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Vatican II on religious freedom: doctrinal novelty or development?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 15, 2013

When traditionalist Catholics argue that Vatican II marked a break from traditional Church teachings, they usually cite Dignitatis Humanae, the decree on religious freedom. That document is a central point of contention in talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X; the traditionalists argued that Dignitatis Humanae cannot be reconciled with previous authoritative magisterial teachings. So when Omar Gutierrez argues that the Vatican II document is actually a natural development of the Church’s traditional teaching, in a Catholic World Report feature, he’s joining a very important debate.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 15, 2013 10:45 PM ET USA

    If there truly is the trinitarian God, omnipotent creator (and savior) of all, He must be. His cross is real, and He welcomes ALL who will have Him. Reality is love, and Love is reality. The "traditional"and "progressive" crowds are joined by the vast majority of "everyone else." Christ invites all who will have Him; charity and justice encounter error and death. Let us accept no substitute. The martyrs bore witness to the truth: "Eternal life is good for man." The Church invites us to live.