Day Seven of the Fortnight For Freedom
Fortnight For Freedom is a national campaign beginning June 21 and ending July 4 sponsored by the U.S. Catholic Bishops for teaching and witness in support of religious liberty. Each day during this fortnight we will feature a quote from the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty. Please reflect upon these important teachings and share them with others.
Religious bodies also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word. However, in spreading religious faith and in introducing religious practices, everyone ought at all times to refrain from any manner of action which might seem to carry a hint of coercion or of a kind of persuasion that would be dishonorable or unworthy, especially when dealing with poor or uneducated people. Such a manner of action would have to be considered an abuse of one’s own right and a violation of the rights of others.
In addition, it comes within the meaning of religious freedom that religious bodies should not be prohibited from freely undertaking to show the special value of their doctrine in what concerns the organization of society and the inspiration of the whole of human activity.
Finally, the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable, and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense.
Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae), no. 4
December 7, 1965
Excerpts from The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, SJ, General Editor, copyright © 1966 by America Press, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
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