. The Council Fathers and the popes of the latter 20th century are not idiots. We have to give them credit for knowing their theology and knowing their Canon Law. They know how much and how far they can agree or disagree with their predecessors. In Traditionalist circles, we can often be very condescending toward the Council Fathers and the latter popes by referring to their predecessors as if they knew something that the current popes don't know. If I were a pope, I would feel that this is a subtle insult or maybe not so subtle.

Second, everyone of these documents has an historical context. Context is everything in attempting to understand what a document says. It's not enough to know how to read. One has to know what was happening when the document was written. One needs to know the background of the document. Backgrounds change and when they do, the way that we teach something has to change. We have to address questions that never arose in the past and lay aside those that are no longer questions.

Third, Dignitatis Humanae was not written for the same reasons that previous documents mentioned in this thread were written. Those documents were written to correct an error. Basically they say, "X is wrong and Y is right."

Dignitatis Humanae was written for the purpose of telling the Church, "This is how we're going to deal with the question of religious freedom today." It's a pastoral approach. It's not written to endorse anything from the past or condemn anything either. It's purpose is to state how the Church wants to deal with the question of religious freedom in today's context. This is perfectly legitimate. The Church has a right to change its modus procedendi (way of doing things).

None of these documents, past or recent intended to be dogma or to bind future generations. All of them intended to deal with a specific issue under the umbrella of religious freedom. It was usually whatever was the big issue of the day. Basically, in situations where those former issues exist and where the former strategies still work, there is nothing in Dignitatis Humanaae that prohibits using those strategies. If those issues exist today, but the strategies no longer work, because players are different, then Dignitatis Humanae offers some suggestions on how to proceed.

People are making more out of this than is necessary. I certainly never lose sleep over any of the Council Documents. It does not get me anywhere. If there is something that I don't understand, I call over one of our brothers who is a theologian and say, "What the heck does this mean?" If no one in the house can answer the question, I call up one of the theologians at the university or at the chancery, if I really need to know. I find that most things that we want to know are not things that will impair our growth in holiness, if we don't know the answer.

I've always liked what Thomas a Kempis said in the Imitation of Christ. "Worry about yourself. For the only person who will stand on trial at your judgment will be you." Not only was he a holy man, but also one with a great deal of common sense.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, FFV
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  #8  
Old May 3, '12, 9:04 am
mattkubes mattkubes is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
First, none of these previous documents or the current one were meant as dogma.
No not dogma, but it's hard to argue that it wasn't part of the ordinary and universal magisterium. It was taught consistently and, from what I can tell, unanimously for centuries.
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  #9  
Old May 3, '12, 11:05 am
tradcathusa tradcathusa is offline
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Default Explanation of Religious Liberty

I am a traditional Catholic and the previous posters are all so very correct. Religious LIberty is not what is taught by the Church. It is a product of the Freemasons. We follow the teachings of Church at my parish (FSSP), and oppose this new theory. It is EXTREMELY dangerous
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  #10  
Old May 3, '12, 12:07 pm
newyorkcatholic newyorkcatholic is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

This whole issue is concerning to me as well.

I think I understand what Br JR is trying to say, but really when you actually look at the documents it's hard to reconcile.

How many times can I tell myself to just not worry about it, they know their theology, and so on, when it sometimes seems like we're all staring at a white wall and someone in charge wants me to believe it's black? I can act like it's black. If there's a rule of no pictures on black walls, I can take the picture off the wall. But it's still a white wall.

Anyway, if the V2 statementse on religious liberty are seen as a merely pastoral approach, then I think that makes more sense. I could parse that as "error has no rights, the Church has every right to make herself *the Church* in society as not settle for being treated as one among various religious by the state, however we at this council are going to suggest we not exercise this right as we thing it will accomplish x, y z."

If that's the correct understanding, I get it.

But I know English, and I've read English translations of parts of those earlier documents. I've also read some parts in Latin.

To say, today, "Protestants and Muslims and so on actually have a God-given right, fundamental which the Church nor state can ever infringe upon, to worship in their false ways" ... that's simply not compatible with Catholicism.

At some point I will invoke St. Paul who told us not to listen to another Gospel even if it comes from an Angel.
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  #11  
Old May 3, '12, 12:33 pm
wasserfall wasserfall is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Quote:
Originally Posted by newyorkcatholic View Post
To say, today, "Protestants and Muslims and so on actually have a God-given right, fundamental which the Church nor state can ever infringe upon, to worship in their false ways" ... that's simply not compatible with Catholicism.
That is correct and here's why:

1) To practice a false religion is offensive to God
2) No one has a right to offend God.

Q.E.D. End of story.

People get confused about the nature of free will. They will say, if God created man with free will, then it is part of the God-given nature of man that he can freely choose his own religion, therefore men have the right to choose their own religion.

But this is false.

God created men with free will and permits men to freely choose a religion in accordance with the exercise of free will. But God also permits men to murder each other in accordance with the exercise of free will and no one claims that men have the right to murder each other.

All men have free will, but all men also have the obligation to use free will in conformance with God's law. Any use of the free will which is not in conformance with God's law is objectively a sin. No one ever has the right to sin.
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  #12  
Old Jun 13, '12, 9:29 pm
Dan Daly Dan Daly is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Link to the original article doesn't work anymore. If anyone has another way of reading it, I would be interested.

It is difficult to reconcile Dignitatis Humanae with previous teaching, but difficulty is not impossiblity. Actually it's not that difficult to reconcile, because Dignitatis HUmanea says up front that it doesn't change anything. The difficulty comes in when one tries to understand how it doesn't change things. The best I've come up with reading and speaking with others is that DH uses the words "religious liberty" in a very different sense than earlier documents do. In essence, "religious liberty" is used in the sense that "tolerance" was used by Pius XI in Mortalium Animos.

Religious liberty means that everyone is free to exercise the duty to know and serve God more fully. As Christ founded one True faith, in part religious liberty means everyone has the right to become Catholic. Of course, one does not get to redefine Catholicism to suit their own preferences. At the same time, forced conversion is a contradiction in terms.

While I believe DH is reconilable it is confusing to be sure. This is not entirely unexpected as my understanding is that Fr. John Courtney Murray had much input in writing it, and I think a very good argument can be made that Fr. Murray didn't truly understand religious liberty in a Catholic sense. Of course his input had influence on the document, but he didn't dictate to the Council.

For an interesting discussion of the topic, I'd suggest Truth and Tolerance by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Our Holy Father is a very thoughtful man. He examines ideas thoroughly and is not afraid to point out when people who get lots of things wrong, get something right. It does make him easy to intentionally or unintentionally misconstrue when someone takes a quote or even a page out of context, but for the patient reader, his style allows for a very rewarding thorough contemplation of his subject.

Pax Christi
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  #13  
Old Jun 14, '12, 10:00 am
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Vouthon Vouthon is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

A wise man was Cardinal Gibbons


"...A man enjoys religious liberty when he possesses the free right of worshiping God according to the dictates of a right conscience, and of practicing a form of religion most in accordance with his duties to God. Every act infringing on his freedom of conscience is justly styled religious intolerance. The religious liberty is the true right of every man because it corresponds with a most certain duty which God has put upon him.

A man enjoys civil liberty when he is exempt from the arbitrary will of others, and when he is governed by equitable laws established for the general welfare of society. So long as, in common with his fellow citizens, he observes the laws of the state, any exceptional restraint imposed upon him, in the exercise of his rights as a citizen, would be an infringement on his civil liberty.

I here assert.. that the Catholic Church has always been the zealous promoter of religious and civil liberty; and that whenever any encroachments on these sacred privileges of man were perpetrated by professing members of the Catholic faith, these wrongs, far from being sanctioned by the Church, were committed in palpable violation of her authority.

Her doctrine is, that as man by his own free will fell from grace, so of his own free will must he return to grace. Conversion and coercion are two terms that can never be reconciled...

The only argument she would use, is the argument of reason and persuasion; the only tribunal to which she would summon you, is the tribunal of conscience; the only weapon she would wield, is "the Sword of the Spirit", which is the Word of God...

The Church has felt it to be her duty, in every age, to raise her voice against the despotic and arbitrary measures of princes...Yes; the Church, while pursuing her Divine mission of leading souls to God, has ever been the defender of the people's rights...

I heartily pray that religious intolerance may never take root in our favored land. May the only king to force our conscience be the King of kings; may the only prison erected among us for the sin of unbelief or misbelief be the prison of a troubled conscience; and may our only motive for embracing truth be not the fear of man, but the love of truth and of God..."

- James Cardinal Gibbons,
19th century Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church
and Archbishop of Baltimore, in "The Faith of Our Fathers",
1872
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  #14  
Old Jun 14, '12, 11:02 pm
Dan Daly Dan Daly is offline
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

The quote from Cardinal Gibbons would need a lot more explanation to avoid serious confusion with most Americans.



"worshiping God according to the dictates of a right conscience, and of practicing a form of religion most in accordance with his duties to God."

And what would the form of religion most in accordance with man's duties to God be?

Catholicism.

If any act which infringes on a man's freedom of conscience is religious intolerance, then the act of not being Catholic is religious intolerance.

What most American's think of as religious freedom is in actuallity religious indifferentism as defined by Pope Gregory XVI in Mirari Vos.

If Cardinal Gibbons told Pope Leo XIII that no Catholics in the US held the views warned about in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae then he was severely mistaken.

Pax
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Old Jun 14, '12, 11:13 pm
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Default Re: Explanation of Religious Liberty

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyva2001 View Post
In traditionalist circles you often hear the argument against the concept of religious liberty but rarely do you hear the defense of it. This article very concisely lays out why it does not contradict the teachings of the previous magisterium:

http://layobserver.wordpress.com/201...nd-vatican-ii/
That blog has been deleted.
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