Pope Benedict XVI and Religious Liberty: Separating Facts from Fiction

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Pope Benedict XVI and Religious Liberty: Separating Facts from Fiction
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  DOI: 0.l-17f1 ì0116-()l:-001 -() UNI\iI]RSVOL. XIX. ANNAI-ES ITATIS MARIAE C'URILUf]LIN - POLON SF,-T'I'IO E-SKI-ODOWSKAA 201:('enrer br Studies n Nen Reìigions n 'lbrino (ltali ) MASSIMO NTR()\'ICNF Potrte enedict XVI and Religious Libertt,.Separating Facts fi"om Fiction PapieT Rc'nedlkt X\/l a uolnosc qrznania. oddzielenie àktóu od f kcii AtsSI RAI I Wliether hc tcachins on rcligious ihertr o1-the Second Vatican C'oune l contradicts he carlrN4agisteriunr 1-thc 'atliolic 'hLrrcir s a ttattel f-contenlion nt()ng atholics nd a crucial ssuc n lhecontrovers"\ iith thc'traditronalist'nro\e'nrent f the ate Archbishop efèbrre. c-nedict \,'l's strates\has been o pronlote paradignr f "refìrrnt 'ithin conrinuitr". drrritting hat Vatican l has ntroducedelements li'refbrnr nd erelt discontinuitr. ul s'ithin a l'undirmcntal ontinuitl and uithout'ruplures'.Kev words: Bencdict XVI. Catholic 'hurch. Valican l. religit'rus ibern. C'hrisrophobiaTIIF, CONTROVI.,RSY Onc of the conflicts nvolvinc he contemporarv atholic Church vhich hasgenerated considerable nterest n the media s thc one \ith thc bllowcrs f'the ateArchbishop Marcel Letèbvre 1905 l99l)and others who challenge he authority'ofthe Second atican Council. Lcfèbvrc was excommunicated n 1988. nd died withoutrcconciling imsclf with the Church. Four bishops e consecrated ithout Rome'sauthorization 'ere lso exconlrnunicated. ope Benedict VI lifted he atter excom-lnunications n 2009. and started alks airned at bringing -efebvre's rganization,the Societl'of St. Pius X, back o the Roman old. This s a cornplicated nd diffìcultproccss. 'hose esults re still vcrl'much uncertain t the irnc of this rlritine.  \1 \\l\l() 11|p. )\ l(r\r .-\lthough l.ìan\ lledia cports ivc he nrprcssion hat at lre 6cart of'thc contro-\crs-\ s Letèb"rc's nd his bllou'ers'delènse f the pre-Vatican I Mass against helitureical efbnn of Pope Paul Vl (1897 1978). enedict VI w,arned hat his s notthe case. e has iberalizcd he celcbration f'thc raditional atin Mass. utthis hasnot solved roblerrrs 'ith he so-called raditionalists. n fact. a general.judgment nthe docurnents f the Se ond Vatican Council s a deepcr ubject f'contention hanliturgr'. And the controvers,r as nostlv bcused rr eligious ibertr,.C atholic Magisteriutt't onsiste-ntlr aught hat onlv rue cligion, .c. Catholicisrn,has a genuilie ight to bc propagated nd cndorsecl 1, he Statcs. Other religionsrtlat' be oleratcd br the sakc ol- he comr.non ocld. ut therc s. strictlv spcaking. o"ri-qht o error" rn religious llatters. l'his doctrinc. lthough ,,irh iffcrent uances,u,'as articularlr eveloped gainst nodern ibcralisnr v Popcs ius X (17g2-lg7g)and Letr Xlll(1810-1903). 'hc Second atican 'ouncil n its dcclaratior-t ignitutishtrtttttrtue Dccerrlber , 9ó-5)proclairrred hat eli-cious ibertl is a fìrndanrental ichtfor evcry'bod1'. ased n the','en dignity of each ru,rran eins. The 6cclaration asadopted v thc C'ouncil fier a \'er\ long discussion. t cautioned rr its verl,firstparagraph hat ts contcnt has o do with inrnrunitl,'fiorn oercion n civil societr,.Thcrefbre t leaves ntouclied raditional atholic o"^trine n he noral utl of rnenand societies tlward he rue elision nd oward he one Church f'Christ" VaticanII 196-5: l.'I'his car''eat otu'ithstanding. raditionalist pposition o the Second VaticanCouncif ìrcused n thc apparenî ontradiction etr.,n'e n Dignitcrris trntcrrtne nd ear-lier enc-vclicals 'hich had condenrnccl he nodern otion of religious iberty such asPius X's Quunlu .trt'tt 1864) ncl ts cornpanion.s)'llctbtrs /'Er.r-or.s,and eo XIII,sLihertas 1888). raditionalists lict cknorvledge hat Pope ius xll(lgl6_lg5g) wassomewhat lore olerant 1-religious rinorities n Catholic ountries. ut he alwavstalked of rcligious olerance ather han of religious ibert-r,.Thc debatc mav seem sottreq'hat transc o ncln-Catholics. hel rnar,, rgue hatthe problett1 as one sinlple solution. he Catliolic 'hurch befìrrc Vatican l waseither \\'rong or speaking iorn tire perspective f a b-v-gone heologl,. which 11o-dernitl unavtlidabN'changed. appill'. atican I took nores f'these hanges ndaccepted lte samc iheral doctrine f'relieious ibertv hat pius X and Leo XItlhad condenlned. ndced. his has becn he position f'some ibe al Catholic istori-ans sotttetinrc efc-rred o as "1he Bologna School" u,ith espect o both eligiouslibertr' and othcrteachings f the Second atican Council. The Clouncil, hel.argue,has represented discontinuitl and a rupture n rhe teachings f the C'hurch. uta happ}'onc. nen besirtninc. aradoricallr, hcir position s quite sirnilar. s aras he historical econstruction s cunccrned. o Msgr. Lefèbvrc's. he French rc6-bishop lso argued hat several ocurnents f thc c'ouncil eprescntcd rupture ,u,iththe past' For hinl. hou'ever. uch upture \,as ot huppl but catastrclphic. ecentll,,'anti-Council'Catholic authors ot aligned rith Msgr. Lefebyre nd his m.l,er'ent,including talian historian Roberto e Mattei 20l0iand theologian Vlsgr. runero  t'oPI. il Ni I)t( I X\ I {\D RF.LI(ilot I II}t Rl\ sl l',\R.\ilN(i F,A('TS RON1 i( ItON 21 Gherardini 20{)9; br a detailed riticisrn ce C'antoni 0ll]. har,c doptcd he sameapproach btlut Dignitati.s untancte. hel arguc hat ndeed t does eprcsent n facta catastrclphic upture u'ith he older Magisteriurn.While several on-Catholic istorians f the Clouncil o share he econstructionof'both the Bologna School and Msgr. Lefòbvre. ost-Vatican l Popes ar,,c everendorsed t. In fact. or the Catholic Church adnritting hat a solenrn eaching uchas hc (-outtcil's eclaration n religious ibertl,dircctlv ontradicts n equally,sol-emtr eaching 1 previous Popcs 'ould creatc ntractable roblenrs bout hclw' heC'hurch onceircs tsclt.'fhc problenr s not nfallibilitl. since ,crr bu tcachings fthe Catholic Church are clearll defìned s nlallible, nd w.hether hese nclude henlatter f religious ibertr s both disputed nd unclear. ut outside he narrou,realmof infallibilitl does not ie. or lolal Catholics. n alleged rea f 'fàllibilitl" includ-ing teachings l'tc ould bc tiec to accept r reject. The Church claims hat cventhe so-callcd rdinar\ or authcntic Magistcriurn. lthough ot ncccssarilv nlallible,forms a coherent orpus hroughout he centr.rries nd should e oyallv accepted vever\ good C'atholic.This s "r'hr', athcr han acccpting he positions f'the Rologna chool r of Msgr.Lefèbvrc. he Magistcriuttr as ried to rcconcile lder and rnore ecent eachingson religious ibertl'" laiming hat hc discontinuitl,is erely,superlìcial nd hidesa dceper ontinuitr. nd does not nvolve rupture. lthough oth Paui VI and JohnPaul I (1920-2005) id speak n these opics, ere u,ould onfinc ny'self o teach-ings associatcd 'ith Joseph ardinal Ratzinger. irst in his enure s Prefbct f theC'oneregatiorr br he Doctrine f'Faith 1981-200-5)and arer s popc Flencdict Vt.fllE 1987 LTTITR O NlSCiR. EI.EBVRIIn 1987, ne year befbre is excomnrunication, he Congregation br the Doctrineof'Faith ried o persuadc Msgr. Lcfèbvrc hat here was no rupture about eligiouslibertl' bctvn'een re-Vatican I l\4agisteriunr nd Digniratis humanae. he letter othe French Archbishop ihcrte eligieuse. epon.se ur'dubia'presenÍes ar S.E.'\4sgr. e.fèhvre, ated March 9. 1987 Conuregation our a Doctrine de a Foi l9tì7].cnclosed lengthv heological pinion u,hich. lthough echnicall), ot part of theCatholic Magisteriurn, s quite rnportant br our opic. The opinion quoted he com-mission vhich during he Council prepared he text of Dignitati.s untanee, o theeffèct hat "on no part s it affirrned nor s it licit to affirrn (rhis s an evident martcr)that here s a right o spread rror. f'persons hen sprcad rror. t is not he exerciseof a right. but ts abusc". he opinion nsisted n rwo points: hat hc religious ibertl,proclaimed ,l' )lgrtitati.s urnanae s not a positive ight but an intmunity.' rom thecoercion f-thc nodern ecular tate: nd hat his peculiar orm of State s the m-rlediate efèrence f the docuntent f-the Sesond atican Council. u'hile he oldestCatholic tatetnents ad n rnind a diffèrent incl of State. he opillon also ecalled  l8 \í \ SSl l( ì I I Rt t, 11,1 the ivell'discussion vhich ed o the dccision ;- he Clouncìlto se hc vorld liLrerty'rathe than tolerance'. both because he notiotr l-'tcllerance' \,as lowly disappearingfrom international reaties nd convenlions nd because tolerancc', rr,'hen ealines'nl'ith thcsc modern States 'hich cnd o expand heir spherc f authoritr'. vould havebeen a r,veaker lairn han libertl'. and rnar- have mplicd that religious reedom ssomcthine hat he Statc la\ or rnar not concede ccording o ts changing riorities.The opinion concluded hat. once an adrnittedh difficult process f interpretationis cornpletcd. ne discovers hat the tcachine f Vatican I is perf'ectl)' ompatibleu'ith he eachins f Lco XIll".THE CATHC'HISN1 ND FtrRTIll,R OCLIMEN S OF THE CONGRI-GATIONIn 1992 he Holy Sec ssr-red hc Carechi.sm /'the Catholic Church, he seconduniversal atechisrn n the Church's istory and a verv mportant ocurncnt. ,hichbclth untttrarizes nd ar,rthoritativell ntcrprets he Second atican 'ouncil. ts para-graph 2108 statcs hat: The risht to religious iberty s ncither a nroral iccnse oadhere o error. nor a supposed ight o error. but rather a natural ight of the hurnanperson o ciVil ibertl, .e.. mnrunitr. 'ithin ust imits, iorn cxternal onstraint nreligious nlatters b1 political authoritics" Corechislt i'rhe Catholit' Church lgg2,para.2l08l. There are lircc t-ootnotcs. cl'crrine espectivelr o the elìcr,,qlical i-berta.v 1' Lccl XIll. to Pius XII. and o Dignitari.s umanae. he Cafechisnr, hus,cantlnizcd he opinion shared t scveral cading C'atholic cholars hat he right toreligious ibertr of the C'ouncil s not a positive ight - the "right to error", whichretltains ondcnlned odav as t hacl cen bv Leo Xlll- but a negative ight, .e. an"irnnrunitr"'front he constraints f the nodern ecular tate, ,u,hich as no businessin interfcring n reliqious rattcrs.The f'ongregation br the l)octrine of' Faith headed br,, Cardinal Ratzinger s-sued n 2000 he declaration )ominu,s Jesu.s Congregatìon br rhe )octrine of Faith1000]' perhaps ts nost àrnous and sornervhat ontroversial docurnent. While rrotdirectlv dealing 'ith elieious iberty, t assured he aithful hat norhing as cssen-tialh'changed n the raditional atholic octrine hat here s onll,one rue Church.In 2002. the ('ongregation ìlr the l)octrine of Faith ssuecl Dot'Írinal lVotectn Sonte Qua.stit'trts egurding he Participettion cf-Carholics n Political Lilè. ltsIto.8 <<recall[s] truth w'hich odar,'is fìen not perceived r forrnulate6 orrectlyin public opinion: he right tcl ice<iomr f consciencc nd. n a special wa\,. o reli-gior'rs ieedorn. aught n the Declaration ignitutis huntanue ofthe Second Vatica'Council. s based n the ontolocical lignitv ol'the hunran erson nd not on a non--existent qualitl among eligions r cultural ystelns f hu6an creation. eflectingon this question. aul VI taught hat in no w'av does he Coulcil base his ight toreligioLls ieedorn n thc fact hat all religions nd all teachings, nclucling hose hatare crroneous' l'cluld ave ììore or less qual ,'alue; t is based ather on the dienitv  POI'[ ìF.\FI)l('l X\'l /\Nl) Rlll(rlol S IIlll.Rl\' Sl ':\RATI\(i '.'\( S IRO\4 FICI'ION of the hurnan erson. hich dcrnands hat he not be subjectcd o external inritationsu,hich end o constrain he conscicncc n its search 'or hc ruc religion r in adher-ing o it".'the teaching n f eedom f conscicllce nd on religious ieedonr oes nottherefbre ontradict he condernnation f indiflèrentisn'r nd eligious elativism t'Catholic doctrine; n the contrar\'. t is 'ully n accord "r'ith t>> Congregation or theDoctrine f Faith 2002. ro. ì].RFNF-DI('] VI'S SPT"ECH )F )ECEMtsIIR ]. 2OO5On f)eccmber 2, 2005 Uenedict VI delirered is nor,r -arnous peech o the Ro-rnan Curia on he nterprctation t.thc Second atican ouncil Benedict VI 2005].Ile started y noting hat <<the nrplenrentation l'the Council has been sotne*'hatdif icult. even u,'ithout 'ishirrg o appll'to what occurred n these 'cars he descrip-tion that St Basil 330-379], lie great Doctor o1' he Church. made of'the Church'ssituatior-r fier he Clouncil l'Nicea 325]: e compares ts situation o a naval battlein thc darkness f the stornr>>.<<The uestion continued he Pope arises: Wh1' has he irnplementation fthe Council, n large parts of'the Church. hus ar beerr o difficult? Well, t all de-pends n the correct nterpretatiorr f-the Council or - as \'e would sa1'toda1'- nits proper hermencutics, hc correct key' o its intcrpretation nd application. heproblenrs n its irnplementation rose iom the f act that trvo cr)ntrar1, errneneuticscarne àce o fàce and quarreled 'ith cach other. One caused onf'usion, he other,silentlv but nrore and more .'isibll', ore and s bearing ruit. On the one hand. hereis an nterpretation hat u'ould call a "herrneneutic f'discontinuity'and upture"; thas iequently'availed tself'of'the \nrpathies f-the mass tedia. nd also onc rendof rnodern heology. On the other, here s the "herrneneutic f retbnn". of reneu'alin the continuitv f the one subjcct-Clhurch 'hich he Lord has given o us. ...] 'hehernrencutic f discontinuity isks ending n a split betwccn hc prc-conciliar lhurchand lre post-conciliar hurch>.While condemning his "hernleneutic f.discontinuity nd rupture", BenedictXVI did not oppose o it a sirnple hermeneutic f continuity". Although he ivilllater use hc shortencd orn-r hcrnreneutic f continuity'" oth in the endnote tothe apostolic xhortation ocrumertrunt arifarr.i f 2007 Benedict XVI 2007a] ndin his speech f March 12,2010 o the participants n a theological onfèrence f theCongregation br the Clergr'IBencdict VI 2010a], he 200-5 ext clarified hat hecorrect ermeneutic f'Vatican I is a "hermeneutic f rcform n the continuit,v". na rcfbrm here s some iscontinuitr'- thern'isc. hcre u'ill be no relbrm , but hereis also a tìlore indanrental ontinuitr' otherr.vise, t rvould not be the refbrnr of aneristing nstitution ut he creation f-a nov bodl'. lt is precisely' n this combinationof continuitl'and iscontinuitl'at iffcrent evels. he Pope aid. hat he v'er-v- atureof true rcf-orm onsists". 29
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