July 06, 2012
It's true that Pope Paul VI said the following in an allocution at the close of the Second Vatican Council: "What does the Church ask of you [the state] today? … She asks of you only liberty, the liberty to believe and to preach her faith, the freedom to love her God and serve Him, the freedom to live and to bring to men her message of life." It is also true the Council itself, in the Declaration on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis humanae, had just officially declared that it "left untouched" (relinquit integram) "traditional Catholic" doctrine on the duties of the state with respect to the Catholic Church (DH No. 1). It is further true that in 1966, Father Joseph Ratzinger wrote that that sentence -- the one in which Dignitatis affirmed that the Council "left untouched" the traditional doctrine -- constituted a "minor flaw" (sic) that should be ignored! Ratzinger later said that he no longer regarded that sentence in the same way. The fact is, the Council did declare that it left untouched the traditional teaching on what the state owes the Church, and traditional teaching is not satisfied by "only liberty" for the Church.
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