Religious freedom is all about the freedom to find the Truth.
The United States Constitution is framed to protect that search.
The Catholic Church is the living Tradition of that Truth in its fullness.
Vatican Council II, in its declaration ‘Nostre Aetate’ declared it to be God’s Will that everyone, everywhere, at all times, should be free to find the truth in their own personal search, and that the Catholic faithful would be free to share the Truth of Jesus Christ to the world.
But a funny thing happened on ‘the Yellow Brick Road’ of Religious Freedom.
Vatican Council II never backed away from the central Truth of Catholicism, or Christianity in general, in that Jesus is the ‘Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ Vatican Council II, furthermore, never backed away from the central Catholic, and Christian, truth that the Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Holy Catholic Church. Yes! Catholics can be unholy at times. But the Catholic Church is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the gospel Jesus, with the seven sacraments, guided by the Holy Spirit, and guaranteed that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
And, really, can ‘protestants’ and non-Catholics really claim human perfection?
Getting past silly childish fights over who is ‘holier than thou,’ Catholicism is all about religious freedom and ecumenical friendships, in dialogue, seeking to meet at the junction of Truth and Love. Real Catholicism never compromises on the One Mediation of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world, or the fullness of Christian Truth found in the Catholic Church. Yet, it understands that some facets of truth and real love exist in other faiths, and even in those without faith at all. It also realizes that God alone knows the human heart, God alone judges each and every individual person, and that God will decide who truly deserves salvation…and this could include ‘people of other faiths’ and ‘no faith at all.’
After all, God, though truly revealed, remains Mystery.
Yet cafeteria Catholics, progressives, anti-Catholics, shoddy historians, liberal minded critical-historical scholars, and deluded theologians, have distorted the Vatican II message. They start by stating that Jesus is only one way, among others. They continue by stating that Catholicism is just one religion among others. And they claim that ecumenism is just a meeting of like minded individuals seeking to syncretize all faiths into one celebration of the golden calf.
Nothing could be so untrue!
For Traditional, Vatican II, Catholics, Jesus remains our savior! ‘Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again!’ And holy Mother Church is still the Church of Jesus Christ. Yet God is the God of Divine Mercy, and all of his children, even those of other faiths, and no faith at all, deserve our charitable evangelization. Not watered down in political correctness. Not neutered down by some lame ‘historicized’ Jesus. Not exemplified in cafeteria immorality!
But witnessed to in the fullness of the Eucharistic life, in prayer, repentance, thanksgiving, and faith, hope and charity.
In other words, in religious freedom which is unafraid to evangelize fully in the respect of ecumenical and fraternal friendship.