Les fondements théologiques de la liberté de l'Église dans les sociétés pluralistes et sécularisées : une proposition de développement de l'ecclésiologie catholique

Authors: Lapierre, Jean-François
Advisor: Routhier, Gilles; Bressan, Luca
Abstract: Dignitatis humanae (1965), the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on religious freedom, states that « [t]he freedom of the Church is the fundamental principal in what concerns the relations between the Church and governments and the whole civil order. » (DH 13 § 1) However, the marginalization of the Church in pluralistic and secularized societies exposes the limits of the juridical approach espoused by the Council Fathers in this document. Nowadays, the struggle to envision the place and role of the Church in sociopolitical and cultural contexts profoundly different from the one characterizing the 1960's points to a serious problem in Catholic ecclesiology. To fathom this problem properly and to address it in a productive manner, we go through, in the first part of this thesis, Christianity's two-thousand-year old history so as to understand how the freedom of the Church was implemented and theorized in various contexts. In the second part, we carefully analyze the text and context of Dignitatis humanae, to understand the reasons and the significance of the perspective shift expressed by the Fathers with regard to public powers' responsibilities in religious matters. Finally, in the third and last part, we examine the challenges currently facing this conciliar teaching. We then come to the conclusion that the highlighting of the theological foundations of the freedom of the Church, namely, the rooting of the Church in God's mystery, and the constitutive character of the eschatological perspective, allows for an understanding of this freedom as a limit to human power – be it in the world or in the Church. Thus understood, the principle of the freedom of the Church becomes a central element of the political ecclesiology called for by the current circumstances. This endeavor shows that this principle not only runs through history, but has a history, the study of which reveals elements of continuity of paramount importance to face the current challenges and those still to come. The discoveries made along the way lead us to view the question of the freedom of the Church, not as that of a group of individuals, but rather of a social body whose presence challenges cultures and, in particular, the conceptions of social order.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 26 July 2021
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/69707
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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