Latest topics
» Polish traditionalists handicapped : Archbishop Lefebvre made a mistake
Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:20 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Communities of Fr.Leonard Feeney in the USA when they interpret Vatican Council II with the irrational premise deny the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus
Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:18 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Bishop Robert J.McManus and Brother Thomas Augustine MICM,Superior,St.Benedict Center,Still River,MA, interpret Vatican Council II with the 'possibilites are exceptions' error
Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:47 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» SSPX must be aware of the deception of Abp.Guido Pozzo and confront it
Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:57 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Two popes must ask all Catholics to affirm Vatican Council II (premise-free) as they do
Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:16 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Still River Ma., could lose canomical status because of Feeneyism
Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:54 am by Lionel L. Andrades

»  Traditionalists oppose Pope Francis on morals but give him a pass on salvation
Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:06 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Someone needs to help Cardinal Luiz Ladaria, Archbishop Pozzo and Archbishop Di Noia see how they use a false premise to interpret Vatican Council II
Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:53 pm by Lionel L. Andrades

» Robert Siscoe and John of St. Thomas Respond to Fr. Cekada
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:25 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Still no denial from Abp.Guido Pozzo : SSPX must accept Vatican Council II with a false doctrine and the new theology based on an irrational premise Image result for Photo of Archbishop Guido Pozzo
Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:03 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Five Catholic academics accept the development of doctrine on salvation and Vatican Council II but reject it on morals and the death penalty
Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:32 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Dr.Robert Fastiggi wants Bishop Donald Sanborn and Chris Ferrara to affirm a magisterium in heresy and schism like him
Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:30 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» ]Christine Niles uses the false premise to interpret magisterial documents
Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:30 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» SSPX has a right to canonical status when they correct their doctrinal error in the 'chart'
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:25 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» No one shows Massimo Faggioli his precise theological and philosophical mistake
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:07 am by Lionel L. Andrades

» Rethink "Feeneyism"?
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:02 pm by tornpage

» Brother Andre Marie MICM, the Prior at the St. Benedict Center does not correct Frs.Brian Harrison and Cekada,Bishops Sanborn,Pirvanus,Kelly and Fellay
Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:24 pm by MRyan

» Revisiting Diocese/Parish Screening Policy
Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:03 pm by MRyan

» When sedes and trads can accept that Pius XII made a mistake then popes since John XXIII are no more in heresy
Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:08 pm by MRyan

» Doctrinal talks were conducted with Fr.Gleize on 'the other side'
Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:08 am by Lionel L. Andrades

Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

Post  MRyan on Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:21 am

Every traditionalist who has ever accused VCII (in particular, Dignitatis Humanae) of overturning her traditional doctrine on religious liberty, and every Catholic who is confused over this difficult teaching (and who isn't?), should read the essay by Professor Thomas Pink that was recently featured on Rorate Caeli.

The Sensible Bond provides a short summary of the essay and why it is extremely important ("a game-changing intervention"), especially with respect to the typical misrepresentations of Dignitatis Humanae by liberals, conservatives and traditionalists that “evinces near complete ignorance of Church teaching on these issues between Trent and the nineteenth century”.

Having said that, ignorance of Church teaching could have been alleviated to a great extent had the Church been more proactive in explaining these important distinctions. That does not excuse the accusations of revolutionary reform and a total break in continuity, but it would have helped to dampen the unjust accusations. Despite the Magisterium’s slowness in clarifying such an easily misunderstood teaching, how soon trads forget, or dispute, the truths enunciated by Pope Paul VI:

Pope Paul VI, Letter to Ab Lefebvre, 1976: Nothing that was decreed in this Council, or in the reforms that We enacted in order to put the Council into effect, is opposed to what the two-thousand-year-old Tradition of the Church considers as fundamental and immutable. We are the guarantor of this, not in virtue of Our personal qualities but in virtue of the charge which the Lord has conferred upon Us as legitimate Successor of Peter, and in virtue of the special assistance that He has promised to Us as well as to Peter: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Lk 22:32). The universal episcopate is guarantor with Us of this.

From The Sensible Bond:

Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

"A new post has been issued on Rorate Caeli on the topic of religious liberty. It presents links to a new essay by Professor Thomas Pink of King's College London on a problem which has exercised the minds of philosophers and theologians on both wings of the Church.


The controversial passage in Dignitatis Humanae, Vatican II's declaration on religious freedom, is usually taken to be the following:

1. [...] Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore 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.

Over and above all this, the council intends to develop the doctrine of recent popes on the inviolable rights of the human person and the constitutional order of society.

2. 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.

Interpretations of what this declaration really means are varied, but three clear trends emerge from them.

Liberal interpretation - this was a revolutionary reform since by approving freedom of conscience the Church thereby corrected one of its previous mistakes.

Conservative interpretation - this was a surface reform of political policy but the deeper obligations of society to God remain the same.

Traditionalist interpretation – this was a revolutionary reform that overturned two centuries of near-certainly infallible teaching, and represents the Council's commitment to bring the 1789 Revolution into the Church.

The significance of Pink's new essay is that it reframes the problem completely. For the liberal, conservative and traditionalist interpreters, the idea that Dignitatis Humanae is the rupture point in a long line of teaching on this issue goes largely undisputed. For Pink, however, a specialist in Early Modern thought, this understanding evinces near complete ignorance of Church teaching on these issues between Trent and the nineteenth century.

Pink thereby drops several bombshells on the various sides of this debate but let me highlight here just two:

1. Dignitatis Humanae, which is thought to be a denial of the permissibility of coercion of belief, significantly omits to say anything about the Church's power to coerce its own members (i.e., those who are baptised, even schismatics and heretics). This coercive power is in fact a matter of Catholic faith as taught by the Council of Trent in its treatise on baptism.

2. The personalist argument, which traditionalists say Dignitatis Humanaeused to dissolve the Church's 19th century Magisterium, is in fact a lot older than they recognise, not in explicit terms (which were not developed until the 20th century) but in its fundamental assumptions about autonomy. The idea that the subject cannot be coerced interiorly in matters of religion appears to be a keystone of theological thinking in this area in nineteenth-century Catholic writers such as Cardinal Manning or Bishop Kettler. But, as Pink shows, this idea would have been very strange to the theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who understood the problem in the light of Trent.

It seems, therefore, that the great forgotten link in this chain of argument is this: the Church has only dogmatically asserted its power of coercion over the baptised, and any State which acts as the civil arm to help the Church in this matter does so by delegation of the Church and NOT by its own power.

Consequently - and this is Ches-reading-Pink now - it is logical that as we move into a period where the Church is no longer in a position to delegate in that way, the need to remind the State of its true powers is ever clearer. It does not de jure have the power to coerce conscience. The Church never taught that it did. It only ever held it as a delegated power accorded it by the Church for the sake of the baptised (see Leo XIII, Immortale Dei). It might have overstepped this boundary at times, but that is another matter.

So why the change in this problematic? I can only suggest a couple of reasons myself. Perhaps coercion is more thematic in the treatment of the issue of religious liberty by the theologians of the earlier period because they instinctively assume that most people are Catholic or baptised. When the theologians of the nineteenth century begin arguing in favour of interior freedom, it seems they are working on a new assumption that Catholicism is now a minority religion in hostile and secular conditions. Both positions depend ultimately not on a shift in doctrine but in contextual circumstances.


That at least is how I understand the consequences of Pink's essay. As I say, for me this essay not only reframes the problem; it is a game-changing intervention.

In its light, no longer can the liberals pretend that coercion has been done away with by Vatican II.

In its light, no longer can the 'personalist' reading of Dignitatis Humanae be used by traditionalists as a stick to beat the Council.

I commend its reading to you all most heartily."


Posts : 2276
Reputation : 2448
Join date : 2010-12-18

Back to top Go down

Re: Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

Post  Allie on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:15 am


Posts : 100
Reputation : 116
Join date : 2010-12-20
Location : southern Ohio, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

Post  Allie on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:29 am direct link to Thomas Pink's essay. This is a long paper but it is very much worth the time, ink & paper.

I have some thoughts and questions I am going to post later.

God bless,

Posts : 100
Reputation : 116
Join date : 2010-12-20
Location : southern Ohio, USA

Back to top Go down

Re: Coercion and liberty: reframing the debate

Post  Sponsored content

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum