Freedom of Thought

Church is not speaking about freedom merely in the vacuum but is in the context of human dignity as we can see in the Vatican Second where Dignitatis humanae (Of the Dignity of the Human Person) is directly linked to the Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom.

Freedom of Thought

Contrary to public perception, Catholic Church encouraged freedom of thought right from its beginning. It was indeed its advocacy for the freedom to think and believe that led to brutal persecutions by rulers who wanted to suppress that freedom in a draconian way.

The Church believes the freedom of thought and belief is very much based in the biblical theology of the creation of human person which Pope Francis puts it this way: “Just because God created us in his image, we have also received from him the great gift that is freedom."

Church is not speaking about freedom merely in the vacuum but is in the context of human dignity as we can see in the Vatican Second where Dignitatis humanae (Of the Dignity of the Human Person) is directly linked to the Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom.

When the Apostles thought freely and spoke out they reshaped the history of humankind. Then great thinkers emerged in the early Church and their thoughts influenced not only Catholics but also others in a big way. Nobody can dispute about the impact of Saint Augustine, Saint Ambrose, Saint Thomas Aquinas and several others on aspects affecting every human person.

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought" then we must remember that great French Catholic Jacques Maritain who was behind the drafting of this declaration. It is from this ethos of freedom of thought only an intellectual rigour emerged within Catholicism.

Pope John Paul II asks us "to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better." As a result of this rigour and freedom of thought only today we have numerous Catholic thinkers and clergy scientists like Karl Rahner, Georges Lemaître, William of Okham, Roberto Busa and many others.

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