The recognition of religious freedom by the Second Vatican Council is generally understood as a turning point. That said, the Council’s 1965 Declaration Dignitatis Humanae (DH) left many questions open. Was it only a matter of the Church distancing itself from the assertion that Christianity did not arrive at its truth until it was established as a State Church? What is the significance of a Catholic declaration on religious freedom for other religions? And to whom should religious freedom be granted: to individuals who follow their own consciences, or to religions as communities operating in the public sphere?
In 2019 the International Theological Commission presented a study on this topic: Religious Freedom for the Good of All. Theological approaches and contemporary challenges. In this article I present an analysis of the document.
First of all, let us recall that the documents of the International Theological Commission have a distinctive character: they are written by a group of authors. Since these texts are of increasing breadth, it should be remembered that they should be seen as the result of agreements, just like the Council decrees. In the composition of such a work, theological cultures, intra-ecclesial currents and readings of the signs of different times must find a way to converge in a common formulation. In its fundamental concerns and approach, its structural forms and expressions, there will be significant internal tensions that would be absent in a document that was the work of a single person.