Religious Liberty
#1
One of the most controversial aspects of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council was its pronouncements about religious liberty. I don't get exactly what the problem is, or what the traditional teachings are supposed to be, as I'm still very much a newcomer and I've got reading lists piled up everywhere on just about all subjects.

As there's a lot of garbage on "trad" websites out on the internet, I decided to ask here.

Are we talking about world where we can arrest atheists for being atheists?
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#2
It's more than we can arrest them for publicly professing and propagating their beliefs, and that we can in general make laws on the basis of the faith (as opposed to making laws in accordance with the faith but justified a different way.

The idea of religious liberty works from an agnostic point of view: "We don't know which religion is the true one, so allow them all and put them all on equal footing." We, however, are not agnostics; we know what the true faith is, so the only question for us is how to make laws that are in accordance with the faith.
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#3
The controversy is whether the state has a coercive power in religious matters, and if so, what that power is derived from, and what is its extent.  From what I've seen, both proponents and opponents of DH agrees that man must come to the faith freely--he can't be coerced into it. Likewise, everyone agrees there are two spheres, the temporal and the spiritual each governed by its respective power, the state and the Church.  Everyone also agrees the Church can exercise coercive authority over the baptized.  But what about the state's coercive authority?

The divergence, from what I can tell, is that the opponents of DH give the state an absolute coercive power in suppressing any and all false religious activities at any time and circumstances simply by virtue of it being false whereas its proponents do not. 

The Church teaches that the state exists for the common good (which includes man's spiritual well being).  Therefore, its power to suppress false religious activity is a derivative of its authority over the common good.  As such, it can--and only can--suppress false religious activity if this activity is harmful to the common good. 

The Church teaches there is a balance between man's right to be free from civil coercion in his search for and embracing of the truth and the state's right to suppress false religious activity for the sake of the common good.  What limits are ultimately placed on false religious activity is therefore highly contingent on the circumstances and subject to political prudence.  The variation in praxis in this regard in times and places over history is a testament to this.

DH looks at the question from the perspective of the individual human person and therefore starts from the point of the principle of man's binding duty to God to search for and accept the truth and the principle that he cannot be coerced in his choice to carry out.  it gives the state the authority to limit this when it is harmful to the just order of society. It is also primarily concerned with more diverse contemporary societies, as well as absolute communist suppression of all religious activity.  In the 19th century, the Church was mostly concerned with religious indifferentism being put forth to justify unlimited or nearly unlimited proliferation of errors for the purpose of dissolving the existing religious unity of nations, as if such religious unity were itself harmful to the common good or as if such freedom were of a higher priority than the common good.  Such freedom was roundly condemned.  This is why you have the appearance of the Church condemning religious liberty and then affirming it.

In truth, it condemns some forms, but affirms others in a complementary fashion. The primary means of eradicating religious error is that given by Our Lord--the preaching of the Gospel and the example of a good and holy life.

(I don't have time now to go through all the various particular pronouncements, but I'm sure they'll be posted at some point in this thread and I'll try and address them as they come up).
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#4
(01-13-2015, 04:53 PM)Leonhard Wrote: One of the most controversial aspects of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council was its pronouncements about religious liberty. I don't get exactly what the problem is, or what the traditional teachings are supposed to be, as I'm still very much a newcomer and I've got reading lists piled up everywhere on just about all subjects.

As there's a lot of garbage on "trad" websites out on the internet, I decided to ask here.

Are we talking about world where we can arrest atheists for being atheists?

The Traditional Teaching of the Church, is stated in Bl. Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors:

Quote:15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.—Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

In more detail it is stated in Mortalium Animos & Satis Cognitum
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#5
But those don't deal with the issue of state coercion.  They deal with man's duty to God to seek out and embrace the truth with faith.  The allocution in the Syllabus you cited is directed against the rationalists who made religion a matter of reason only, denying the obligation of faith. DH also asserts this obligation.

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