Against Indifferentism


#1

RSiscoe asked the following:

Dave,

The following proposition is condemned as an error. In other words, anyone who believes what I am about to quote is in error.

Syllabus of Errors #15. “Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true”. – CONDEMNED STATEMENT ( Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.)

Do you believe each person is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true? Do you believe that? A person who believes such a thing is condemned by the Catholic Church.

I don’t mean to pick on you, but I am curious whether or not you believe each person is free to believe and profess whatever religion they choose; or if you believe people are not free to believe and profess any religion they choose.

People have free will and are certainly free to either assent to or dissent from the truth. So strictly speaking, all men have such a freedom understood in this sense. They are not, however, permitted to do so without sin. This is the context of the above condemnation. It is a condemnation of the heresy of Indifferentism. It is within this context which we ought to understand the above condemnation.

According to Pope Gregory XVI (1832):

Now we examine another prolific cause of evils by which, we lament, the Church is at present afflicted, namely indifferentism, or that base opinion which has become prevalent everywhere through the deceit of wicked men, that eternal salvation of the soul can be acquired by any profession of faith whatsovever, if morals are conformed to the standard of the just and the honest… And so from this most rotten source of indifferentism flows that absurd and erroneous opinion, or rather insanity, that liberty of conscience must be claimed and defended for anyone. … ***But what death of the soul is worse than freedom for errors? ***(D 1613-1614)

This is the context in which freedom of religion is condemned. It is not that people ought to be forced into one religion or another against their will. But what is condemned is the proposition of indifferentists that man has freedom to believe one religion or another, or to not believe any religion at all, without sinful consequence.

So, if one is speaking of absolute freedom to either accept or reject the workings of the Holy Spirit. We certainly do have such a freedom of religion. However, if one means that such a choice of conscience does not matter, that one can reject the truth of Catholicism without the consequence of sin, then this is incorrect.


#2

To put it simply, the basic premise of indifferentism is that all faiths are equally valid, and hence on this flawed basis, men, like any buyer in a market, are supposedly free to choose the religion he wishes to buy, not on the basis of its truth, but only on the basis that it “feels” true. “Feeling”, and personal convenience thus replaces thinking and reflection as a criteria for the choice.

Gerry :slight_smile:


#3

It is true that the error of religious liberty leads to indifferentism, and that indifferentism leads to the belief in religious liberty, but the question I proposed deals directly with religious liberty, and only indirectly with indifferentism. So let’s try to keep this on that topic of religious liberty. Now, in your above post, you seem to be saying that man is not free to belong to a false religion (because he sins if he does), yet at the same time you are claiming that man is free to do so. Although it seems to be a contradiction, there is actually some truth to each of those statements. We will deal with both of those statements

Most of the quotes I will use in this post come from the encyclical of Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum, which I would encourage you to read, as it explains things much better than I can.

Is man free to belong to a false religion? Or does man sin by belonging to a false religion? As always, Holy Mother Church has given us the answer and brought clarity to the matter. She has distinguished between natural freedom and moral freedom, and shown that one who abuses their natural freedom *“pervert[s] the very idea of freedom” *by “extend[ing] it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free” (Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum).

Natural liberty is, to put it simply, free will. God has given man free will so that he will serve God of his own choice - freely. Depending on how man uses this natural liberty (free will), “the highest good and the greatest evil alike depend” (ibid.). Natural liberty was given to man, not that he would choose evil, but that he would choose good. Man is free to choose that good which he deems most opportune to attain the end. Should man use his natural liberty and act contrary to God’s law, he has abused his freedom and committed sin. The ability to sin is actually a defect in natural liberty, for no one is truly free to break God’s law, any more than one is free to break a legitimate law of their state He who abuses his natural freedom (free will) by committing sin is not acting freely, but as a slave. *“This subject is often discussed by the angelic Doctor (St. Thomas), in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery. It will suffice to quote his subtle commentary on the words of our Lord: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” ’Everything, says St. Thomas, is that which belongs to it naturally. When, therefore, it acts through a power outside itself, it does not act of itself, but through another, that is, as a slave. But man is by nature rational. When, therefore, he acts according to reason, he acts of himself and according to his free will; and this is liberty‘.” (ibid.) *

Natural liberty - free will - is the freedom God gave man so that man could serve God, and obey His law, of his own choice. Although man is capable of acting contrary to God’s law, he is not free to do so.

This brings us to the other kind of liberty - moral liberty. Whereas natural liberty is that which man is able to do (because he possesses free will), moral liberty is that which man is allowed to do. An example I like to use is our country - America. America is a free country, yet we are not free to rob a bank, or to run a red light. We have the ability (natural freedom) to rob a bank, or run a red light, but we are not “free” to do so: the boundary of our freedom is set by the law; and the law is in place to guide the actions of our free will. “Nothing more foolish can be uttered or conceived than the notion that, because man is free by nature, he is therefore exempt from the law… the truth is that we are bound to submit to law precisely because we are free by our very nature. For, law is the guide of man’s actions; it turns him toward good by its rewards and deters him from evil by its punishments” (ibid.).

continue…


#4

continuation…

It is true that the error of religious liberty leads to indifferentism, but the question I proposed deals directly with religious liberty, and only indirectly with indifferentism. So let’s try to keep this on that topic of religious liberty. Now, in your above post, you seem to be saying that man is not free to belong to a false religion (because he sins if he does), yet at the same time you are claiming that man is free to do so. Although it seems to be a contradiction, there is actually some truth to each of those statements. We will deal with both of those statements

Most of the quotes I will use in this post come from the encyclical of Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum, which I would encourage you to read, as it explains things much better than I can.

Is man free to belong to a false religion? Or does man sin by belonging to a false religion? As always, Holy Mother Church has given us the answer and brought clarity to the matter. She has distinguished between natural freedom and moral freedom, and shown that one who abuses their natural freedom *“pervert[s] the very idea of freedom” *by “extend[ing] it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free” (Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum).

Natural liberty is, to put it simply, free will. God has given man free will so that he will serve God of his own choice - freely. Depending on how man uses this natural liberty (free will), “the highest good and the greatest evil alike depend” (ibid.). Natural liberty was given to man, not that he would choose evil, but that he would choose good. Man is free to choose that good which he deems most opportune to attain the end. Should man use his natural liberty and act contrary to God’s law, he has abused his freedom and committed sin. The ability to sin is actually a defect in natural liberty, for no one is truly free to break God’s law, any more than one is free to break a legitimate law of their state He who abuses his natural freedom (free will) by committing sin is not acting freely, but as a slave. *“This subject is often discussed by the angelic Doctor (St. Thomas), in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery. It will suffice to quote his subtle commentary on the words of our Lord: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” ’Everything, says St. Thomas, is that which belongs to it naturally. When, therefore, it acts through a power outside itself, it does not act of itself, but through another, that is, as a slave. But man is by nature rational. When, therefore, he acts according to reason, he acts of himself and according to his free will; and this is liberty‘.” (ibid.) *

Natural liberty - free will - is the freedom God gave man so that man could serve God, and obey His law, of his own choice. Although man is capable of acting contrary to God’s law, he is not free to do so.

This brings us to the other kind of liberty - moral liberty. Whereas natural liberty is that which man is able to do (because he possesses free will), moral liberty is that which man is allowed to do. An example I like to use is our country - America. America is a free country, yet we are not free to rob a bank, or to run a red light. We have the ability (natural freedom) to rob a bank, or run a red light, but we are not “free” to do so: the boundary of our freedom is set by the law; and the law is in place to guide the actions of our free will. “Nothing more foolish can be uttered or conceived than the notion that, because man is free by nature, he is therefore exempt from the law… the truth is that we are bound to submit to law precisely because we are free by our very nature. For, law is the guide of man’s actions; it turns him toward good by its rewards and deters him from evil by its punishments” (ibid.).

Just as state law sets boundaries and directs the actions of man, so too divine law sets the bounds and directs the actions of man. Should man act contrary to a legitimate law (whether human or Divine), they have thereby abused their freedom and sinned, for man is never free to break a legitimate law.

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#5

Since modern man is becoming more and more agnostic and atheistic, the notion of Divine Law is fading from the mind of society. While it is still considered bad to break a law sanctioned by the state - drinking and driving, stealing, etc. - the notion of a higher law, independent of human law, is no longer recognized as binding by the vast majority. But when human law is divorced from divine law, such human law, having no foundation is the Divine, becomes nothing but that which the “majority” decide: “Hence, these liberals deny the existence of any Divine authority to which obedience is due… [thus] the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater majority“ (ibid.). Today the “supremacy of the greater majority” is known as “the will of the people”. Divorced from Divine law, the real and true distinction between what is right and wrong - good and evil - is destroyed. *“For, once ascribed to human reason the only authority to decide what is true and what is good, and the real distinction between good and evil is destroyed… and the law determining what it is right to do and avoid is at the mercy of a majority. Now this is simply the road leading straight to tyranny” (ibid.).

*When the will of God is not the basis of human law, “the will of the people” will be. But as Catholics we know that man (all men) are bound by the law of God, regardless of what “the people” decide. So when human law, divorced from Divine law, tells us that women are free to have an abortion, we Catholics know that this is a false freedom, since it is contrary to a Divine law of God. *“where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God” (ibid.). *Abortion, or any law sanctioned contrary to a Divine law is null and void; and any “freedom” ascribed to an action which God forbids, is a false freedom.

This brings us to another false liberty, which the Church has repeatedly condemned - “religious liberty”. *“religious liberty… as it is called, is based on the principle that every man is free to profess, as he may choose, any religion or none. But assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without a doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety…. And if it be asked which of he many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, it a matter of such importance, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described [religious liberty] is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil… (ibid.).

*continue…


#6

Just as man is forbidden by the 5th commandment from having an abortion, so too man is forbidden by the 1st commandment from taking part in false worship, or being entangled in a false religion (as the Church has told us many times). Yet many today, consider “religious liberty” - the “right” to choose any religion or none - to be a positive good. As Catholic we know that this is an error, as no one has the “right” to break the first commandment, any more than one has the “right” to break the fifth. And since the first commandment is “the greatest commandment” those who promote religious liberty - the right to practice any religion or none - sin more gravely than those who promote “abortion rights”. “We have… in Our Encyclical Letter Immortale Dei, in treating of the so-called modern liberties, distinguished between their good and evil elements; … many… imagine these modern liberties [religious liberty, for example], cankered as they are, to be the greatest glory of our age and the very basis of civil life, without which no perfect government can be conceived…” (ibid.).

Yet even many within the Church have rejecting this infallible teaching of the magisteriam, and have proclaimed that *“man is free to profess that religion, which, guided by the light of reason, he considers true” (Condemned proposition #15, Syllabus of Errors). *Such people are condemned by the Church, regardless of their rank, for the Church has explicitly condemned anyone who preaches religious liberty.
“From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, namely, that ’liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society… But while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition… Therefore, by our apostolic authority, **we reprobate, and condemn **all the singular and **evil opinions **and doctrines specifically mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they [the aforesaid condemnations] be thoroughly held by all the children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned” (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (#’s 3-6), Dec. 8, 1864)

Seeing what the Church has solemnly declared about the heresy of religious liberty - that anyone who believes in, or preaches this error - is condemned by the church, I will ask if you agree that “religious liberty” is an error? I am not speaking of forced conversion. I am simply asking if you agree with the Church which has told us that people have no “right” to practice a false religion. Do you agree with Popes I quoted? Do you agree with Gregory XVI who said it is “an insanity” to believe that “liberty of… worship is each man’s personal right”. And do you agree with Pope Pius IX who defined de fide that anyone who holds such an erroneous view is condemned? I agree with the Church on this matter: I believe that religious liberty is a heresy and anyone who preaches it is a heretic… do you?


#7

continuation…

Just as man is forbidden by the 5th commandment from having an abortion, so too man is forbidden by the 1st commandment from taking part in false worship, or being entangled in a false religion (as the Church has told us many times). Yet many today, consider “religious liberty” - the “right” to choose any religion or none - to be a positive good. As Catholic we know that this is an error, as no one has the “right” to break the first commandment, any more than one has the “right” to break the fifth. And since the first commandment is “the greatest commandment” those who promote religious liberty - the right to practice any religion or none - sin more gravely than those who promote “abortion rights”. “We have… in Our Encyclical Letter Immortale Dei, in treating of the so-called modern liberties, distinguished between their good and evil elements; … many… imagine these modern liberties [religious liberty, for example], cankered as they are, to be the greatest glory of our age and the very basis of civil life, without which no perfect government can be conceived…” (ibid.).

Yet even many within the Church have rejecting this infallible teaching of the magisteriam, and have proclaimed that *“man is free to profess that religion, which, guided by the light of reason, he considers true” (Condemned proposition #15, Syllabus of Errors). *Such people are condemned by the Church, regardless of their rank, for the Church has explicitly condemned anyone who preaches religious liberty.
“From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, namely, that ’liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society… But while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition… Therefore, by our apostolic authority, **we reprobate, and condemn **all the singular and **evil opinions **and doctrines specifically mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they [the aforesaid condemnations] be thoroughly held by all the children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned” (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (#’s 3-6), Dec. 8, 1864)

Seeing what the Church has solemnly declared about the heresy of religious liberty - that anyone who believes in, or preaches this error - is condemned by the church, I will ask if you agree that “religious liberty” is an error? I am not speaking of forced conversion. I am simply asking if you agree with the Church which has told us that people have no “right” to practice a false religion. Do you agree with Popes I quoted? Do you agree with Gregory XVI who said it is “an insanity” to believe that “liberty of… worship is each man’s personal right”. And do you agree with Pope Pius IX who defined de fide that anyone who holds such an erroneous view is condemned? I agree with the Church on this matter: I believe that religious liberty is a heresy and anyone who preaches it is a heretic… do you?


#8

Dave,

OK, I located the thread. If you want to start us out by responding to what I wrote, we can go from there. And BTW, there is no need to feel like you have to disagree with me. If you think what I wrote sounds right and you agree, then we can just develope that thought and then proceed into “liberty of conscience”, and “seperation of Church and state”, since they flow from, and are associated with, the error of religious liberty: those three errors are very much united.

And just to let you know, I will be going out of town again at the end of the week, so we will have to try to wrap this up by then. I say that because sometimes our “diologues” take a while before you finally concede … I mean before we finish :wink:


#9

RSiscoe,

If you mean by “religious liberty” that one is “free to embrace” and promulgate error without refutation, ecclesiastical censure or punishment by legitamite ecclesial authority in accord with Catholic law, then nobody has such a freedom, not even Lefebvre.

If you mean by “religious liberty,” freedom from “the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” (*Dignitatis Humanae, *1) then nobody has this kind of religious liberty.

If you mean by “religous liberty,” that freedom which is “necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God,” (*DH, *1) then everybody has this kind of religious liberty, which requires “immunity from coercion in civil society” (DH, 1) so they may fulfull such obligations toward God. This kind of religious liberty is that freedom which “means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

So, I cannot force my Lefebvrist friends, against their will, to go to a licit Mass. They can certainly be canonically censured for not abiding by canon law. But they cannot be forced to go to a licit Mass against their will.

Likewise, the government of the U.S. cannot force Sabbatarians to worship on Sunday and not on Saturday (despite E.G. White’s “prophecies” to the contrary). Sabbatarians have the same “immunity from coercion in civil society” in the sense that they cannot be “forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs” as Catholics. Of course, this immunity is “within due limits.” So, the U.S. government can force the Aryan Nations Church in Idaho from infringing upon the human rights of Jews and other minorities under the cover of “religious liberty.”

Yet, religious liberty is not to be understood as liberty from truth, as “all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth.” (DH, 2). Nonetheless, so long as “just public order be observed,” (*DH, *2) humans have the gift of free will given to them by God, and other humans cannot coerce them to act contary to such a gift by forcing them against their will in matters religious.

So, when Russia or China hinder public teaching and witness to the Catholic faith, they violate what the Church teaches regarding religious liberty.


#10

RSiscoe,

Have you read Fr. Brian Harrison’s articles regarding religious liberty…

Pius IX, Vatican II and Religious Liberty by Fr. Brian W. Harrison
rtforum.org/lt/lt9.html#II

Vatican II and Religious Liberty, Contradition or Continuity? by Fr. Brian W. Harrison
catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Dossier/00MarApr/continuity.html

If you have read them, would you mind commenting on them.


#11

[quote=itsjustdave1988]RSiscoe,

If you mean by “religious liberty” that one is “free to embrace” and promulgate error without refutation, ecclesiastical censure or punishment by legitamite ecclesial authority in accord with Catholic law, then nobody has such a freedom, not even Lefebvre.
[/quote]

I agree, no one has the right to promote heresy, not Lefebvre, not John Paul II: no one.

[quote=]If you mean by “religious liberty,” freedom from “the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ,” (*Dignitatis Humanae, *1) then nobody has this kind of religious liberty.
[/quote]

Agreed.

So far so good. I will post this and then continue with the rest of your post.


#12

Dave,

Let’s review the last part of your post. There are some gray areas that I think we need to clear up. I was really wanting to start out by discussing what the Church has always taught before getting into the Vatican II documents, since they can be very ambiguous; then proceed to what Vatican II said. But, since you started by quoting Vatican II, well just have to work from there.

I have responded below to your post. Let me know if we are in agreement up to this point.

[quote=]If you mean by “religious liberty,” that freedom which is “necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God,” (*DH, *
[/quote]

  1. then everybody has this kind of religious liberty…

When you say everybody, do you mean “everybody”? Because, since most people in the world belong to a false religion, “everybody” obviously includes those of a false religion. So, are you saying that people of a false religion have, based on “religious liberty”, the right to practice their false religion? Hopefully not, because that is explicitly condemned in the Syllabus of errors:

#15. [it is a heresy to believe that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true”. (Syllabus taken from Allocution Maxima quidem, June 9, 1862; and Damnatio Multiplices inter, June 10, 1851).

Maybe you didn’t mean to say they had the right to practice their false religion, but what you meant was that it would not be proper for someone to “force” them to convert to the true religion. If that is what you are saying, then I completely agree, since that is what the Church teaches.

Pope Leo XIII: The Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, "Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own free will” (Immortale Dei).

So, it is true to say that no one should be forced to convert to the true faith, but that does not mean they have the “right” to practice their false religion*. “For”* as Leo XIII wrote, right is a moral power which – as We have before said and must again and again repeat – it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State…

“From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend*, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or** of worship**, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty”…*

"Liberty of worship, as it is called… is based on the principal that every man is free to profess, as he may choose, any religion or none*. But assuredly of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without a doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. … And if it be asked which if the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the conquest of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man (i.e. liberty of worship), the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil." (On the Nature of True Liberty, Pope Leo XIII)*

continue…


#13

continuation

[quote=Dave] …which requires “immunity from coercion in civil society” (DH
[/quote]

, 1) so they may fulfill such obligations toward God. This kind of religious liberty is that freedom which “means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.”

OK, so they should not be forced to act contrary to their religious beliefs. But does that mean a person of a false religion (A Muslim, for example) is free to embrace and publicly practice that religion? Is that what it means? Or, does it merely mean that they should not be forced to convert to the true religion (since that would be forcing them to act contrary to their religious beliefs)? These are two different things.

If, when you say “religious liberty is that freedom which ‘means that all men are to be immune from coercion… in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in manner contrary to his own beliefs’”, you mean they should not be forced to convert, then that is true; but, if it means that they have a right to practice their religion (which is what American law means by “religious liberty) then we have a problem, because that is exactly what was condemned in proposition # 15 of the Syllabus:

#15. [it is a heresy to believe that] Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true”.

In other words, the Church teaches that “every man is NOT free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true”. They should not be “forced” to act contrary to their beliefs, but that does not mean they have a right to practice, or even “profess” their false religion.

[quote=]Yet, religious liberty is not to be understood as liberty from truth, as “all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth.” (DH
[/quote]

, 2). Nonetheless, so long as “just public order be observed,” (*DH, *2) **humans have the gift of free will given to them by God, and other humans cannot coerce them to act contrary to such a gift by forcing them against their will in matters religious./**quote]

Now wait a minute. Does this mean that if there is no harm to the public, a Muslim, or a Satanist, should be allowed to practice their false religion publicly, as long as it is their “will” to do so? Or does it mean that a Muslim should not be forced to convert to the true faith, or perform any other religious practice contrary to their “belief”? These are two different thing.

[quote=Dave]So, when Russia or China hinder public teaching and witness to the Catholic faith, they violate what the Church teaches regarding religious liberty.
[/quote]

But, here is the question: If Russia or China hindered public teaching of Islam, do they violate what the Church teaches about religious liberty?

Catholicism obviously has the moral right to exist, and therefore for Russian or China to hinder Catholicism is a violation of true religious liberty; but Islam has no moral right to exist (being contrary to the antecedent will of God, and a mortal sin against the first commandment), and therefore to hinder Islam is not a violation of true religious liberty, since they had no moral right to practice it in the first place.

continue


#14

continuation

The teaching of the Church which allows the practice of a false religion is known as the principle of “toleration”. The Church may tolerate a false religion, but it never says it has the “right” to exist.

Pope Leo XIII: “For this reason, while not conceding any right to anything save what is true and honest, she (the Church) does not forbid public authority to tolerate what is at variance with truth and justice for the sake of avoiding some greater evil, or of obtaining or preserving some greater good.

“Liberty” is freedom. Humans are only morally free to obey God’s law, including the first commandment. Therefore, religious liberty only applies to those who are corresponding to God’s law.

That is why the Church teaches that no one is “free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true”, unless, or course, they are Catholic.

However, the Church “while not conceding any right” may “tolerate” a false religion in order to “avoid some greater evil”.

So, true “religious liberty” only applies to those who profess the true religion; while “religious toleration” is the principal that applies to those false religions that are allowed by the state in order to prevent a greater evil from taking place.

The term “religious liberty” has never meant that a person should not be forced to act contrary to a belief; or forced to convert. That is not what the term means.

As Leo XIII wrote: “*"Liberty of worship, as it is called… is based on the principal that every man is free to profess, as he may choose, any religion or none.” *That idea was explicitly condemned in the Syllabus

We may agree up to this point, I’m not sure. Let me know if there is anything you disagree with and we will go from there.


#15

I think the point of the syllabus’ condemnation is that aspect of Liberalsim where an individual chooses a religion which conforms to his own personal opinions and mode of thought. In essence, he shapes God in his own own image. This is rightly condemned emphatically. That being said, we cannot force someone to convert. Even if we made it illegal to be anything but Catholic, people would not be Catholic at heart. People must be able to freely choose whether or not to reject Christ. If we are to love God freely, we must have the freedom to make this choice.


#16

[quote=Genesis315]I think the point of the syllabus’ condemnation is that aspect of Liberalsim where an individual chooses a religion which conforms to his own personal opinions and mode of thought. In essence, he shapes God in his own own image. This is rightly condemned emphatically. That being said, we cannot force someone to convert. Even if we made it illegal to be anything but Catholic, people would not be Catholic at heart. People must be able to freely choose whether or not to reject Christ. If we are to love God freely, we must have the freedom to make this choice.
[/quote]

Yes, but what we cannot say is that people are “free” to profess a false religion. That is the point. If we say they are free to profess a false religion is means they have a “moral right” to that religion. Since the first commandment forbids false religions, no one has the “right” to belong to one. Just as no one has the right to have an abortion (since they would thereby break the 5th commandment) so likewise, no one has the “right” to profess a false religion, since it violates the 1st commandment.

Although we have free will, we are not allowed to chose evil. We have the ability to chose evil, but we have no moral right to.

The Church teaches that no one should be forced to convert. It even teaches that false religions can be “tolerated”, but it does not say they have a “right” to exist, since our rights come from God, and God does not give anyone the right to violate his commandments.

This is all explained very well in the encyclical “Libertas Praestantissimum”, which you can find online.


#17

Dave,

I just wanted to give you a heads up on something. I told you that we would have to try and wrap this up quickly since I am going out of town this weekend (will be gone for a while). But actually, I just remembered that I have two days of continuing education this Wednesday and Thursday, so I’m not sure how far we will be able to go with this. Go ahead and respond to my last post; maybe I will be able to respond one more time back, but then we will probably have to continue when I get back in town.


#18

RSiscoe,

Instead of long dissertations, I’ll try to reply in parts, as I’m also trying to finish a couple of papers for my post-grad studies. http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon11.gif

[quote]
If you mean by “religious liberty,” that freedom which is “necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God,” (*DH, *

  1. then everybody has this kind of religious liberty…

When you say everybody, do you mean “everybody”? Because, since most people in the world belong to a false religion, “everybody” obviously includes those of a false religion. So, are you saying that people of a false religion have, based on “religious liberty”, the right to practice their false religion?

[/quote]

By one’s “duty to worship God”, I mean in accord with what Dignitatis Humanae teaches in the context of the paragraph I cited. There is never a non-Catholic duty to worship God. Dignitatis Humanae refers to this duty as “***the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.***” (DH, 1)

So, by "*everybody," I do mean everybody. Everybody *has that kind of religious liberty and moral duty to worship God as God Himself has revealed through Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. All individuals and **societies **, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, have this kind of religious liberty and duty to worship God…a duty toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.


#19

[quote=itsjustdave1988]RSiscoe,

Instead of long dissertations, I’ll try to reply in parts, as I’m also trying to finish a couple of papers for my post-grad studies. http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon11.gif

By one’s “duty to worship God”, I mean in accord with what Dignitatis Humanae teaches in the context of the paragraph I cited. There is never a non-Catholic duty to worship God. Dignitatis Humanae refers to this duty as “***the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.***” (DH, 1)

So, by "everybody," I do mean everybody. Everybody has that kind of religious liberty and moral duty to worship God as God Himself has revealed through Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. All individuals and societies , whether Catholic or non-Catholic, have this kind of religious liberty and duty to worship God…a duty toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ.
[/quote]

Good. What you are referring to is the true notion of “liberty of conscience”. Everybody has the moral obligation, and therefore the “right”, to be Catholics. But no one has the moral obligation, nor the right, to false worship.

So in this correct view, only Catholics have “religious liberty”. Those who are in a false religion do not have this “religious liberty”, since they are in error and error has no “rights”.

I agree.


#20

it is true to say that no one should be forced to convert to the true faith

I agree. Nor should they be forced to convert to a false non-Catholic religion. Everyone has that kind of religious liberty as well. So there are at least two truthful kinds of religious liberty that the Catholic Church professes as Catholic doctrine. There are other kinds that have been condemned as error. Yet, these two kinds–1) freedom to worship God as God intends, and 2) immunity from being forced against one’s will to worship in any religion, either true or false–these two kinds of religious liberty are not condemned but are in fact professed as Catholic doctrine.


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