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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Jan 21, 2022

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and


For some time now, I’ve wanted to emphasize some important distinctions concerning religious liberty. The reason is that there is so much confusion on this subject—in the Church, in civil society, in discussions of Catholic teaching, and even often in the family. To sort this out, some important distinctions need to be made.

When the Second Vatican Council upheld religious liberty in its Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humanae), it asserted a very common-sense overview of the subject, without going into all the practical variations on the theme that were possible in various societies and situations. Essentially the Council declared that the human person is obliged to seek God and so must be free to do exactly that, within the limits of the common good. (If you don’t believe me, simply read the three short paragraphs in section 2.) …

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