FACING A SECULAR STATE AND A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE

Felix Resch

Abstract


Composed of diff erent worldviews, contemporary European societies, including Lithuania, are profoundly pluralistic. Moreover, the European secular state is neutral, per se, in matters of worldviews. Considered as a single denomination among others, the Catholic Church can no longer count on the state as its secular arm, but has to accept the condition of freedom of religion.1 In my article, I want to point out the
specifi c role the Catholic Church ought to play in contemporary Europe under these circumstances. First, I focus on the meaning of freedom of religion as a human right. Th en, I point out the Catholic magisterium’s attitude toward the freedom of religion,
which has evolved throughout the 20th century. Finally, I develop some future prospects holding that the Catholic Church has to contribute to the common good in the temporal order and to proclaim the supernatural Gospel to naturally free persons in the spiritual order without surrendering to individualism, which is in fact incompatible with Catholic anthropology.

Keywords


freedom of religion, secular state, pluralistic society, Europe, Catholic Church, individualism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SMS-15-7-1-05

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236