Tagged: Pope Paul VI

Vatican II: Religious Freedom

Hello! Welcome to the fourth section of a debriefing on the Second Council of Vatican.

There are documents available on the Vatican website for all of this. That’s where I found the first-hand resources.

I thought I would read and write about Dignitatis humanae because of all the chaos surrounding the HHS mandate for insurance covering abortion and “birth control.”

There are pieces in this document, the Declaration on religious freedom, that are so relevant to today, it’s scary.

First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spread it abroad among all men.”

The way it starts, you’re kind of thinking… OK, so we’re all for religious freedom for fellow Catholics? That’s not even close to the case. Read more.

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom … that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly.”

Yeah, that’s what I was waiting for, too.

The right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself.”

I wanted to keep this quote around… this dignity is known by reason itself. It’s one of those things that we just know, deep in our hearts, that it’s true.

In all his activity a man is bound to flow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor, on the other hand, is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience, especially in matters religious.”

The social nature of man, however, itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion.”

So, even if the majority of a place, a country, is against a religion, it is our duty to practice our religion in the public sphere.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t hide it. Share it, show it.

This document also states the Church believes religious groups have the right to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations regarding religion.

The bishops went so far as to say, “Government is also to help create conditions favorable to the fostering of religious life.”

Wow, right? It doesn’t seem the the U.S. government is super stressed about fostering religious life. At all.

The declaration of this Vatican Council on the right of man to religious freedom has its foundation in the dignity of the person.”

Which is what the Church bases on its teaching on… the dignity of the person. That’s why women and men are still different, why parents have certain things they need to do, why contraception is wrong. It all relates to the dignity of the person.

Pope Paul VI wrote that no one can be forced into the Christian faith. It must be an act of free will for it to be true… which is also why we have to have a conversion of our hearts when we choose Catholicism again when we’re adults. It can’t just be something we continue to do.

My favorite part is toward the end:

The Church claims freedom for herself in her character as a spiritual authority, established by Christ the Lord, upon which there rests, by divine mandate, the duty of going out into the whole world and preaching the Gospel to every creature.”

I think I take religious freedom for granted, I know I did before the HHS Mandate about contraceptives.

The best way to describe it is to use the example of making Orthodox Jews, or those who keep the dietary laws, to buy pork. You wouldn’t dream of making them do that because they’re following their religious teaching. Yet Catholics are being forced to buy contraceptive coverage. I hope that makes sense.

For Freedom!

God bless.

Find out more about Vatican II here:

Nostra Aetate


Dei Verbum


Vatican II: Optatam Totius and Presbyterorum Ordinis

Hello! Welcome to the third section of a debriefing on the Second Council of Vatican.

There are documents available on the Vatican website for all of this. That’s where I found the first-hand resources.

I took a week off on what I hoped to be a month long, every Wednesday type series. My apologies for previewing it too soon. Sometimes I just need a break, and apparently the blog is the first thing that gets tossed off the list.

Anyway, last week’s posts were so well read, I love that. I’m so glad people are finding my 5 ways posts so helpful. I specifically went with five instead of 10 for two reasons: they’re easy to write! and they’re easy to read. You’re welcome.. to you and myself. Haha.

learn something

Today’s post includes two decrees from Vatican II: Optatam Totius and Presbyterorum Ordinis

Priestly training and ministry and the life of priests

Optatam Totius, on priestly training, was a quick read. It was also the first document since starting this series that I didn’t really find that relevant to me. There are a lot of great things in it, though.

The principal contributors to this are the families which, animated by the spirit of faith and love and by the sense of duty, become a kind of initial seminary, and the parishes in whose rich life the young people take part.”

Pope Paul VI was talking about fostering vocations at home, in the home. It starts with the parents and family life.

This is key, and it’s important to remember that you might have a priest in one of your sons. (Or a nun in your daughters!)

About the task men are at seminary for:

They are therefore to be prepared for the ministry of the word: that they might understand ever more perfectly the revealed word of God; that, meditating on it they might possess it more firmly, and that they might express it in words and in example… having become the servants of all, they might win over all the more.”

Pope Paul VI also said that all candidates have to be throughly examined so that we have priests that can be priests and take on the full responsibilities.

At the end of the decree, Pope Paul VI writes:

The Fathers of this holy synod have pursued the word begun by the Council of Trent. While they confidently entrust to seminary administrators and teachers the task of forming the future priests of Christ in the spirit of renewal promoted by this sacred synod…”

Presbyterorum Ordinis is a much longer document and took me a lot longer to get through.

It’s not that it’s difficult to understand, it’s just dense. Full of things that take a lot of time to think about.

Here are my key take aways:

In (Christ) all the faithful are made a holy and royal priesthood…” but “… not all members have the same function.”

God gives priests a special grace to be ministers of Christ among the people.”

It’s God who chooses the priests who serve us, not the bishops, not the popes. It’s God. It’s something we should (I should) probably remember when we’re criticizing the priest who serves our parish.

The purpose, therefore, which priests pursue in their ministry and by their life is to procure the glory of God the Father in Christ.”

This is also something easy to forget. Priests have a purpose… glorifying God. They do that through ministering to others.

This decree is so wonderful! It’s something I’d love to talk to my priest about some time.

Their ministry itself, by a special title, forbids that they be conformed to this world; yet at the same time, it requires that they live in this world among men.”

There’s a huge emphasis in this decree on the Eucharist as “the source and apex of the whole work of preaching the Gospel.”

Pope Paul VI and the Council are adamant that priests celebrate Mass frequently and reverently.

The Most blessed Eucharist contains the entire spiritual boon of the Church.”

Priests, likewise, must instruct their people to participate in the celebrations off the sacred liturgy in such a way that they become proficient in genuine prayer… they must train the faithful to sing hymns and spiritual songs in their hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I could just pull about a million quotes from this decree all day long.

Priests therefore, as educators in the faith, must see to it either by themselves or through others that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free.”

Really, this decree goes into how priests are pulled in all directions, and they should turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for intercession.

They should respect the bishops and the Church’s hierarchy.

They should continue to study, always.

They should respect the gifts of the laity.

They should remain faithful to their vows.

The daily celebration of Mass is strongly urged, since even if there cannot be present a number of the faithful, it is still an act of Christ and the Church.”

With enthusiasm and courage, let priests propose new projects and strive to satisfy the needs of their flocks.”

And continue to pray, always.

Priests should all the more humbly and steadfastly pray with the Church for that grace of fidelity, which is never denied those who seek it, and use all the supernatural and natural aids available.”

And while I am not a priest, you reading this are probably not a priest, I think it’s important for us laity to read things like this decree. It reminds us the pressures on priests, on their role in the Church, on the importance of their job and on fostering vocations in others.

I was once – always – discerning entering religious life. I had a male friend tell me that I shouldn’t “give up” on “traditional” life, that I’d be a good mom and wife.

Well I would like to agree with him about me being a good mom and wife, I don’t think entering a religious life is “giving up” anything. It’s taking on so much more! A life ABSOLUTELY FULL of prayer, of working for others constantly, of being with Christ in adoration constantly.

Yes, being a mom is full of these things too. Both paths are so important for the world. Neither is giving up anything.

God bless.

Check out these Vatican II posts:

Nostra Aetate

Dei Verbum

Introduction to Church Councils