The following comes from a November 11 Catholic World Report article by Carl E. Olsen:
One of the most contentious and heavily debated topics in the Church during and following the Second Vatican Council is that of religious freedom. In recent years, questions about the nature, parameters, and recognition of religious liberty have become even more timely and pressing in the United States and other Western nations. In Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity (Eerdmans, 2015), Dr. David L. Schindler and Dr. Nicholas J. Healy offer a rigorous and detailed examination of Dignitatis Humanae, the Council’s “Declaration on Religious Freedom”, providing a new translation, a redaction history, and a rich and provocative interpretation of the text.
Dr. Schindler, who is the Edouard Cardinal Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, Washington DC, and Dr. Healy, assistant professor of philosophy at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, recently responded to written questions from Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about their book, Dignitatis Humanae, and the situation faced by Catholics today.
CWR: In the Preface to Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity, you state that the book “seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom.” What are some specific reasons that such an understanding is important fifty years after the Council?
Dr. Healy: The Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, was the most controversial document of the Second Vatican Council. A significant minority of Council fathers harbored reservations on the grounds that the Declaration seemed to depart from established Catholic doctrine on the duties of the state toward the Catholic religion. Within the majority that supported an affirmation of religious freedom, there were deep disagreements about the nature and foundation of the right to religious freedom and the relationship between freedom and truth. Although approved by an overwhelming majority of Council fathers and commended by Pope Paul VI as “one of the greatest documents” of the Council, Dignitatis Humanae has remained a source of controversy and debate. Behind Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s schismatic act of consecrating bishops without papal mandate was a conviction that the Declaration represented a departure from Catholic doctrine and a capitulation to the heresy of modernism. Among the supporters of religious freedom, the disagreements that accompanied the drafting of the Declaration have served as a fault line for differing accounts of the nature and ground of religious freedom, and the significance of this teaching for the relationship between the Church and modernity.
One reason why the Declaration continues to generate interest and debate is the central importance of the question of freedom for the Church’s encounter with contemporary culture. “The era we call modern times,” Joseph Ratzinger observed, “has been determined from the beginning by the theme of freedom; the striving for new forms of freedom.” Both Gaudium et spes and Dignitatis Humanae acknowledge the legitimacy of this aspiration for freedom. At the same time, the Council fathers recognized the need for a critical discernment of the modern idea of freedom in light of the truth of human nature and the Christian mystery of redemption in Christ.
Freedom is not simply the capacity to choose between alternatives; it is a sign of the ontological dignity of the human person who is created in love and called to live in communion with the truth. One of the great achievements of the Declaration is to develop an understanding of human dignity and human freedom that is grounded in the human person’s constitutive relation to God. In the words of John Paul II, “the freedom of the individual finds its basis in man’s transcendent dignity: a dignity given to him by God the Creator and Father, in whose image and likeness he was created.” There is no freedom without truth, and no truth without freedom.
In the face of new challenges and new threats to religious freedom, it is important to rediscover the Council’s authentic teaching on the right to religious freedom as grounded in the obligation to seek the truth about God. As Gaudium et spes teaches, once God is forgotten, the creature is lost sight of as well. Especially in our time, it is necessary to uphold the transcendent and relational dignity of the human person, who is created by God and destined to share in the “glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:21).
I am not a member of SSPX, but Arch Bishop Lefebvre was not schismatic. No, the opposite occurred, the modern bishops and Paul the VIth were schismatic as they opposed and went against all of the previous Holy Fathers from Pope Pius the XIIth back to St. Peter who guarded and protected the Roman Catholic Faith through 20 centuries from Satan. Freedom of religion has led to accepting protestant heresies, and sharing worship services with pagan gods which JPII who some consider a saint led the breaking of God’s 1st Commandment at Assisi in 1986. Sharing prayers, Buddhist statues, and other pagan relics on the altar of God.
Our Lord said: “You will know them by their fruit” Look what has happened since V2 council! Loss of…
Bless you, Doug! I agree!
I have never agreed with Vatican II, on so-called “religious freedom!” Instead– I think Catholics have a simple obligation, to follow Christ, and profess their loving obedience to Him, in faith! We are too weak and small, as mere human beings– to know the “truth”– and that is why Christ came, to GIVE US TRUTH!! And He died on a Cross to free us from sin, and open wide the gates of Heaven! We live in a fallen, corrupt world! We are so in need of Christ! We must profess our faith in Him– NOT phony, ridiculous, so-called “religious freedom,” to search for some other false kind of “truth!”
Remember, at the time, there were (and still are) great world powers who were denying people the right to worship and even to believe. Many Catholics were martyred under these governments.
The early Fathers and martyrs of the Church would have condemned such nonsense being put out today by heretics and their followers who want to destroy the Church. If all religions are equally valid, what is the point of having a Catholic Church? The Church has always been based on what Christ said and commentaries by the Fathers, not upon some modern heretical teachings and notions.
Vatican II did incalculable damage to the Church. Millions of people left the Church, and some religious orders disbanded. I can’t think of any good that came of it.
Although what has happened by the wolves in sheeps clothing has been devastating, take heart, our Lord promised He would be with Holy Mother the Church until the end of time, that end of time may be rapidly approaching, perhaps in less than ones life time as interpreted in the scriptures. However, our Lord keeps His promise today in those Roman Catholic Parishes practicing our Latin tradition in the true unchanged 7 Holy Sacraments, Tridentine Latin Mass, prayers, and practices. Seek and you shall find said the Lord!
Slowly but surely, Vatican II undermined Church teachings by being murky and by speaking in double talk. There were time bombs which were set to go off years after the Council was finished. If something was a sin and was evil up until 1960, then, it is still a sin and it is still evil. Christ founded ONE Church, not 100 different ones. It is very odd that V2 NEVER condemned communism.
Jesus Christ only asks of us, our simple, child-like fidelity to Him, and to conscientiously follow His teachings! So– what in the world does so-called “religious freedom,” concocted by the Fathers of Vatican II– have to do with that? Did they mean, “freedom to disobey Christ, and say He is a fraud?” Or what?? Only ONE thing needed to be said, at any point n history (including the historical era of the Fathers of Vatican II)— God has given all mankind free will. And we must FREELY CHOOSE either to follow His Son, Jesus– or to reject Him!! It is as simple as that! Say “yes,” or say “no,” and get on with it! You all have your free will!
More proof Vatican II was not the work of the Holy Spirit. God would not endorse heresy, which Dignitatis Humanae clearly teaches. Salvation only comes from Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.
Contrary to the often-heard quotation, asserting that there is no truth without freedom, there most assuredly is such a thing as Truth, even in the context of slavery, whether that slavery be actual or or a manner of expressing compulsivity, i.e., addiction to a substance or concept. Truth exists as an independent entity and does not require freedom in order to exist or even to be acknowledged.
I agree with the post of Maryanne Leonard. Yes, Truth has existed for all eternity, regardless of what anyone says or thinks or feels!
I will add something to my above post. We live in a sad world of darkness ignorance, disorder, and sin! We have suffered in this way, far from God, since the Fall of Adam and Eve! We were so helpless, to get out of this situation, all alone, stranded in the wilderness, without any knowledge or grace! So, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to teach us the right ways to live, and to die for our sins, to open wide the gates of Heaven, and lead us there, to a blessed eternal life with God, Himself! Jesus Christ is the greatest gift mankind shall ever be blessed with!
I have always thought that “Dignitatis Humanae” was a terrible mistake, (even heretical!) I have always thought that the Church should simply re-affirm, always, her absolute Faith and trust in Christ and His teachings– and simply be gracious and polite, to those who choose to follow other religions! That’s all!
Actually Linda Marie, Our Lord directed His Apostles and Disciples to go further, to the ends of the earth teaching and baptizing (meaning conversions) them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost! Clearly, He didn’t say COEXIST, get along with and worship with the pagan religions. The Apostles and Disciples risked their lives, and many were martyred spreading God’s Holy Word. I can’t believe after dying for us so ignominiously on the cross that Our Lord would go against His teachings,to learn about, accept, and respect false pagan religions. Dignitatis Humanae encourages liberty from following our Lord,the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
To reply to the post of Doug– I agree, Our Lord commissioned His Apostles to carry on His Mission to the ends of the earth, and to the end of time! Yet, Our Lord is a very good teacher! He knows human nature, is very wise, and knows just how to teach! And He is VERY PATIENT!! Some accept Him easily and readily, some question Him, some reject Him, some are confused or afraid of Hi; St. Peter was first among the Apostles, yet he denied Him three times! And Judas Iscariot was an Apostle– yet, Judas betrayed Him, unto death!! At the Crucifixion, one criminal accepted Him, and the other one rejected Him! People are all different, with different situations! Our Lord wants us to always stand up for Him, and to speak the Truth, yes– but…
Sorry, but I typed too fast, in my above reply, to Doug! In my third sentence I meant to say,”…some are confused or afraid of Him…” Anyway, we must always stand up for Him and speak His Truth and carry on His holy work as Christians! We must be filed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, when we speak, not our own human pride, impatience, vanity, etc. And we must always persevere, and be patient! We must always speak as He would, with kindness, patience, love, and sincerity! Our Lady also helps with conversion, in Heaven! I think some Christians are very blessed to evangelize– it is a gift! Others are more like St. Francis, who felt that living a Christ-like life, was a better way of teaching and conversion, in many cases, than…
I will finish with my above post! Another typing error, is found on the second line! It should read, “We must be filled with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit…” I misspelled the word “filled!” Well, there are too-severe time restrictions I think, on these comments, now! Anyway– so yes, St. Francis is reported to have said and believed, that the best way to teach Christ’s teachings, is to lead a holy life! Teach by example! He thought that this was much better than books and sermons!
I will say one last thing, in reply to the post of Doug. As Christians, we have a very DEFINITE teaching, from Christ! In the modern Church, this has been recently obscured a great deal, by Vatican II! And NO– you are correct, in stating that God does NOT want us to “coexist with pagans,” and those who do great wrongs! I, too, am so sick of seeing our Church BETRAY OUR LORD, by seeking a FALSE and PHONY kind of “coexistence– instead of boldly stating Our Lord’s Truth— and that’s that! We belong to just Him, to NO ONE ELSE– and WE DO NOT BELONG TO THE WORLD!! Secularism n the Church– is a HORROR!!
You second post was so well written but now you are disregarding it.
Anonymous, it is easy to put things in a nutshell– listen to what Christ has to say, and follow it! Be patient, keep trying, and do not give up! Christ is patiently waiting, eternally, for us all — the whole world suffers in great darkness, human weakness and sin , as we all are so “fallen,” and ignorance! Christ is our very LIFE!! And He wants us all for Eternal Life, with God, in Heaven! Christ understands us, and He knows how hard things can be, for us! He is waiting, eternally, in love, wisdom, and patience!
“You(r) second post, [Linda Marie] was so well written but now you are disregarding it.” – Anonymous 1140am 11/17/15
Well, Linda Marie writes original ideas, rather than hiding in the shadows and making one-liner cheap shots with no substantive content. How fulfilling can that be?
It was not a cheap shot. What is wrong with people here?
I will continue! Secularism in our Church, is a HORROR– and Bl. Pope Paul VI spoke of the “smoke of Satan” entering the Church, when she falsely “opened the doors and windows of the Church to the modern world,” in Vatican II! A great error! We are of Christ, ONLY! NOT of the world! One must NEVER mix Christ’s teachings, with the false and sinful ideas of the ignorant and sinful world, and call this a phony way to “coexist,” so that non-believers do not get angry! Let the non-believers get mad, or whatever, and so what!! SILLY!! We must be the “light of the world” for Christ, to the non-believers, who sadly live in darkness!
First the Harm – then the Warning
Former Transgender Woman Blasts Saint Louis Univ. for Hosting Transgender Activist
In an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, author, speaker and former transgender woman Walt Heyer was highly critical of Saint Louis University for agreeing to host transgender activist Laverne Cox, a man who lives as a woman, Monday night to discuss understanding “womanhood with a modern perspective” despite the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality and gender identity.
“Transgender activists should not be allowed to encourage students toward apostasy in the teaching environment of a Catholic university,” Heyer told the Newman Society.
Heyer, who spent eight years as a woman after “sex change”…
Linda Marie, when you wrote this:
I have never agreed with Vatican II, on so-called “religious freedom!”
…I thank God you are in charge of nothing.
If you do not believe in religious freedom, you are a very frightening person.
A reminder of what happened to Catholics and Quakers in the early days of this country.
A tragic reflection of what happened to Jews under the inquisition.
A good reason for Saint Paul saying: “women should remain silent in the churches.”
Anonymous, you completely misunderstand! If you are a baptized Catholic, you certainly have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, your Savior, haven’t you? So then, instead of proclaiming a ridiculous concept of “religious freedom,” why not instead proclaim your fidelity to Christ? Of course, all of us DO have freedom to believe as we wish! But if we have entered into a commitment to Christ– we have a big RESPONSIBILITY!! A Church should be POLITE and HAVE GOOD MANNERS to non-believers– that’s all!
It is a wonderful thing, to read amazing stories of conversions that seemed, at first, to be impossible. In recent times, there is the story of Abby Johnson, the famous Catholic convert and pro-life advocate, who used to be the director of a dreadful Planned Parenthood abortion mill, in Texas. Today, the old Planned Parenthood she used to direct, is gone, and a pro-life clinic to help pregnant women, stands in its place! There are also a great more wonderful conversion stories throughout history, very dramatic and at first– unbelievable! Look at St. Paul, the Christian executioner, for the Roman government! But with God– all things are possible!! We must simply practice our Faith devoutly, pray for the unbelievers and those in deep…
We should disregard the ridiculous Vatican II notion of so-called “religious freedom,” eroding the faith and trust in God, of modern believers! I believe in practicing one’s Faith firmly and devoutly, and praying, with patience and perseverance, for those who are unbelievers, and those in deep sin, who reject Christ! You never know what kind of miracles that God can work! We must turn all things over to God, after we have done our best! All is in His hands– not ours!