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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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Religious Freedom: A Developing Doctrine

Religious Freedom: A Developing Doctrine

March 21, 2001

(p.348) 25 Religious Freedom: A Developing Doctrine
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the development of the doctrine of religious freedom. According to John Henry Newman, Christianity came into the world as a single idea, but time was necessary for believers to perceive its meaning. One of the most striking developments in twentieth-century Catholicism is the doctrine of religious freedom set forth by the Second Vatican Council. The Declaration on Religious Freedom, known by its Latin title Dignitatis humanae, took up two very sensitive questions, the one dealing with the right of individual persons and groups to religious freedom; the other, with the duties of the State toward religion. In countries like the United States, the churches enjoy a blessed degree of freedom to carry out their mission. The discussion holds that the greatest threat to religion is the kind of secularism that would exclude religion from the public forum over the dimensions of common life.

Keywords:   Newman, Christianity, religious freedom, Dignitatis humanae, secularism

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