Religious tolerance vs Religious liberty

I have read that Archbishop Lefebvre was in favor of religious tolerance but not religious liberty. What is the difference between the two as he saw it? :confused:

Toleration: A protestant (or whatever) is allowed to have and practice their faith but the message remains clear that the Catholic Faith is the only true Faith. This is the way it was throughout Christendom until the French Revolution, at which point we got Religious Liberty which believes that all faiths have equal rights. In the mindset of religious liberty, if one faith is actually superior to all others it should naturally rise to the top. This is a dangerous trap of intellectual pride and forgets that our Faith is supernatural and that satan is the father of lies.

I can see people having equal rights, but how can a “faith” have equal rights?

So from a political perspective, how could a state promote religous tolerance but not religious freedom?

Faiths would have equal rights to the degree that no matter what your creed you would have the public right to evangelize your views. This is religious liberty – the liberty to believe what you want and to proselytize your faith.

If, however, we believe that the Catholic Faith is the only Faith by which we can be saved, then it’s our duty in both charity and justice to prohibit the teaching/evangelism of any other Faith. It is for this reason that notorious and unrepentant heretics were executed in previous times because their crime threatened the eternal salvation of the population.

Well, your historical timeline is off a bit. Here in Virginia, we practiced the fundamental right of religious liberty a bit earlier than the French Revolution. See the Act for Religious Freedom enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786, portions of which are quoted below:

“Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burthened, in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+57-1

By enacting laws that state that the Catholic religion is the official religion of the state and the only one which may be practiced by the citizens as a right.

I stand corrected. Our nation and its laws did happen before the French Revolution. I was thinking in terms of a nation that was Catholic that then legalized religious liberty. Unless our nation – or parts of it – was officially Catholic at any time, then the French would have the dishonor of being first in that respect.

This concept is repugnant to religious liberty and is the basis of tyranny. If God himself does not bind our conscience --and He does not for He allows us to choose him or not, to literally choose heaven or hell–then it is wrong for the Church to prohibit other faiths.

Moral freedom doesn’t allow the freedom to choose error because error has no rights.

This is one of the reasons why the US Constitution forbids the establishment of religion. Historically, State Churches operate by denying religious liberty to those who are dissenters.

Even in those cases today where religious freedom exists notwithstanding an established church (such as the Anglican Church in England), it could also be argued that since public funds are used to support the established church that this is a violation of the religious rights of dissenters. As Thomas Jefferson stated in a draft of the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern…”

What country do you call home? Is it a free country? Does it protect the right of men and women to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience? For your sake, I hope so.

It’s not the basis for any tyranny. It is the anecdote for anarchy & chaos and moral disintegration, IF you understand it correctly.
** First:**
The Church does not nor ever has "prohibit [ed] other faiths"
This is a red herring or at best a misunderstanding of what is being posted.
There were many unmolested (by the Cath. Church) sects that cropped up in 200-1700AD in otherwise Catholic majority nations or regions.
** Second:**
The sects that were restrained were inevitably by CIVIL authority WHEN they began to cause CIVIL disorder, or publically PROMOTE their conflicting beliefs, like the Cathars in France. Catholics have engaged in it at the directive or consent of the Civil authority. I’m am not discounting renegade catholics or like sectarians.

** Third:**
Believe it or not, there was a time, long held for many centuries, that the safety of the soul was more important than the safety of the flesh if one had to choose. The idea that the safety of the flesh is primary is a very recent innovation in the christian culture, be it catholic or otherwise.

Fourth:
EMPIRICALLY, there is EITHER only 1 true religion or there is no true region at all, because, EMPIRICALLY, all of them contradict each other on points of belief/faith/doctrine/dogma…take yur pick.

Fifth:
Catholics believe that ERROR has NO rights by Divine Law.
For instance, 4+5=11.887765 has no right to be accepted or propagated.
Jesus is not God in the flesh has no right to be accepted or propagated.
Historically, error is tolerated in the private sector such as the practice of an erroneous religion, but is not to be tolerated in the public forum such as its PUBLIC celebration (outside a private setting) or EVANGELIZING others to its belief.
This is derived from the Divine Law above.
Sixth:
The church at VATII overthrew that restraint on promoting error based on the idea that any man is REQUIRED to act on his conscience restrained only by civil order.
Thus he was to be allowed to promote & practice publically any religion at all where it did not violate public authority or human dignity (such a Isamic strains).

The SSPX & many other Traditional mindset groups disavow that conclusion of VATII.
It is a huge point of contention.
More on that elsewhere and later.

If there is one true religion, by what possible right do any other creeds have the right to exist? Or do you not believe there is one true religion?

By the way, are you really protestant like your signature implies? If so, why are you provoking arguments on the Catholic Answers Forum?

I see that you did not answer my questions above. Nonetheless, I will answer your questions. Yes, there is one true religion. Unfortunately, due to our sinful nature which is the result of the Fall, we are unable to agree on what is that true religion. Yet, even so, God has not bound our conscience. God could have created automations that would not sin and which would love and worship Him automatically, but instead He chose to create us with a free will. A free nature by which we can choose or reject Him. A free will that Adam and Eve abused, but which God did not prevent from happening. We reap what we sow and the wages of sin are death, but if God himself did not bind our conscience then neither can man.

As stated in the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Liberty includes freedom of faith and freedom of speech. If any government acts to suppress the free exercise of religion it acts wrongfully and its actions are illegitimate. If any Church does the same it also acts wrongfully and its actions are illegitimate.

Freedom of religion is the first freedom, the most important freedom of all. If we cannot worship God as we believe appropriate then we are not free men.

Yes, heaven is not a democracy. When we get there it will be clear what religion is true and there will not be any dissent to God’s loving and just and, most importantly, merciful rule. But we are not there yet.

To answer your second question, this is an apologetics forum. Reasonable and charitable debate and discussion of ideas, especially relating to the Catholic faith, is not only allowed it is encouraged. You should get used to the concept…or are you against freedom of expression as well as freedom of religion?

Finally, Parvenu74, you haven’t answered my questions. What country do you call home? Is it a free country? Does it protect the right of men and women to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience?

Yes, religious toleration is the way it should be. A Jew can go to his synagogue, but we wont support or encourage him going to the synagogue, and certainly wont give him extra rights. The Church is above all other religions.

I applaud you rr1213 for your excellent post. :thumbsup:

I see that you did not answer my questions above…

Because they are irrelevant to a theological discussion. If you must know, however, I live in the United States. You can answer the rest of your questions yourself from that answer.

Yes, there is one true religion. Unfortunately, due to our sinful nature which is the result of the Fall, we are unable to agree on what is that true religion. Yet, even so, God has not bound our conscience.

There is one point in that bit with which I can agree: there is indeed one true religion. However, contrary to your assertion, we can indeed know what it is. How? Certainly we are in a diminished state after the fall of Adam but we’re not relying on human wits to know what is right: we rely on the Word of God. When Christ came to earth He did two critical things for us: (1) re-open the gates of heaven for us by His passion and death on the cross and (2) establish a Church by which we are to be saved, namely the Catholic Church headed on earth by Peter and his successors (hence the phrase “ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia–where Peter is, there is the Church”). To say that God didn’t bind our conscience in this regard is to deny the dogma “Extra ecclesia, nulla salus–outside the Church there is no salvation.” If you deny this then you are not in the Church and your prospects for salvation are somewhat diminished.

As stated in the American Declaration of Independence…

The declaration of independence is a document created by men with the stated goal of forming a more perfect union and securing the blessings of peace and prosperity. It is not the Word of God meant to save us from our sins and help us to get to heaven. I really don’t understand why you are bringing it into this discussion as it has no logical place here.

Freedom of religion is the first freedom, the most important freedom of all. If we cannot worship God as we believe appropriate then we are not free men.

Wrong. It’s not up to us to “worship God as we believe appropriate” but to worship Him in the manner in which He has prescribed. For this purpose Christ founded a teaching Church to instruct us on things such as worship.

To answer your second question, this is an apologetics forum. Reasonable and charitable debate and discussion of ideas, especially relating to the Catholic faith, is not only allowed it is encouraged. You should get used to the concept…or are you against freedom of expression as well as freedom of religion?

Yes, this is an apologetics forum but not just any old kind: it’s a Catholic forum. By Catholic standards you’re professing multiple heresies but if you don’t believe the Catholic Faith, what difference does that make to you? For which I repeat my query: if you don’t believe the Catholic Faith, why are you here questioning it and citing the Declaration of Independence as though it compares to the Word of God or the Catholic Church which Christ founded? Charitable debate and exchange of ideas is laudable, but if you’re in error it’s also Charitable to point that out so that you can be corrected and don’t lose your soul. Error has no rights… but you probably don’t agree with that.

Anyway, I’ve typed enough with you on this. As long as you’re not going to discuss this on the basis of actual Catholic doctrine and dogma then there is no point carrying on.

So if it is our duty to prohibit the teaching of any other Faith, then you would support laws forbidding the teaching of Judaism, or Islam, or world religions, in American public schools?

Your country of residence is of interest because I am an American. If you are also an American you should thank God daily that he allows you to live in a free country where your right to practice your faith as a religious minority is guaranteed by law. Until very recently in history, this country was in the distinct minority of countries that protect religious freedom. It is also ironic that your right to worship as a Catholic is guaranteed by a Constitutional government established by non-Catholics, yet you would deny that very right to us if our roles were reversed. Would you also deny us the right to evangelize our faith? To disagree with your Church? To disagree with a government that is run by faithful members of your Church?

By your reasoning, freedom of speech is also meaningless. It is no coincidence that in the modern era free societies first developed in Protestant nations, not in Catholic ones. It is also not a coincidence that the USA is among the most religious of the industrialized democracies. Our Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, and freedom of governmental interference in religion, is one key reason for this fact.

Further, I am a Protestant and if your faith dictates that I should be precluded from worshipping according to my conscience because I am not a Catholic, then this fact is important to me so I can be watchful in protecting my Constitutional rights and freedom of conscience.

You are also wrong in saying that God binds our conscience. Read Scripture, look around you, it is clear that this is not the case. If we chose wrong, then we pay the consequences of our sin…but it is our choice. If you want to believe that all (or practically all) non-Catholics will not be saved, that is also fine. It’s a free country you know.

Short of heaven, there’s not a theocracy worth living in. You want to live in a theocracy? Saudi Arabia and Iran are pleasant this time of the year.

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