Family, we want to share with you today a declaration of Religious Freedom which was written by the Second Vatican Council some 50 years ago. It was and is a statement of how we as a people of God, nurture our Religious Freedom. At that time, Religious Freedom was being abused in many parts of gthe world. It is until today. We must pray against all abuses of Religious Freedom.
Happy Independence Day.
Religious Freedom – Dignitatis Humanae
Second Vatican Council Declaration on Religious Freedom
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.
The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious which is the endowment of persons as individuals is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself…
Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered, either by leghal measures or by administrative action on the part of government, in the selection, training, appointment, and transfer of their own ministers, in communicating with religious authorities and communities abroad, in erecting buildings for religious purposes, and in the acquisition and use of suitable funds or properties.
Religious communities also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word. However, in spreading religious faith and in introducing religious practices everyone ought at all times to refrain from any manner of action which might seem to carry a hint of coercion or of a kind of persuasion that would be dishonorable or undworthy, especially when dealing with poor or uneducated people. Such a manner of action would have to be considered an abuse of one’s right and a violation of the right of others.
In addition, it comes within the meaning of religious freedom that religious communities should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity.