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Catholicism_Paper_10-28 - Lauren Berry ARTL 100 Heft...

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Lauren Berry ARTL 100 – Heft October 28, 2009 Declaration on Religious Freedom: Dignitatis Humanae The Declaration on Religious Freedom written in 1965 affirms religious freedom as a basic human right and suggests that any society that pretends to be well-ordered should provide a legal guarantee of this right. The Vatican II uses historical fact and reasoning to outline the Church’s doctrine as it relates to the rights of a person and community’s religious freedom and the role of government in securing the freedom. The document establishes religious freedom based on reasoning and justice and then confirms the harmony between the contemporary legal notion of religious freedom and the revealed doctrine of the Church. It concludes that all nations are coming into even closer unity culturally and religiously and that there is a growing awareness among nations of personal responsibility that every man has. Therefore, in order to establish peaceful relationships throughout the entire world, it is necessary that religious freedom be guaranteed by constitutional law everywhere and that respect be shown for the “high duty and right of man freely to lead his religious life in society.” 1 At the beginning of the document, the Vatican Council professes that God himself has made known to mankind how to serve and worship him and that all men are bound to worship God and have an obligation to seek religious truth. Religious freedom is therefore necessary so that man can fulfill his duty to God. Man can’t be under restriction or coercion from society because that strips man’s dignity and natural right. This right has a foundation in the dignity of 1 1 Declaration on Religious Freedom <http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat- ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html> 1
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person and this understanding of dignity is revealed through studying the word of God. The Church teaches that all men are born free from oppression and can’t be made to act contrary to his own personal beliefs. “Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature” 2 The Council next affirms that the right to religious freedom is for all men, not just those who choose to seek religious truth, so that a civil society can be maintained. As long as religious communities obey society’s laws, they have a right to govern themselves, instruct followers, hold meetings, and assist members of their communities. Parents also deserve this right to determine,
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