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Dignitatis humanae(Of the Dignity of the Human Person) is the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom. In the context of the council's stated intention "to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society", Dignitatis humanae spells out the church's support for the protection of religious liberty. It set the ground rules by which the church would relate to secular states.
The passage of this measure by a vote of 2,308 to 70 is considered by many to be one of the most significant events of the council.This declaration was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965.
Dignitatis humanae became one of the key points of dispute between the Vatican and traditionalists such as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who argued that the council document was incompatible with previous authoritatively stated Catholic teaching.
Historically, the ideal of Catholic political organization was a tightly interwoven structure of the Catholic Church and secular rulers generally known as Christendom, with the Catholic Church having a favoured place in the political structure.In 1520, Pope Leo X in the papal bull Exsurge Domine had condemned the proposition "That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit" as one of a number of errors that were "destructive, pernicious, scandalous, and seductive to pious and simple minds".
This ideal was challenged by the Protestant Reformation, the rise of nation-states and the Enlightenment. The French Revolution, the failed radical Revolutions of 1848 and the loss of the Papal States traumatized many Catholic leaders, who held on to traditional ideas of relations with the secular powers.
Pope Pius IX had condemned the idea of abstract religious freedom. Pope Leo XIII, who had established working relationships with both the French and German secular statesmen, issued the bull Testem benevolentiae nostrae against the Americanist heresy, alleged by some to be a specifically European problem wherein the attempt was made to apply democratic concepts and American models of church–state relations to Catholic Church governance in Europe.
The result was that as of the mid-20th century, an example of Catholic church–state relations was the Catholic situation in Spain (nacionalcatolicismo), where the Catholic Church:
It had long been the policy of the Catholic Church to support toleration of competing religions under such a scheme, but to support legal restrictions on attempts to convert Catholics to those religions.
The Spanish approach to church–state relations was problematic for many American Catholics. By the mid-20th century, the Catholic Church in the United States had managed to overcome much of the deeply held anti-Catholic belief that marked the nativist movements of the 19th century, partly fuelled by concerns about church–state separation. The prohibition of the establishment of a state church, required by the Bill of Rights, had allowed the construction of an extensive network of Catholic educational, health-care and social service institutions. But some, following the view of the influential priest and economist John A. Ryan, believed that established Catholic teachings conflicted with the American experience of religious freedom, holding that if Catholics ever became the majority group, they would be bound to enact, if possible, the kind of church–state relationship that existed in countries such as Spain.[ citation needed ] The arrangements in the United States were permissible only as long as the other model was not politically feasible.[ citation needed ]
By the early 1940s, however, the Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray perceived that the most important coming challenge was secularism, a challenge that could best be confronted by many faith communities working together. The American view of separate church and state led to understandable mistrust of the motives of a quickly growing American Catholic community. Murray began to develop a view based on the American experience, where a government limited by law protects the liberty of all religious communities equally, while the church pursues its aims by exercising its influence in society in general, without relying on government intervention to enforce the church's beliefs. This view was developed in a series of articles in such Catholic journals as America, while Joseph Fenton,as editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review, defended the traditional view and asserted that Murray's views contradicted essential Catholic teachings. In 1954 Murray's ideas were censored by the Secretary of the Holy Office and he ceased publishing works on this specific topic until his vindication by Vatican II.
The initial conflict was regarding just what model of religious freedom was to be put before the council, with the traditionalists calling for religious tolerance but claiming that an abstract right to religious liberty was relativistic. [ citation needed ] and the Theological Commission (led by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani)[ citation needed ] introduced revised drafts of statements to the Central Commission. Pope John XXIII in July appointed an ad hoc joint committee to resolve differences and Bea's "Unity" submitted a revised draft. Negotiations between the various commissions broke down after this point.[ citation needed ]Before the council both the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity led by Cardinal Augustin Bea
The first session concentrated mainly on liturgy and on the nature of the church. A declaration on religious freedom, largely drawn from the "Unity" draft, was made part (chapter V) of the schema on Ecumenism; the bishops did not have time to get to it. On January 13, after the close of the first session, Bea indicated at a talk at Pro Deo University in Rome that he intended to prepare a constitution on human freedom for the next session, to make sure the issue would not go away.
On June 3, 1963, Pope John XXIII died in Rome. Pope Paul VI was elected on June 21 and immediately indicated that the council would continue.
John Courtney Murray was called to the council in April 1963 at the request of Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York (who was otherwise a theological conservative) to be a peritus , despite Ottaviani's well-known animosity towards him. Much of the material used by various bishops, especially American bishops, on the subject was drafted by Murray. Conflict over a possible declaration on religious liberty continued during this session, with the current draft taken off the agenda at one point during the fall, then placed back on it in response to pressure from the American bishops.
A key point in the process came on Monday, November 11 and Tuesday, November 12, when the generally conservative Theological Commission met to determine if the draft on religious freedom was to be submitted to the council in some form. Both Murray and Fenton were in attendance and Murray was one of the speakers on the subject. Some authors such as Xavier Rynne have reported that the conservative members of the commission attempted to delay the vote on the 12th, but were forced to it by the rest of the members. The vote was 18–5 in favor of reporting the text to the council for consideration. After this point, the conflict moved from arguing over the content of the proposed declaration, to fighting over whether it would be voted on before the council concluded.
The schema on ecumenism, with chapter V concerning religious freedom, was formally introduced and discussed but not voted on, again due to lack of time. American bishops helped successfully press for papal assurances that chapter V would get a council vote, perhaps as a separate document. During this entire time, pressure continued on Murray, with Apostolic Delegate to the US Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi attempting to silence him. Spellman, along with Murray's Jesuit superiors, continued to shield him from most attempts at Curial interference.
The debate on a separate Declaration on Religious Liberty was held on September 23 – September 25, as promised by Pope Paul the year before. However, in October an attempt was made by the Curial party to return this declaration to review by a special commission, which contained many hostile members and was outside the jurisdiction of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Protest by bishops to Pope Paul resulted in the declaration staying under Unity with a different working commission which reviewed and amended it. This Declaration on Religious Liberty was approved by Theological Commission on November 9.
The showdown on the declaration is often called Black Thursday (Thursday, November 19), though Murray preferred the term "Day of Wrath". The text of the declaration was handed out on Tuesday, November 17 with an announcement that the usual preliminary vote with modifications would be taken on Thursday. The third session overall was slated to close on Saturday November 21. That text had been extensively revised, and in Murray's opinion weakened. The majority of council fathers wanted a vote before the end of the session to approve desired modifications to the text and to reassure observers that the council would indeed approve such a declaration at all. Curial conservatives quietly organized a group of 200 mostly Italian and Spanish bishops to ask for further delay in order to further study the document. This request was introduced suddenly on Thursday and quickly approved by one of the four council Presidents. The resulting furor was reported by many to be the worst during the four years of the council. A handwritten appeal, reportedly signed by as many as 1000 bishops, was made to the pope to allow some kind of vote during third session. Pope Paul, however, ruled that the decision was proper under Council rules and that he could not interfere with it. He did promise publicly that the declaration would be considered at the next session, if possible before any other issue.
Murray had suffered heart attacks in both January and December 1964, so he did not take a major role in the fourth session. The final debate was held as the first item of business September 15 – 21, with many prelates speaking. Many issues were raised but it was clear that the declaration's statement of development of church doctrine was a key issue. Members of the council leadership attempted one last time to have the declaration returned again to committee without a vote on September 20, in the apparent hope that time would run out on the council. It was argued that support for the current version of the text was uncertain. That evening, according to some accounts, Pope Paul personally confronted the council leadership and insisted that the declaration be brought to a preliminary vote, where it was overwhelmingly approved 1997 to 224.
This re-revised text was approved by the council on October 25, with only minor amendments allowed afterward (including some disliked by Murray). The final vote was taken and the declaration was promulgated at the end of council on December 7, 1965. The claim by some that this overwhelming majority was due to intense lobbying by the reformist wing of Council Fathers among those prelates who initially had reservations or even objections,however, is not accepted by all.
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|Separation of church and state in the history of the Catholic Church|
All persons have a right to religious liberty, a right with its foundation in the essential dignity of each human being. All persons must be free to seek the truth without coercion, but are also morally obligated to embrace the truth of the Catholic faith once they recognize it. The highest norm of human life is the divine law and truth, but it can only be sought after in the proper and free manner, with the aid of teaching or instruction, communication and dialogue, and it must be adhered to by personal assent. This freedom from coercion in religious affairs must also be recognized as a right when persons act in community. As such a community, and in fact a society in its own original right, has the right to live its own domestic religious life in freedom, in particular the freedom to choose religious education.
The declaration has its foundation in the dignity of the person as understood through human reason, having its roots in divine revelation. Therefore, Christians are called to an even more conscientious respect for religious freedom. Man's response to God in faith must be free – no person is to be forced to embrace Christianity. This is a major tenet of the Catholic faith, contained in Scripture and proclaimed by the Fathers. Religious freedom contributes to the environment where such free response is possible. God's own call to serve him binds persons in conscience but is not compulsion. God has regard for the dignity of all human beings as shown in the actions of Christ himself. Jesus did acknowledge the legitimacy of governments, but refused to impose his teachings by force. The Apostles followed His word and example. The church is therefore following Christ and the Apostles when it recognized the principle of religious freedom, based both on the dignity of human persons and divine revelation. The church itself does require a full measure of freedom, a sacred freedom, to carry out its mission.
Murray wrote the initial commentaries on Dignitatis humanae, and perhaps made the first translations into English, which remain influential in how the declaration is perceived. As a result of the council process of amendment and compromise there were differences between Murray's own working out of the issue, which is more detailed and is considered by some more "political", and the final declaration.[ citation needed ]
Dignitatis humanae was quickly recognized as one of the foundations of the relations of the church to the world, and was particularly helpful in relationships with other faith communities: it was a key part of establishing the church's credibility in ecumenical actions. Soon after the end of the council, theologians tended to split into two general groups, with a more conservative party stressing a return to the patristic and scriptural sources ( ressourcement ) and a close and literal reading of the conciliar documents in contrast with another party stressing to some extent the continuation of aggiornamento and certain amount of extrapolation from the documents. This split remains to this day, and is a key division on Dignitatis humanae. Some commentators still continue to try to show that the document is fully consistent with the 19th-century papal statements on these issues.
The text almost immediately became a lightning rod for conservative attacks. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre cited this document as one of the fundamental reasons for his difficulties with the Second Vatican Council. It remains a focus for such attacks to this day. as of April 2017 [update] a key point of difference between the two.The Vatican's position that the SSPX must acknowledge Dignitatis humanae and Nostra aetate as authoritative remained
The key issue was not religious freedom itself: almost all parties in the various arguments supported some kind of religious tolerance. The dispute was over the traditional understanding of the relationship of the Catholic Church to secular states and how it supported relations with "confessional" states such as Spain and Italy. The declaration presented a view that fully supported the model of the church in the United States and the United Kingdom, while allowing for confessional states, and stated that it was based on development of doctrine from recent popes. Doctrinal development went from being somewhat suspect to a bedrock theological concept with Vatican II.
The Society of St. Pius X criticized how Dignitatis humanae approached religious freedom with an argument from history:
The saints have never hesitated to break idols, destroy their temples, or legislate against pagan or heretical practices. The Church – without ever forcing anyone to believe or be baptized – has always recognized its right and duty to protect the faith of her children and to impede, whenever possible, the public exercise and propagation of false cults. To accept the teaching of Vatican II is to grant that, for two millennia, the popes, saints, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, bishops, and Catholic kings have constantly violated the natural rights of men without anyone in the Church noticing. Such a thesis is as absurd as it is impious.
On the contradictions some see between Dignitatis humanae and Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors ,Brian Mullady has argued that:
the religious freedom condemned in the Syllabus of Errors refers to religious freedom looked at from the point of view of the action of the intellect, or freedom respecting the truth; whereas the freedom of religion guaranteed and encouraged by Dignitatis humanae refers to religious freedom looked at from the point of view of the action of the will in morals. In other words, those who see in these different expressions a change in teaching are committing the fallacy of univocity of terms in logic. The terms "freedom" refer to two very different acts of the soul.
On 21 March 2019, Pope Francis approved the publication of a document produced by the International Theological Commission called "Religious freedom for the good of all: Theological approach to contemporary challenges". It attempts to update Dignitatis humanae in the light of the increasing diversity and secularization seen since the Council: "the cultural complexity of today's civil order".
Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council, which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements.
The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The Council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.
Christus Dominus is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops. It was approved by a vote of 2,319 to 2 of the assembled bishops and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 28 October 1965. The title in Latin means "Christ the Lord" and is from the first line of the decree, as is customary for Roman Catholic documents. Christus Dominus calls for strong episcopal conferences of bishops, to set the standard for the church in their region, while fully supporting the Vatican and the Pope.
Nostra aetate is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on 28 October 1965 by Pope Paul VI. It is the shortest of the 16 final documents of the Council and "the first in Catholic history to focus on the relationship that Catholics have with Jews." Nostra aetate similarly is considered a monumental declaration in describing the Church's positive relationship with Muslims. It "reveres the work of God in all the major faith traditions." It begins by stating its purpose of reflecting on what humankind have in common in these times when people are being drawn closer together.
Marcel François Marie Joseph Lefebvre was a French Roman Catholic archbishop. In 1970, he founded the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) as a small community of seminarians in the village of Écône, Switzerland, with the permission of Bishop François Charrière of Fribourg. In 1975, after a flare of tensions with the Holy See, Lefebvre was ordered to disband the society, but ignored the decision. In 1988, against the expressed prohibition of Pope John Paul II, he consecrated four bishops to continue his work with the SSPX. The Holy See immediately declared that he and the other bishops who had participated in the ceremony had incurred automatic excommunication under Catholic canon law, a status Lefebvre refused to acknowledge to his death three years later.
In politics, integralism or integrism is the principle that the Catholic faith should be the basis of public law and public policy within civil society, wherever the preponderance of Catholics within that society makes this possible. Integralists uphold the 1864 definition of Pope Pius IX in Quanta cura that the religious neutrality of the civil power cannot be embraced as an ideal and the doctrine of Leo XIII in Immortale Dei on the religious obligations of states. In December 1965, the Second Vatican Council approved and Pope Paul VI promulgated the document Dignitatis humanae–the Council's "Declaration on Religious Freedom"–which states that it "leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ" while simultaneously declaring "that the human person has a right to religious freedom," a move that some traditionalists such as Society of St. Pius X-founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre have argued is in contradiction to previous doctrinal pronouncements. Integralists therefore do not accept the Second Vatican Council's perceived repudiation of civilly established Catholicism.
Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs and practices comprising customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private, individual and collective devotions, and presentations of Catholic Church teachings that were in vogue in the decades that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated in particular with attachment to the 1570–1970 form of the Roman Rite Mass, which traditionalist Catholics call "the Latin Mass", "the traditional Mass, the ancient Mass, "the immemorial Latin Mass", "the Mass of All Time", "the Mass of the ages" or the Mass of the Apostles", "the Traditional Latin Mass", or "the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite".
The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."
John Courtney Murray, was an American Jesuit priest and theologian, who was especially known for his efforts to reconcile Catholicism and religious pluralism, particularly focusing on the relationship between religious freedom and the institutions of a democratically structured modern state.
Ecclesia Dei is the document Pope John Paul II issued on 2 July 1988 in reaction to the Ecône Consecrations, despite an express prohibition by the Holy See. It said that the two consecrating bishops and the four priests they consecrated were excommunicated. John Paul called for unity and established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to foster a dialog with those associated with the consecrations who hoped to maintain both loyalty to the papacy and their attachment to traditional liturgical forms.
Pacem in terris was a papal encyclical issued by Pope John XXIII on 11 April 1963 on the rights and obligations of individuals and of the state, as well as the proper relations between states. It emphasized human dignity and equality among all people, and made mention of issues such as the rights of women, nuclear non-proliferation, and the United Nations, all of which it endorsed. It was the last encyclical drafted by John XXIII, who had been diagnosed with cancer in September 1962 and died two months after the encyclical's completion. Biographer Peter Hebblethwaite called it Pope John's "last will and testament". Published on Holy Thursday, the Pope called it his "Easter gift".
Brian W. Harrison OS is an Australian-born Roman Catholic priest and theologian. Harrison is a prolific writer on religious issues and an emeritus professor of theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico (1989–2007). He speaks Spanish fluently. Harrison is also an associate editor of "Living Tradition", a publication of the Roman Theological Forum hosted by the Oblates of Wisdom in St Louis, Missouri, United States, where Harrison currently lives at the order's study center. The forum's website contains many articles by Harrison, including one of the very few serious theological analyses carried out so far regarding biblical and Catholic teaching on torture and corporal punishment.
The Winnipeg Statement is the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on the papal encyclical Humanae vitae from a plenary assembly held at Saint Boniface in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Published on September 27, 1968, it is the Canadian bishops' controversial document about Pope Paul VI's July 1968 encyclical on human life and the regulation of birth.
The Catholic Church has engaged in the modern ecumenical movement especially since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the issuing of the decree Unitatis redintegratio and the declaration Dignitatis humanae. It was at the Council that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was created. Before that time, those outside of the Catholic Church were categorised as heretics or schismatics.
Charles Garrett Maloney served as the auxiliary bishop of Louisville and titular bishop of Bardstown, Kentucky.
Kurt Koch is a Swiss prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been a cardinal since November 2010 and President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 1 July 2010. He was the bishop of Basel from 1996 until 2010.
Catholic ecumenical councils include 21 councils over a period of some 1900 years. While definitions changed throughout history, in today's Catholic understanding ecumenical councils are assemblies of patriarchs, cardinals, residing bishops, abbots, male heads of religious orders and other juridical persons, nominated by the pope. The purpose of an ecumenical council is to define doctrine, reaffirm truths of the Faith, and extirpate heresy. Council decisions, to be valid, are approved by the popes. Participation is limited to these persons, who cannot delegate their voting rights.
The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church was established by the Holy See and 14 autocephalous Orthodox churches.
The Pontifical Commission on Birth Control was a committee within the Roman Curia tasked with analyzing the modern impact of birth control on the Roman Catholic Church. The disagreements within the commission ultimately led to the publication of the encyclical Humanae vitae.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) is a pontifical council whose origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962 to 1965.
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