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Reason, Morality, and LawThe Philosophy of John Finnis$
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John Keown and Robert P. George

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675500

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675500.001.0001

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The Right to Religious Liberty and the Coercion of Belief

The Right to Religious Liberty and the Coercion of Belief

A Note on Dignitatis humanae

Chapter:
(p.427) 26 The Right to Religious Liberty and the Coercion of Belief
Source:
Reason, Morality, and Law
Author(s):

Pink Thomas

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675500.003.0027

Catholic teaching supports a right not to be coerced religiously based on the metaphysical dignity and freedom of the human person. But how to understand this right? In person-centred terms, as fixed and determined just by the dignity of the person, and as a right not to be coerced religiously by any authority? Or in jurisdiction-centred terms, reflecting the dignity of the person, but qualified and limited depending on the coercive jurisdiction under which a person falls? Does the Church have an authority to coerce religiously that the state lacks — to use punishment to pressure those subject to her jurisdiction, the baptized, into fidelity of belief and practice? This chapter compares the teaching of Trent and Vatican II. It shows that Vatican II does not support the person-centred model, which is anyway inconsistent with dogmatic teaching of Trent and Catholic canon law, which assumes the jurisdiction-centred model.

Keywords:   religious liberty, religious coercion, Council of Trent, Vatican II, canon law, religious belief, Erasmus, church and state

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