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Decree on Religious Liberty of the Second Vatican Council. The scope of this document is the religious liberty to believe in God, worship him, and serve him according to one's conscience. There are two aspects of this freedom, as explained in the document: the freedom from coercion in the light of reason, based on each one's dignity as a person, and the freedom of exercise and evangelization founded on Christian revelation. The main thrust of the decree is the affirmation of a divine right, that "the Church claims freedom for herself in human society and before every public authority" (December 7, 1965).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.