I am posting this for information/discussion purposes. I disagree strongly with the spin given to Dignitatis Humanae (Bishop Williamson omits to mention the document’s reference to “due limits” for religious liberty) and Bishop Fellay’s remarks in his recent CNS interview.
Entire books have been written on the subject of religious liberty as taught by Vatican II in its Declaration of 1965, Dignitatis Humanae. Yet the Revolutionary teaching of that document is clear =: given the natural dignity of every individual human being, no State or social group or any human power may coerce or force any man or group of men to act, in private or in public, against their own religious beliefs, so long as public order is observed (D.H.#2).
On the contrary the Catholic Church always taught up until Vatican II that every State as such has the right and even duty to coerce its citizens from practising in public any of their false religions, i.e. all non-Catholic religions, so long as such coercion is helpful and not harmful to the salvation of souls. (For instance in 2012 freedom is so widely worshipped that any such coercion would scandalize the citizens of nearly all States and make them scorn, not appreciate, the Catholic religion. In that case, as the Church always used to teach, the State may abstain from using its right to coerce false religions.)
Now the precise point on which these two doctrines contradict one another may seem quite limited – whether or not a State may coerce the public practice of false religions – but the implications are enormous : is God the Lord or the servant of men? For if on the one hand man is a creature of God, and if he is social by nature (as is obvious from men’s naturally coming together in all kinds of associations, notably the State), then society and the State are also creatures of God, and they owe it to him to serve him and his one true religion by coercing false religions at any rate in the public domain (which is the State’s business), so long as that will help rather than hinder the salvation of souls.
On the other hand if human freedom is of such value that every individual must be left free to corrupt his fellow citizens by the public practice and proselytizing of any false religion he chooses (unless public order be disturbed), then false religions must be left free to flourish in the public domain (e.g. Protestant sects in Latin America today). So the difference between false religions and the one true religion is less important than human dignity. So the true religion is not so important. So the worth of God compared with the worth of man is not so important. Thus Vatican II down-grades God as it up-grades man. Ultimately Vatican II is replacing the religion of God with the religion of man. No wonder Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of St Pius X to uphold the transcendent dignity and worth of God, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in a world and Church gone mad, drunk on man’s dignity.
But now comes a religious leader who pronounced in public earlier this month: “Many people have an understanding of the Council, which is a wrong understanding.” Religious liberty, he said, “is used in so many ways. And looking closer, I really have the impression that not many know what really the Council says about it. The Council is presenting a religious liberty that is a very, very limited one: very limited!” Asked whether Vatican II itself, i.e. as a whole, belongs to Catholic Tradition, he replied, “I would hope so”.
See for yourselves the interview, given in English and accessible on YouTube under the title, “Traditionalist leader talks about his movement, Rome”. Can anybody be surprised if “his movement” is currently going through the gravest crisis of its 42 years of existence?
© 2012 Richard N. Williamson. All Rights Reserved.
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