Archive for May, 2021

An old 2012 First Things article by Thomas Pink is making a second round among some recognize and resist folks, like my younger anything but sedevacantism brother. [1] Apparently, they’re waking up to their error of resisting (rejecting) magisterial documents. Therefore, they’re taking another look to see if the documents of Vatican 2 can really be interpreted with the “hermeneutic of continuity.” After all, if an ecumenical council ratified by a pope can be heretical, what’s the foundation to believe anything outside of dogmatic definitions? Perhaps, some recognize and resist folks realize they can’t really be recognizing and resisting as they are.

Their first obstacle to overcome is the religious liberty issue from Vatican 2’s Dignitatis Humanae. They turn to Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London, Thomas Pink who spins the Vatican 2 document to make it mean exactly opposite to what it says.

He begins by giving examples from Popes Gregory XVI and Leo XIII and said they, “taught that the state should not only recognize Catholic Christianity as the true religion, but should use its coercive power to restrict the public practice of, and proselytization by, false religions—including Protestantism. Yet in its declaration on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council declared that the state should not use coercion to restrict religion—not even on behalf of the true faith. Such coercion would be a violation of people’s right to religious liberty.”

Professor Pink explains: The declaration is not a statement about religious liberty in general but about a specifically civil liberty: religious liberty in relation to the state and other civil institutions. It does not oppose religious coercion in general, but coercion by the state. The state is forbidden to coerce in matters of religion, not because such coercion is illicit for any authority whatsoever, but because such coercion lies beyond the state’s particular competence.”

Pink encapsulates his point: We can now see how Dignitatis Humanae does not change doctrine after all. Religious coercion by the state is now morally wrong, and a violation of people’s rights, not because religious coercion by any authority is wrong, but because the Church no longer authorizes it. The Church is now refusing to license the state to act as her coercive agent, and it is from that policy change, and not from any change in underlying doctrine, that the wrongfulness of religious coercion by the state follows.”

First of all, Popes Gregory and Leo condemned freedom to error in religion publicly declaring that it is not a right given by nature of man. [2] This is the key issue, a person’s God-given right by his nature as a human person. Not even the Church can violate a God-given right by nature of man. Professor Pink is saying something entirely different than Vatican 2. Pink makes Vatican 2 out to be merely changing policy on civil matters when, in fact, Vatican 2 is changing the doctrine based on the rights of man.

Vatican 2 defines what is meant by coercion:

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.

It’s true that neither the Church nor the state can force someone to be Catholic, but that’s different from granting freedom to be publicly anti-Catholic. That’s precisely what Vatican 2 continues to teach by granting false religions to publicly profess and spread heresy and error as a God-given civil right. [3] According to Vatican 2, the foundation for this right is the dignity of the human person:

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. [4]

Gaudium et spes of Vatican 2 reinforces the above teaching in Dignitatis Humanae. [5] Ratizinger wrote in his Principles of Catholic Theology, 1982, p. 381: “If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter syllabus… As a result, the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution, was, to a large extent, corrected…”

Professor Pink is proven entirely wrong. It is a doctrinal change and it’s about the intrinsic rights of man, which necessarily condemns the Catholic doctrine taught by Popes Gregory and Leo.

Regardless, the state does not need the Church to grant authorization to prohibit public error against God. The Church does not govern non-Catholics, the state does. Pope Leo XIII declared that it was quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty. It likewise follows that freedom in these things may be tolerated wherever there is just cause, but only with such moderation as will prevent its degenerating into license and excess. And, where such liberties are in use, men should employ them in doing good, and should estimate them as the Church does; for liberty is to be regarded as legitimate in so far only as it affords greater facility for doing good, but no farther.[6] That means the state must NOT demand, defend, or grant such freedoms, regardless whether it’s a Catholic state or not, because it contrary to divine law. Pink’s explanation that the state is forbidden to coerce in matters of religion, not because such coercion is illicit for any authority whatsoever, but because such coercion lies beyond the state’s particular competence IS CONDEMNED by the very pope he cites. 

Vatican 2 is clear that religious liberty is a human right that not even the Church can prohibit. It declared that this “right” be made into constitutional law. The results were dissolving the Catholic Nations and Catholic Constitutions around the world. The Catholic State is being declared by the Second Vatican Council as a violation of the rights of man. Countries, such as Spain and Colombia, were forced to give up their Catholic constitutions and follow this document.

Vatican 2 implies religious liberty for non-Catholics is a right by nature of man because of the dignity of the human person. The teachings of Popes Gregory XVI and Leo XIII say it’s not a right given by nature of man, just the opposite.

The dignity of the human person concept is the basis for Vatican 2 popes to condemn capital punishment, too.

Francis declared: Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide. [7]

The Vatican 2 religion is attempting to raise the dignity of the human person to the level of God Himself. According to the council, man has an intrinsic right to publicly blaspheme God’s Name, His Nature, His Church, His Mother (which all heresy does) and he can never be put to death for any cause.  




[1] https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/08/conscience-and-coercion

[2] Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 15), Aug. 15, 1832: “Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor.  We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice.”

      Pope Leo XIII, Libertas (# 42), June 20, 1888: “From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature of man.”

[3] Dignitatis Humanae # 4: “In addition, religious communities are entitled to teach and give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance.”

[4] Dignitatis humanae (vatican.va)

[5] 28. Respect and love ought to be extended also to those who think or act differently than we do in social, political and even religious matters. In fact, the more deeply we come to understand their ways of thinking through such courtesy and love, the more easily will we be able to enter into dialogue with them.

This love and good will, to be sure, must in no way render us indifferent to truth and goodness. Indeed love itself impels the disciples of Christ to speak the saving truth to all men. But it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions.(10) God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone.(11) Cf. Matt. 22:37-40; Gal. 5:14.

60. It is now possible to free most of humanity from the misery of ignorance. Therefore the duty most consonant with our times, especially for Christians, is that of working diligently for fundamental decisions to be taken in economic and political affairs, both on the national and international level which will everywhere recognize and satisfy the right of all to a human and social culture in conformity with the dignity of the human person without any discrimination of race, sex, nation, religion or social condition. Therefore it is necessary to provide all with a sufficient quantity of cultural benefits, especially of those which constitute the so-called fundamental culture lest very many be prevented from cooperating in the promotion of the common good in a truly human manner because of illiteracy and a lack of responsible activity.


73. In our day, profound changes are apparent also in the structure and institutions of peoples. These result from their cultural, economic and social evolution. Such changes have a great influence on the life of the political community, especially regarding the rights and duties of all in the exercise of civil freedom and in the attainment of the common good, and in organizing the relations of citizens among themselves and with respect to public authority.

The present keener sense of human dignity has given rise in many parts of the world to attempts to bring about a politico-juridical order which will give better protection to the rights of the person in public life. These include the right freely to meet and form associations, the right to express one’s own opinion and to profess one’s religion both publicly and privately. The protection of the rights of a person is indeed a necessary condition so that citizens, individually or collectively, can take an active part in the life and government of the state.

However, those political systems, prevailing in some parts of the world are to be reproved which hamper civic or religious freedom, victimize large numbers through avarice and political crimes, and divert the exercise of authority from the service of the common good to the interests of one or another faction or of the rulers themselves.

Gaudium et spes (vatican.va)

[6] Pope Leo XIII, Libertas (# 42), June 20, 1888.

[7] New revision of number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the death penalty – Rescriptum “ex Audentia SS.mi” (vatican.va)

Read Full Post »