Dignitatis Humanae Revisited
#61
An interesting article that I think shows how DH was indeed responsible for the dismantling of the Catholic confessional states:
http://www.frinstitute.org/grasso.html

An excerpt:

Although DH hardly articulates a complete political theory, one can discern in it, as Pavan observes, the broad outlines of a model of the state that differs both from "the Catholic-confessional" model[60] of the state championed by Church social teaching prior to the Council and the secularist -- "the laicistic or neutralistic"[61] -- model rejected by both pre-Conciliar Church teaching and the Declaration. At the heart of DH's vision of political life is the idea of limited government, the idea that the state is to play what Rausch terms "a limited secular role"[62] in the overall economy of human social life. DH, as Coleman notes, thus affirms as "normative" the idea of "the limited constitutional state."[63]

It is this conception of the state that undergirds the Declaration's theory of religious freedom. Government, it insists, is not authorized to forbid religious acts merely because they are erroneous or subversive of the common good. Government possesses neither a generalized authority to pass judgment on the truth of the religious beliefs professed by the individuals and groups which compose society nor a open-ended mandate to advance the common good. The state thus exceeds the legitimate scope of its authority if it prohibits religious acts for either of these reasons. It possesses no right to restrict religious freedom -- except insofar as its restriction is demanded by its responsibility to protect that segment of the common good DH terms "public order."



There are numerous other articles, some of which I am reading now.  I have noticed that pro-DHers seem to idolize the American concept of religious liberty, which they like to claim Pope Leo XIII admired greatly--an assertion which is patently untrue as noted in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Longiqua (excerpted below, bolded to show emphasis).

6. The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.


It is the last part of the above statement that is either omitted or contested by DH apologists (Murray, Neuhaus, Moneil, etc.).  Pope Leo XIII tells us that Catholics should be working toward the establishment and maintenance of Catholic confessional states.  Murray claims that this idea is incompatible with modern life.  Neuhaus goes farther and claims that the confessional state is a bad idea in and of itself.  Both contradict hundreds of years of Church teaching on the matter.
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#62
(05-22-2009, 08:53 AM)anthony Wrote: I seek something of a practical approach. Right. I don't think there's harm in that, so long as we know who we are and why we're here. We're not here to twiddle our thumbs while the world sends itself to hell. Nor can we keep this from happening by shouting from atop some tower with no means of condescending below. This is what I think DH stood for, that condescension. It was not extremely well done. It was too modest an effort in my opinion...But I don't know if the council fathers weren't limited in what they could say, politically, and if they lacked a kind of hindsight that would give them confidence in making more risky (by the world's standards) comments.

You perceive a deficiency of confidence but was that from a lack of hindsight or something else? The widely-held opinion that VII questioned or even contradicted Tradition indicates that lack of confidence you noticed was uncertainty about the truth of Tradition. The uncertainty about Catholic Tradition would explains why Vatican II elevates false creeds instead of simply condemning or ignoring them as in all previous councils. Council fathers had doubts about whether Catholicism was entirely true and therefore could not confidently dismiss opposing creeds as false.
Quote:I find this essay quite helpful.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=YT0Co8kyl7AC&pg=PA359&lpg=PA359&dq=F.+Russell+Hittinger,+Dignitatis+Humanae&source=bl&ots=9coi-LrAe6&sig=nvcTFTJ13c55Z-pgTPVTnSOUWqk&hl=en&ei=mp4WSu3QMJDflQeM7MHWCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1

The essay contains interesting consideration about church-state models but attaches undo importance to the state. The One, Eternal Church teaches the various states to abide with Truth, and never alters its teaching to conform with temporarily prevalent falsehoods. The Church may permit falsehood for the sake of peace but never accept falsehood as righteous.
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#63
"lamentabili sane" Wrote:
"Anthony" Wrote:Anyone here read The Catholic Church and the Modern World by EEY Hayles?

Yes, I have the book. What part of the book are you suggesting we read?

I pulled this book off my bookshelf this afternoon. It's been a while since I have read it, but there are some interesting things in it. Anthony, are you thinking of anything specific here, or do you think there is just a sort of general "whitewashing" of modern-ism by EEY Hales?
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#64
Underdog and lamentabili sane, with great respect I would like to ask a small favor – that you critique me for what I’ve actually written.

I wrote:
Quote:I want the freedom to practice my Catholic faith ... I hope that Catholics in every part of the world enjoy this same right ... that the Church [/i] (I hope you understand that I mean the Catholic Church here) have the right to take the Gospel to every corner of the earth ... that all peoples have the right (to use their free will) to embrace the true faith.
.

The above is what I said, it is all I said, it is the only thing I said, in that specific regard

Two responses were:

Quote:No. You are saying that in order for Catholics to have the freedom to practise their faith (the one true faith) there must be a right for all others to practice their false religions. You, following DH are saying their cannot be a confessional state because it would violate religious freedom (a masonic idea, mind you) based on the dignity of the human person.

Quote:Yes, Moneil, you are [confused about what was wrong with my statement above].  But you are more than that.  You are wrong.  I can't tell whether you are taking a page directly from Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., a person condemned by the Holy Office of the Church, or Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, who was imbued with the errors of Fr. Murray; however, it is obvious that you have indeed drunk the kool-aid.  :dunce:


I never said that in order for Catholics to have freedom there must be a right for all others to practice their other religions.  You cannot find that, some simply have jumped to that conclusion.  I realise that some believe DH teaches this, and that that is problematic, but I never stated that.  I have observed that in non-Catholic countries where they do allow freedom of religion, the Catholic Faith has been planted and has thrived (Pope Leo XIII observed this same phenomena, as noted below).  That would seem to this simple mind to be a preferred situation over having a non-Catholic country that is confessional (Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Islamic, Buddhist, whatever), or a government that is officially secular and antagonistic to religion, where restrictions, or even persecution, make it more difficult for the Catholic Faith to be planted and to thrive (though, of course, the true faith will still prevail under those conditions).  I’ve never said that a Catholic confessional state shouldn’t be the ideal, where it is possible.  I’ve never read Fr. Murray, nor Fr. Neuhaus. 

Initially I had been confused about why the concept of [i]religious liberty was so troubling for traditional Catholics, mostly because the Church claims a divine right to fulfill Her divine mission of spreading the gospel, which is more difficult if legal impediments, or even persecution, are imposed (though, as I have said, those have never deterred the Church from her divine mission).  Undoubtedly I am also influenced by the freedom the Church enjoyed in the United States, in spite of prejudice.  My paternal grandmother was denied a public school teaching job in WA state at the turn of the 20th century because the locals weren’t going to tolerate having a Mick papist teach their children.  When the parish I went to school in celebrated its centennial in 1986 some of the old timers reminisced about coming out of the original church from Christmas Midnight Mass, to be greeted by the local Klu Klux Klan holding a cross burning in the park across the street.  Both of those groups, and many others, would have supported legal restrictions on the Catholic Church, but those were deterred by the Constitution.  In pre Vatican II parochial school the nuns in full traditional habits impressed on us how fortunate we were to be able to practice our faith (here in the United States), and we would daily kneel on the hard linoleum floor to pray the Rosary for the intentions of persecuted Catholics around the world.  We were well instructed on the lives of those who were martyred for the faith because of a lack of religious freedom (the early Christians in the Roman Empire, Ss. Thomas More and Bp. John Fisher, the Japanese Martyrs, Maryknoll Bishop Francis X. Ford in China, and innumerable others).  In 1985 I worked on an agricultural project in Uganda, East Africa for two months.  On the feast day of St. Charles Lwanga and companions (the Ugandan martyrs) on June 3rd I pray especially for the Church in Africa.

For those of my generation (1951), raised in the Church in the United States, and catechized in parochial schools (pre Vatican II), there was a very heavy emphasis on the value of being able to freely practice our faith, and on the plight of persecuted Catholics in many other areas.  The concept of a Catholic confessional state was, at most, highly theoretical to us, though certainly to be desired, once we got everybody converted.

I thank veritatem_dilexisti for being the one person who explained, in a rational, polite, and non attacking manner, exactly what the difficulty some have with DH is (and, for that, he gets a fish):
Quote:But DH is not talking about adaptation to a transient situation regarding the freedom of the Church; it proclaims religious liberty as an intrinsic human right.
Because I truly didn’t understand it before.

If one will read what I have actually posted, I have said that I have not the theological background to discern, or debate, whether DH can be reconciled with tradition, and I will leave that to others better qualified than myself.  That demeanor is also yet another mark of a pre Vatican II parochial school education:  One looked to the magisterial teaching authority of the Church (in any given time) to interpret and define the Church’s mind on a matter.  One did not sift through papal and councilor documents across the ages to develop their own private interpretation of the Church’s mind on a matter.  That was considered to be a very protestant approach (the way fundies throw proof texts from the KJB at each other).  Mind you, I’m not making any judgment about those who feel that they cannot have confidence in current Church leadership, and must look at the deposit of Tradition for themselves, I’m simply explaining how we pre-Vatican II Catholics were catechized.

In the following two quote blocks the bolded sections are one’s I’ve highlighted.

I had written:
Quote:It is true that Pope Leo XIII expressed concern about "Americanism" (I don't know if he really condemned it, as some say, but I don't have time to read up on that at the moment).  Yet, in almost the same breath, as it were, he expressed admiration and joy over the growth and fruitfullness of the Catholic Church in America, made possible by … a secular constitution.
…Actually, it was the faithfullness of the sons and daughters of the Church, the fact that they possessed the true faith, and the working of the Holy Spirit, that produced that growth and fruitfullness, but the First Amendment certainly helped make it possible.  While it is always a tricky proposition to run a reverse prophesy on history, there are good indicators that without the First Amendment in the US Constitution, the Catholic immigrants wouldn't have been let in to begin with.

Underdog replied with:
Quote:There are numerous other articles, some of which I am reading now.  I have noticed that pro-DHers seem to idolize the American concept of religious liberty, which they like to claim Pope Leo XIII admired greatly--an assertion which is patently untrue as noted in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Longiqua (excerpted below).

6. The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.

I had not read Longinqua – Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Catholicism in the United States 06 Jan 1895
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xi...ua_en.html before I wrote as above, though, from what I highlighted, it could seem (with great humility), that I had expressed a sentiment similar to that of His Holiness, namely that the faith prospered in the United States primarily because it was the true faith, but that happy occurrence was facilitated by its not being “unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation”, “a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge”, as His Holiness says.

The poster continues:
Quote: It is the last part of the above statement that is either omitted or contested by DH apologists (Murray, Neuhaus, Moneil, etc.).  Pope Leo XIII tells us that Catholics should be working toward the establishment and maintenance of Catholic confessional states

I’m hardly an apologist for DH (I believe that McMaster would more appropriately hold that distinction there).  Pope Leo XIII does indeed tell us that ”Catholics should be working toward the establishment and maintenance of Catholic confessional states”, and I have never stated otherwise, and I don’t recall that those who have patiently worked to explain how they believe DH fits in the Tradition of the Church have argued against a Catholic confessional state either.

Then we have:
Quote:
"moneil" Wrote:But, the main point I've been committed to making, and which nobody else in this thread has addressed, is what about all the other Catholics in the world, who don't have religious freedom (which is the issue DH is addressing)?  Should the Church say or do nothing to secure their right to embrace and practice the Catholic faith?  Are you okay with that?

It has been addressed by several people now, you're just not listening because your "goal" is to defend DH, by hook or by crook. The Church cannot change the truth. Quanta Cura is infallible.

Maybe I’m slow, or blind, or just stupid, but I went back through all 4 pages of this thread, and I cannot find where the issue of how the Church should respond to countries where she and her faithful do not enjoy the liberty to preach and live the true faith,  other than this:
Quote:I have addressed this point repeatedly since the beginning of this thread but you have not responded. Non-Catholics are not bound by Church teaching.

There are Church documents that address this topic more directly, but Immortale Dei – Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Christian Constitution of States 01 Nov 1885 is a good read.
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xi...ei_en.html , where His Holiness says: “Nevertheless, since truth when brought to light is wont, of its own nature, to spread itself far and wide, and gradually take possession of the minds of men, We, moved by the great and holy duty of Our apostolic mission to all nations, speak, as We are bound to do, with freedom. Our eyes are not closed to the spirit of the times. We repudiate not the assured and useful improvements of our age, but devoutly wish affairs of State to take a safer course than they are now taking, and to rest on a more firm foundation without injury to the true freedom of the people;”.

I have no “goal” other than to discuss how the Church insures her freedom to fulfill her divine mission in the non-Catholic or secular world.  I had already explicitly stated that I was not qualified to discern if or how DH “fits with the Church”, as it where.  All the sections I’ve quoted from that document were related to the Church’s divine right to fulfill her divine mission.  If you want to read more into my statements that what I have actually written, well, I don’t know what to say.

Quote:You, moneil, must give your assent to the teaching of the encyclicals, not disagree with them.

I give my assent to the teachings of our Holy Mother the Church, as defined by Her Magisterium, exercised by the Vicar of Christ on earth (Pope Benedict XVI at the moment), and the bishops in communion with him.  I don’t believe you can point to a single statement of mine that indicates otherwise.  If you will recall, everything I’ve written has been about the Catholic Church’s right to be free to fulfill Her divine mission, especially in countries where today she doesn’t have that right.  I’ve never proposed an equality on behalf of any other religious system.  Let me cite again Leo XIII in Immortale Dei:
Quote:36. This, then, is the teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the constitution and government of the State. By the words and decrees just cited, if judged dispassionately,no one of the several forms of government is in itself condemned, inasmuch as none of them contains anything contrary to Catholic doctrine, and all of them are capable, if wisely and justly managed, to insure the welfare of the State. Neither is it blameworthy in itself, in any manner, for the people to have a share greater or less, in the government: for at certain times, and under certain laws, such participation may not only be of benefit to the citizens, but may even be of obligation. Nor is there any reason why any one should accuse the Church of being wanting in gentleness of action or largeness of view, or of being opposed to real and lawful liberty. The Church, indeed, deems it unlawful to place the various forms of divine worship on the same footing as the true religion, but does not, on that account, condemn those rulers who, for the sake of securing some great good or of hindering some great evil, allow patiently custom or usage to be a kind of sanction for each kind of religion having its place in the State. And, in fact, 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 will."
I’ve written no more, nor less, I don’t believe.

Quote:This is not about the plight of persecuted Catholics, and until you realize that we don't really have any common ground.

I do hope this is written in haste, and not really intended as it sounds.  But, if you do truly believe that the plight of persecuted Catholics is irrelevant, then you are correct, we really don’t have any common ground.

I notice my fishes are dyeing off like flies  – I offer it up for the intention of Catholics who are not free to practice their faith, and for those peoples who are denied the opportunity to hear the true faith, because the Church is restricted by temporal powers from ministering to them  :pray:.

Reply
#65
"moneil" Wrote:I never said that in order for Catholics to have freedom there must be a right for all others to practice their other religions.  You cannot find that, some simply have jumped to that conclusion.  I realise that some believe DH teaches this, and that that is problematic, but I never stated that.  I have observed that in non-Catholic countries where they do allow freedom of religion, the Catholic Faith has been planted and has thrived (Pope Leo XIII observed this same phenomena, as noted below).  That would seem to this simple mind to be a preferred situation over having a non-Catholic country that is confessional (Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Islamic, Buddhist, whatever), or a government that is officially secular and antagonistic to religion, where restrictions, or even persecution, make it more difficult for the Catholic Faith to be planted and to thrive (though, of course, the true faith will still prevail under those conditions).  I’ve never said that a Catholic confessional state shouldn’t be the ideal, where it is possible.

moneil,

What bothers me about this entire discussion is that we ARE talking about what the Church teaches about religious liberty and NOT what a secular state does or does not do with respect to persecutions of various religions and groups. DH says the following:

Quote:2. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom 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.

The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.(2) This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

This promotes a civil government that is by definition indifferent. It effectively outlaws the Catholic confessional state. Based on your previous lengthy post I suspect you don't really accept with what DH actually says.

LS
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#66
(05-24-2009, 05:22 PM)moneil Wrote: I’ve never read Fr. Murray, nor Fr. Neuhaus. 

If you have read DH, you have read Fr. Murray.
Reply
#67
(05-24-2009, 05:22 PM)moneil Wrote: Maybe I’m slow, or blind, or just stupid, but I went back through all 4 pages of this thread, and I cannot find where the issue of how the Church should respond to countries where she and her faithful do not enjoy the liberty to preach and live the true faith,  other than this:
columba Wrote:I have addressed this point repeatedly since the beginning of this thread but you have not responded. Non-Catholics are not bound by Church teaching.

There are Church documents that address this topic more directly, but Immortale Dei – Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Christian Constitution of States 01 Nov 1885 is a good read.
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xi...ei_en.html , where His Holiness says: “Nevertheless, since truth when brought to light is wont, of its own nature, to spread itself far and wide, and gradually take possession of the minds of men, We, moved by the great and holy duty of Our apostolic mission to all nations, speak, as We are bound to do, with freedom. Our eyes are not closed to the spirit of the times. We repudiate not the assured and useful improvements of our age, but devoutly wish affairs of State to take a safer course than they are now taking, and to rest on a more firm foundation without injury to the true freedom of the people;”.

I have no “goal” other than to discuss how the Church insures her freedom to fulfill her divine mission in the non-Catholic or secular world.  I had already explicitly stated that I was not qualified to discern if or how DH “fits with the Church”, as it where.  All the sections I’ve quoted from that document were related to the Church’s divine right to fulfill her divine mission.  If you want to read more into my statements that what I have actually written, well, I don’t know what to say.

You previously responded to the inner quote from me here: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...sg33077147

I gave you a three-part answer here: http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/inde...sg33077171
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#68
Thank you all for your replies.  A few comments.

Columba, perhaps you gave the right answer to the wrong question, for which I would have responsibility for not forming the question properly.  Regarding ”Non-Catholics are not bound by Church teaching”, it is a function of on what level.  Obviously, non-Catholics are not bound by the Church’s disciplines on fasting, the Easter Duty, obligation to attend Mass, etc.  Likewise, Catholics do not keep Kosher kitchens, nor do they observe the Ramadan fast.  However, the Church, as the one representative of Jesus Christ on earth, has the moral authority to speak to the world, and the world, Catholic or not, has a moral obligation to hear, though they may not always heed.  Pope Leo XIII wrote in Immortale Dei of the Church’s role: ”…she who, by the order and commission of Jesus Christ, has the duty of teaching all nations…”.  Some precedents I’ve thought of are when Moses spoke to the Egyptian Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites.  Likewise, the Old Testament has many examples of the prophets reproaching various pagan rulers over their treatment of the Israelites.  I recently read a piece by the early Church Father Tertullian, in a different tone, addressing the pagan Roman Emperor on the value of the Christian community to the empire, and how it would be to the empire’s advantage to give the Christians liberty.  In other words, the Church doesn’t just preach to the choir, as the saying goes.  There are many examples across the centuries of the Church stating its mind on an issue, by divine authority, and these aren’t always directed just to the faithful.

moneil Wrote:The Church was laying out how things should be (The Church should have freedom).  There is no illusion that all governments will respond, but the truth stands, and the Church has a duty to state the truth in light of today’s circumstances.
columba Wrote:The truth is that everybody has freedom and equal rights to the speak the Truth and that nobody has rights to propound error (even if it is sometimes allowed inside mosques or synagogues for the sake of peace). That is the constant teaching of the Church. .

I was speaking to the pragmatic reality in many parts of the world, where in fact the Church does not have the freedom, nor the equal right, to speak the truth.  I’ve always had the impression, given that VII was a pastoral rather than a dogmatic council, that DH is addressed to the topic of the Church, and the faithful, and the non-Catholic wishing to come into communion with the true faith, having the freedom to do so, where such does not exist, or where such freedom is subdued, or where, while it may exist in a form at the moment, it does not enjoy constitutional or cultural protection, and thereby is subject to be revoked on a whim.  And, that it is written in a manner designed to resonate with the modern mind, yet be faithful to the doctrines of the Church. 

So, I’ve figured out that many traditional Catholics would consider the second part of the above sentence to be objectionable.  As I’ve watched the various threads on this topic over the past year and a half, I could never figure out why the Church having the freedom to fulfill its divine mission is a problem (yeah, I didn’t read all the fine print).  Many popes, especially Leo XIII, have spoken to the right and need of the Church to not be encumbered nor encroached upon by civil authority.  Likewise, the Church frequently spoke to the plight of persecuted Catholics around the world, and the lives of those martyred for the faith by oppressive civil powers were always in our consciousness.  In this particular thread, I’m seeing the issue some people are having, as to DH defining a right of free religious expression for all, based on man’s dignity.  I’ll leave it to the magisterial authority of the Church to ultimately define that (though I suppose most have discerned that I’m inclined to think that DH can be reconciled with Tradition, but always I’ll defer to the Church on the matter, when She speaks).

lamentabili Wrote:What bothers me about this entire discussion is that we ARE talking about what the Church teaches about religious liberty and NOT what a secular state does or does not do with respect to persecutions of various religions and groups.

I am undoubtably guilty of having done a “thread shift” – but what I’m concerned about is exactly what secular or non-Catholic confessional states do with respect to persecution of religion, especially the Catholic religion.  I think that is the real issue the council fathers were addressing with DH, not doing some “paradigm shift” regarding freedom of conscience.  But, the “paradigm shift” is what many (both “left” and “right”) think they did do.  So, what I had been trying to get at, in my at times inarticulate manner, is, in our current world situation, how would the issue of the Church’s liberty to fulfill its divine mission be addressed “from tradition”, yet in a manner understandable to the present day consciousness, because it is still a vital and valid issue.  And, having just celebrated the Feast of the Ascension last Thursday, we are all cognizant of the fact that the Great Commission is still binding.

Perhaps that is a good topic for a new thread

Underdog Wrote:
(05-24-2009, 05:22 PM)moneil Wrote: I’ve never read Fr. Murray, nor Fr. Neuhaus. 

If you have read DH, you have read Fr. Murray.

Ha ha, I may have to read him someday, just to see what all the fuss is about.

Thanks again everybody for the input.

Mike
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#69
You're a real gentleman, Mike. I think further you must consider what a "right" actually is and how it is traditionally defined.

"McHugh and Callan, Moral Theology, vol. I. pp. 97,98." Wrote:292. Since rights and duties are correlative—there being a duty that corresponds to every right, and vice versa—and since both are regulated by law, the principles given for the apparent collision of laws can be applied to the apparent collision of rights.

(a) Rights of a higher kind have preference over rights of a lower kind. Therefore, the rights that arise from birth itself, or from the fact that one is a human being (e.g., the right to life), are superior to the rights that are acquired through some condition, such as inheritance or contract (e.g., the right to property, etc.). Example: Titus must get his child, who is in danger of death, to a hospital without delay. Balbus is getting ready for a pleasure ride, but Titus takes his car since there is no other ready means of getting to the hospital. Titus acts within his natural rights, if the car is returned safely and as soon as possible to the owner. According to civil law his act would be technical larceny, but in view of the necessity courts and juries would certainly not insist on the letter of the law.

(b) Inalienable rights (i.e., those which one may not renounce, because they are also duties), such as the right to serve God, the right to live, etc., are superior to alienable rights (i.e., those which one may renounce), such as the right to marry, the right to own property, etc. Example: One may surrender the right to drink intoxicants in order to serve God or preserve one’s life.



"Right" as a generic concept is not defined anywhere, but it is sufficiently clear from the foregoing. Rights are correlatives of duties, and may be defined as the moral power to do, possess, or require of another, those things which duty makes necessary.

The problem is that if Vatican II (DH) meant anything comprehensible at all, it taught that a man has a natural right not to be interfered with in the exercise of whatever religion he chooses, within certain undefined limits. Now, if this is understood according to traditional terminology, it means that the state would offend against justice if it prohibited a man from practicing a false religion, unless that practice of a false religion also offended against some additional law (e.g. it disturbed the public peace in some way).

Consider that carefully - it is the assertion that the practice of a false religion is, in itself, something which may arise from the duties of man. But that is absurd and has been repeatedly condemned by popes and theologians. Again, here’s Pius XII, Ci Riesce: "Above all, it must be clearly stated that no human authority, no state, no community of states, whatever be their religious character, can give a positive command or positive authorisation to teach or to do that which would be contrary to religious truth or moral good. Such a command or such an authorization would have no obligatory power and would remain without effect. No authority may give such a command, because it is contrary to nature to oblige the spirit and the will of man to error and evil, or to consider one or the other as indifferent. Not even God could give such a positive command or positive authorisation, because it would be in contradiction to His absolute truth and sanctity."

And he repeats the oft-repeated saw, "that which does not correspond to truth or to the norm of morality objectively has no right to exist, to be spread or to be activated."

Error, particularly in religious matters, is evil. Therefore it has no right to exist. It can, however, be tolerated for a greater good: "failure to impede this with civil laws and coercive measures can nevertheless be justified in the interests of a higher and more general good."

The key is to define "right" as it has always been understood by Catholic philosophers and theologians - as a correlative of "duty." It is this which makes completely clear that the doctrine of Dignitatis Humanae is unacceptable and contrary to tradition and even to common sense.

Our opponents resort to a sophism (not intentional, I hope) to disguise this. They essentially assert that the "right" mentioned in Dignitatis Humanae is merely the right not to be interfered with by the state in the pursuit of the true religion, which necessarily implies that the state must grant more leeway than would be granted merely by protecting true worship, because a man needs some measure of liberty within which to discover the truth. This is clever, but it won't reconcile with the absolute principles laid down by traditional morality, and repeated by Pius XII in Ci Riesce:

"Ci Riesce" Wrote:]Thus the two principles are clarified to which recourse must be had in concrete cases for the answer to the serious question concerning the attitude which the jurist, the statesman and the sovereign Catholic state is to adopt in consideration of the community of nations in regard to a formula of religious and moral toleration as described above. First: that which does not correspond to truth or to the norm of morality objectively has no right to exist, to be spread or to be activated. Secondly: failure to impede this with civil laws and coercive measures can nevertheless be justified in the interests of a higher and more general good.

However one interprets Dignitatis Humanae, it doesn't say that.
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