Command 8 Do Not Bear False Witness

Vatican II Declaration of Religious Freedom, Blog 3, American vs European History

For Americans, what is puzzling is why a Declaration of Religious Freedom not be an obvious right, why would bishops argue over this decree over three sessions of Vatican II, and why would it need to go through six drafts before being approved? The United States was the first major country to guarantee the freedom of religion in our founding documents, and the American bishops led by John Courtney Murray led the Council in the formulation of the final drafts on religious freedoms.

To understand the controversy over the doctrine of religious liberty we need to review European history from classical times to modern times. In future years we plan a series of more in-depth blogs in this interesting history, here we will review the broad brush of history as it relates to religious history. This is general knowledge so we will forgo footnotes, instead I will provide links for the various Great Courses that IMHO best pertain to these topics. Painting history with such a broad brush may reveal more about my own personal beliefs than the actual history, hopefully it will spark your curiosity to study further these topics so you can come to your own conclusions. […]

Jesuits

History of the Jesuits

The Jesuits shares with the medieval orders the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but in addition the Jesuits take a fourth vow. O’Malley emphasizes this fourth vow is not a vow of loyalty to the pope, as many think it, but rather the fourth vow is a vow to go on “mission anywhere in the world, to be ready to travel among the Turks, or to the New World, or to the Lutherans, or to any others whether infidels or faithful.” They looked to the pope to send them out on mission, or to the superior general of the Jesuit order. The Jesuits also differed from the older religious orders in that they did not wear a distinctive habit, they did not give up their family name, and they were not be required to meet for group prayer several times a day.

The Jesuits started a modern ministry, the RETREAT, based on Loyola’s major work, the Spiritual Exercises. Weekend retreats today are common, Jesuit retreats can be longer, and are times of self-reflection similar to Loyola’s time of self-reflection when he asked for God’s guidance. Many in the sixteenth century criticized these retreats for under emphasizing the sacramental and penitential life and over emphasizing the direct communication of the individual believer with God, which many felt was a false mysticism. Indeed, Loyola’s Constitutions, the rule for Jesuits, does not prescribe penances or austerities for the brothers. […]