Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Hearty congratulations to Mark Movsesian and our own Marc DeGirolami on their success in creating at St. John's University a center that would go on, in a very short time from its founding, to host a rich conference on law and religion at Rome, indeed in the Vatican. Wow! It's amazing what a Catholic educational institution can do when its members are given the freedom institutionally to raise and address the serious questions that actually matter for the salvation of souls.
Turning to the particulars of the event itself, I do wonder how to resolve the ambiguities in the following quoted words spoken by Pope Francis in introducing the conference:
He called religious freedom “a fundamental right of man.” It is “not simply freedom of thought or private worship,” but “the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly, consequent to the truth one has found.”
As I say, there are ambiguities in the quoted words. Is it in fact morally required -- or even allowed -- of states that they permit or facilitate the "public" exercise of "the truth one has found"? Of course not. Because a soul, even an earnest seeker, might have "found" "truth" that is in fact a dangerous falsehood, even on Mill's account. So, is the Pope asserting that the *public* "freedom" he mentions is in fact limited to *true* "ethical principles"? Okay, then, but what gloss does the Pope intend, if any, on Dignitatis and the Catechism on "public order" and the "common good," respectively?