Dear Rev. Harrison,
I made no distinctions about the type of right spoken of by Vatican 2. Therefore, your assertion I failed in this respect is erroneous. Had I inserted “civil” in the sentence you wouldn’t have had a problem. That being said, we had this discussion on religious liberty Christmas 2008 making the same points back then.
Again, Vatican 2 declared, “It regards, in the first place, the free exercise of religion in society…There is a further consideration. The religious acts whereby men, in private and in public and out of a sense of personal conviction, direct their lives to God transcend by their very nature the order of terrestrial and temporal affairs. Government therefore ought indeed to take account of the religious life of the citizenry and show it favor, since the function of government is to make provision for the common welfare. However, it would clearly transgress the limits set to its power, were it to presume to command or inhibit acts that are religious.” (Dignitatis Humanae)
DH made no distinction between what type of civil government, whether a Catholic state, democratic republic, or monarchy because it would make no difference since religious acts whereby men, in private and in public and out of a sense of personal conviction, direct their lives to God transcend by their very nature the order of terrestrial and temporal affairs.
Benedict XVI’s Address to ambassador of Spain, May 20, 2006: “The Church also insists on the inalienable right of individuals to profess their own religious faith without hindrance, both publicly and privately, as well as the right of parents to have their children receive an education that complies with their values and beliefs without explicit or implicit discrimination.”
An inalienable right is a natural right by God. In other words, this civil right on religious liberty is a God-given natural right. Quotes like this could be multiplied, but this example by Benedict XVI gives the interpretation of DH.
Distinct from scenario A (the idea of a right to do X), I submit that scenario B (the idea of a right not to be hindered by coercive government action from doing X) is also heretical because it necessarily implies that:
1. Men have a civil right to propagate false religion in public, which is a moral evil.
2. Civil governments don’t have the God-given right to enforce the moral good of hindering the evil of false religion, because…
3. It’s not a moral good to hinder the evil of false religion.
4. It would be immoral and evil to hinder the civil right of men propagating false religion, since the civil right is an inalienable right.
5. Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, and Leo XIII were utterly wrong and promoted immorality for condemning an inalienable right. See below.
6. God endorses moral evil as an inalienable right since this civil right is also an inalienable right in society.
7. The Catholic Church is condemned because She by law hindered by coercion religious liberty for Muslims at the Council of Vienne, which means that an inalienable right was made illegal by the Church.
8. The Gates of hell prevailed.
Let’s not stop there…
because Benedict XVI as Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that Vatican 2’s text on religious liberty was “a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter syllabus…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…”
He also wrote “the declarations of Popes in the last century [19th century] about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time [on evolutionism]… in the details of the determinations they contain, they became obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at their proper time.” (Joseph Ratzinger, “Instruction on the Theologian’s Ecclesial Vocation,” published with the title “Rinnovato dialogo fra Magistero e Teologia,” in L’Osservatore Romano, June 27, 1990, p. 6)
If religious liberty is an inalienable right according to Benedict XVI, then this right would have been unchangeable from the beginning and contrary to the Divine law to ever prohibit this right. Yet, Benedict XVI is acknowledging that the Church in the past was correct in its position against religious liberty. He’s implying that an immutable truth yesterday is not the truth today, or vice versa. This is proof that Benedict is a modernist.
What say you now?
Papal Teachings on Religious Liberty whether Civil or Moral.
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.”
Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei (# 34), Nov. 1, 1885: “Thus, Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Mirari Vos, dated August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms which even at his time were being publicly inculcated – namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man’s conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the state.”
Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura (#’s 3-6), Dec. 8, 1864, “From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, namely, that ‘liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society; and that a right resides in the citizens to an absolute liberty, which should be restrained by no authority whether ecclesiastical or civil, whereby they may be able openly and publicly to manifest and declare any of their ideas whatever, either by word of mouth, by the press, or in any other way. but while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition… therefore, by our apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines specially mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all the children of the catholic church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.”
Rev. Brian Harrison replies for the final time
Dear Mr. Speray,
You say, “I made no distinctions about the type of right spoken of by Vatican 2”. I know you didn’t. That’s exactly why I faulted you. By failing to make that distinction you thereby attributed to the Council what it did not say, and hence were also mistaken in your criticism of Patrick Madrid. That’s the main point I was concerned to make in my brief email.
I agree that Benedict XVI’s statement that you quote of May 2006 – in a minor allocution that was probably hastily written by one of his many speech writers – was inexact. (He affirmed a ‘positive’ right – my type (a) right where he should have affirmed a ‘negative’ right – my type (b).) But I have no doubt that if one were to converse with him about it, reminding him of the distinction in question and of how both the wording of the text of DH and the official explanation given by the relator to the Council Fathers made sure that a negative right only was being recognized for non-Catholic religions, he would agree that, of course, his own true position on the matter is in line with that which was so carefully worked out at the Council.
I think the same is very probably true of his loosely worded comments about Eastern Orthodox prelates being pastors of/in “the Church”. It would be more in line with then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s own much more formal and carefully worded (and papally-approved) statement in the CDF Declaration Dominus Iesus to say that Eastern Orthodox dioceses are, by virtue of the Apostolic Succession of their bishops and their valid Eucharist, true – even though seriously ‘wounded’ and defective – “particular churches”; wherefore their prelates are indeed “pastors” of those particular churches. To say they are pastors of “the Church” does, I agree, sound like granting to the Eastern Orthodox communion as a whole the same status as an Eastern-rite Catholic Church, i.e., the status of an integrally and fully united component of the one true universal Church under Peter’s Successor. And of course, the recent popes themselves would be the first agree that such full unity does not exist.
That’s one of the main problems with you sedevacantists. You go through everything recent popes say with a fine toothcomb and seize upon everything that looks like and (perhaps is) a materially unorthodox statement. Then, in a spirit of “Aha! Gotcha!” you triumphantly assert that this shows them to be heretics and not real popes. You seem to forget that the Holy Office and CDF have always given a chance to wayward theologians to explain, clarify, and if need be, correct, their false statements before concluding that their error or heresy is formal and pertinacious, and so meriting censure and/or removal from office. So you forget that Popes also manifestly deserve the same – or even greater – benefit of the doubt, before and after their election, and so cannot be judged to have been invalidly elected, or have lapsed from office, simply by virtue of having publicly made one or more heterodox statements.
This is my last contribution to this discussion, as I have other very pressing pastoral and academic commitments. As regards your other objections to Dignitatis Humanae, I recommend that you and other interested recipients of this email consider purchasing my full-length book debate with Arnold T. Guminski published last year: Religious Freedom: Did Vatican II Contradict Traditional Catholic Doctrine? It is available online for $35.00 from the publishers, St. Augustine’s Press, at:
Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S.
Rev. Brian Harrison,
My statements concerning Vatican 2 and Patrick Madrid were correct based on either one of your distinctions. Apparently, you didn’t catch it. You obviously didn’t read my last email carefully. I made it abundantly clear in eight points why your distinction is heretical. You didn’t touch it.
You argue that DH doesn’t contradict past papal teachings, but Benedict XVI clearly admitted by implication twice that it did. Who are we to believe, you or Benedict XVI?
Since you’re not convinced “Pastors in the Church of Christ…guiding the Church” really meant it the way it’s stated, even though three different “popes” five different times worded it this way, how about you answering the 1993 Balamand statement which runs directly contrary to your explanation:
“that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity.”
John Paul II affirmed the Balamand statement in Ut Unum Sint, another official document that explains how the nature of the Church is to be understood. Can you whitewash this official and heretical statement away?
What’s funny is that even your explanations are heretical.
Pope Pius IX wrote in an official 1868 Apostolic letter to all Protestants and other non-Catholics that, “none of these societies, and not even in all of them taken together, can in some way be seen the one and Catholic Church which Christ the Lord built, constituted, and willed to exist. Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity… we exhort them warmly and beseech them with insistence to hasten to return to the one fold of Christ…”
According to Vatican 2, Ut Unum Sint, and Dominus Iesus, baptized non-Catholics are already part of the one fold of Christ; just not in full communion with the Catholic Church. That’s because those documents deny that the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church are one and the same thing. “Subsists” is the heretical word that implies it. The CDF point blank lied and provided not a single piece of evidence that any of its teachings be seen throughout Catholic history.
If you’re “not in full communion with the Catholic Church,” then you’re not part of the Visible Church of Christ at all. THAT’S THE REAL CATHOLIC TEACHING. Partial communion is heretical.
The conciliar popes endorse the error of believing in and promoting false religion by having it showcased in front of an altar in an Assisi Basilica, not once, not twice, but three times. And you’re arguing that the conciliar popes don’t hold that it’s an inalienable right to believe in and promote a false religion? Get real! They believe it’s a moral good; the very thing you’ve admitted is error.
Since Voodooism was practiced and promoted by praising a goddess and being possessed by her in front of an altar in an Assisi basilica through the invitation of Rome, would that mean that Rome holds Voodooism in high esteem being a good religion to practice like this or do they believe Voodooism is bad and evil religion but invited them to practice it in front of the altar anyway?
The practice of Voodooism encouraged, promoted, and praised by Benedict XVI, his bowing towards Mecca in a Mosque as Muslims with Muslims, bowing towards a Lutheran altar and praying with a woman bishop, etc. etc., and John Paul II did the same things over and over again. Your popes believe evil is good! Your popes reject the First Commandment! That’s why they aren’t true popes. THEY AREN’T CATHOLIC!
Yet, you continue to defend them by lying about the situation while attacking real Catholics and the Catholic Faith.