Declaration on Religious Liberty

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Presentation given by Mrs Mary Cullen in St Peter's Partick on 6th November 2012

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Declaration on Religious Liberty

  1. 1. Declaration on religious liberty 7 December 1965
  2. 2. (1) The long 19th century
  3. 3. Response to social upheaval“If anyone thinks that… the Roman Pontiffcan and should reconcile and harmonisehimself with progress, with liberalism andwith recent civilisation… let him beanathema”Syllabus of Errors
  4. 4. A perfect society1870 Papal infallibility Vatican I1925 Feast of Christ the King Pius XI1961 Mater et Magistra John XXIII
  5. 5. Error has no rights• If the majority are Catholic, state has duty to profess the Catholic faith• Citizens professing other religions do not have the right not to be prevented from professing them; but may be tolerated• When Catholics a minority, state must guarantee them freedom
  6. 6. Changing world: the challenge of peace
  7. 7. (2) Pacem in Terris• Different vision: establish human order in time• Dignity of the human person• “..the right of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of one’s conscience and to profess one’s religion in private and public” (n 14)• UN Declaration of Human Rights: “goal to be sought by all peoples and nations”• From opposition to engagement
  8. 8. (3) The American experience
  9. 9. American Freedom and Catholic Power
  10. 10. JFKIf my church attempted to influence me in a waywhich was improper or which adversely affected myresponsibilities as a public servant sworn to upholdthe Constitution, then I would reply to them thatthis was an improper action on their part. It wasone to which I would not subscribe. Press conference Houston, Texas, 12 Sept 1960We do not want an official state church. If 99% ofthe population were Catholics, I would still beopposed to it… CBS-TV, Face the Nation, 30 Oct 1960
  11. 11. Development of the Declaration• Schema on the church• Decree on Ecumenism• Independent documentKey arguments against:• Concept of religious liberty• Opened door to modernism and liberalismAuthors Pavan and Murray
  12. 12. Opening words“People nowadays are becoming increasinglyconscious of the dignity of the human person; agrowing number demand that they should exercisefully their own judgement and a responsiblefreedom in their actions and should not be subjectto external pressure or coercion but inspired by asense of duty…This Vatican Council pays attentionto these spiritual aspirations and, with a view todeclaring to what extent they are in accord withtruth and justice, searches the sacred tradition andteaching of the church, from which it draws newinsights in harmony with the old.”
  13. 13. Article two• Every person has a right to religious freedom• Concerns the relationship between people• Right to freedom from coercion• Right founded on the dignity of the human person• To be recognised as a civil right in constitutional law
  14. 14. Article 6“If because of the circumstances of aparticular people, special civil recognition isgiven to one religious community in theconstitutional organisation of a state, theright of all citizens and religiouscommunities to religious freedom must berecognised and respected by all”
  15. 15. Articles 7-11• Criteria: the common good and public order• Education: freedom can become the pursuit of self interest• Revelation: does not formally affirm religious liberty but deeply rooted in it“Christ, who is our Master and Lord and at the sametime is meek and humble of heart, acted patiently inattracting and inviting his disciples,,, He borewitness to the truth but refused to use force toimpose it…” (n11)
  16. 16. Articles 12-15Development of doctrine:• Church not always acted in this spirit• Democratic constitutional state• “The leaven of the Gospel has long been at work..”Freedom to accomplish missionMake disciples of all nations
  17. 17. UN visit 4 October 1965“You proclaim here the rights andfundamental duties of human beings -their dignity, their liberty, and aboveall their religious liberty.”Paul VIFinal vote: 2,384 - 70
  18. 18. End of Christendom“The church… does not rest its hopes onprivileges offered to it by civil authorities;indeed it will even give up the exercise ofcertain legitimately acquired rights insituations where their use calls intoquestion the sincerity of its witness orwhere new circumstances require adifferent arrangement”. (GeS 76)
  19. 19. New toneYours is a land of ancient cultures, thecradle of great religions, the home of anation that has sought God with arelentless desire in deep meditationand silence, and hymns of ferventprayer.Paul VI on visit to India 1964
  20. 20. Questions• The church in the public square: dialogue Issue of “Catholic” Europe and Scotland today• Acceptance of the secular state Are we tempted to retreat?• Pluralism: issues of discernment and interpretation Whose voices?

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