Catholicism and Religious Freedom: Changed Doctrine?


#1

Dear brothers and sisters:

For some time now, I’ve been disturbed by the hurch’s pas teaching on religious liberty, and how it seems to be contradicted by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the subsequent Pontiffs.

It simply cannot be denied, it seems to me, that for centuries the Church by her Ordinary Magisterium taught that that a Catholic State ordinarily has the duty to suppress heresy, even by the persecution of heretics themselves. Heresy could be tolerated in order to prevent greater evils (like civil war), but there was never any teaching of a right to be a heretic.

Vatican II seems to say that in all states heretics and heretical communities have a civil right to exist, and this is founded in the natural law.

Anyone but me see the contradiction, and the implications this has for a) the infallibilty of the Ordinary Magisterium, and b) the right if Catholics to question certain teachings?

:confused:


#2

Where is it in V2 that you see this in? I think that may help clarify for us why it is you see it that way.


#3

I think this is the article that helped me the most to understand the issue you are wrestling with…I’ll have to read it again…I hope it’s helpful:

Vatican II and Religious Liberty: Contradiction or Continuity?
by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Dossier/00MarApr/continuity.html

Keep the Faith
jmt


#4

The document, Declaration on Religious Freedom, is aimed primarily at civil governments. It does not address heresy or heretics. By definition heresy is a choice. The heretic chooses to reject a Catholic teaching for one that is contrary to it. The religious freedom talked about in this document relates to those who are born into their religion, e.g. the person did not choose his religion, it was the only belief ever taught to him by his parents, etc. Since these people have never been exposed to the truth, they cannot be coerced into becoming Catholic and are to be allowed to seek God and the truth through our evangelization rather than by edict. That is why V2 also put heavy emphasis on evangelization by all of the faithful, especially the laity (See Ad Gentes).

I would encourage everyone to read the documents of V2, as they were purposely written in non-technical language so that they could be easily understood by the laity and all Christians. It think it is important for all Christians, especially Catholics, to read the V2 documents so they can see for themselves what V2 really taught and called for. In some cases V2 has been erroneously implemented and much of it has yet to be implemented.


#5

I certainly agree with you that V-II has been twisted from time to time to suit a particular person’s agenda, and I hope all of our brethren take you up on your call to actually read the documents.

On the other hand, I’m not sure what you would have the Church do to prevent heresy? Are you suggesting she raise an army; perform acts of civil disobedience; exommunicate the masses who stray? To what end? What better weapon than the truth should the church deploy?


#6

I was working on a thesis concerning this very issue for my STB and it is interesting to note that if you read the Vorgrimler Commentary on this very issue you will read that the issue of religious freedom does not apply to the Catholic State. It is the responsibility of the a secular government or government of another faith to recognize religious freedom for the security of the truth (the Church) however it does not work the same way in reverse. The corolary here is that truth must always be recognized and error can only be tolerated for the welfare of the Church which has the fullness of truth. Thus it is no change in doctrine but rather an address to secular and (other) types of government.


#7

It is the responsibility of the a secular government or government of another faith to recognize religious freedom for the security of the truth (the Church) however it does not work the same way in reverse. The corolary here is that truth must always be recognized and error can only be tolerated for the welfare of the Church which has the fullness of truth. Thus it is no change in doctrine but rather an address to secular and (other) types of government.

Fr. Harrison’s analyses seem to contradict this.


#8

[quote=Sacramentalist]Fr. Harrison’s analyses seem to contradict this.
[/quote]

What I wrote on is from the Vorgrimler Commentary which is the actual commentary by those who wrote the documents. This particular point is expounded by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.


#9

It was until Vatican II the teaching of the Catholic church that all should be Catholic.That when ever possible the Catholic church should be the state religion.
That has changed the Catholic church isnt even Italy’s state religion anymore.


#10

[quote=mosher]This particular point is expounded by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
[/quote]

By then Father Joseph Ratzinger. He wasn’t made a Cardinal until 1977.


#11

[quote=Catholic2003]By then Father Joseph Ratzinger. He wasn’t made a Cardinal until 1977.
[/quote]

I believe that at the time of the Commentary he was a Bishop but I do not recall. I don’t have a copy on hand as it is hard to find and encyclopedic.

[quote=JOHNYJ]It was until Vatican II the teaching of the Catholic church that all should be Catholic.That when ever possible the Catholic church should be the state religion.
That has changed the Catholic church isnt even Italy’s state religion anymore.
[/quote]

This is not something that has ever changed. The Church teaches that of course everyone should be catholic and in that sense a Catholic Government is the most suitable form of Government. I have yet to see a revocation of this stance in any official form.


#12

Sacramentalist, et. al.

It might be a good idea for you to read Dignitatis humanae. You can access it at this site:

cin.org/v2relfre.html


#13

[quote=mosher]I believe that at the time of the Commentary he was a Bishop but I do not recall.
[/quote]

Also 1977.


#14

quote:volzcpa

Since these people have never been exposed to the truth, they cannot be coerced into becoming Catholic and are to be allowed to seek God and the truth through our evangelization rather than by edict

Allowed” ??? :eek:

Oh, my sainted aunt !

reen12


#15

[quote=mosher]I believe that at the time of the Commentary he was a Bishop but I do not recall. I don’t have a copy on hand as it is hard to find and encyclopedic.

This is not something that has ever changed. The Church teaches that of course everyone should be catholic and in that sense a Catholic Government is the most suitable form of Government. I have yet to see a revocation of this stance in any official form.
[/quote]

Let me get this straight. You live in a country with a Protestant majority and you want a Catholic government? Am I correct? :mad:


#16

[quote=Alfie]Let me get this straight. You live in a country with a Protestant majority and you want a Catholic government? Am I correct? :mad:
[/quote]

Actually if there is a majority it would be Catholic as according to the last census data 24% of Americans are Catholic. True, if you lump all Protestants into one group then they out number the Catholics but it is not reasonable to do so. And yes, I firmly believe that a Catholic Monarchy such as in Lichstenstein (sp?) or Malta is the ideal form of government. On Church/State relations I take the side of St. Augustine over that of St. Thomas. While being a strong patriot I do not let my American identity blind me to truth which is at times in opposition to the American Republic which places itself formally in moral positivism and not necessarily in natural moral law.


#17

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