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Leonard Swidler [1]



Surely the idea of a Constitution for the Catholic Church is a wildly bizarre secular notion that is totally inappropriate for such a sacred institution! Right? Well, the bishops, including the bishop of Rome, the pope, did not think so. The very term “constitution” appears in church documents, most recently in the titles of several of the documents of Vatican II, e.g., the “Constitution” on the Church, the “Constitution” on Revelation, etc. The term “constitution” is used because the matter treated is “constitutive” of Christianity. The term “Bill of Rights” of course does not appear in ecclesiastical documents because it is a specifically English/American phrase, but its exact equivalent does appear from the pens of both Pope Paul VI and John Paul II, and long before that from the American Catholic bishops.





During Vatican Council II, on November 20, 1965, Pope Paul VI spoke of a “common and fundamental code containing the constitutive law (Jus Constitutivum) of the church” which was to underlie both the Eastern and Western (Latin) codes of canon law. It was clearly what Americans refer to as a “constitution.” [2] Thus was born the modern idea of a Catholic Church “Constitution,” a Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis—more about the Lex below. In his address to the Roman ecclesiastical high court, the Rota, just one month after the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law (1983), Pope John Paul II called specific attention to the “Bill of Rights,” “Carta Fondamentale,” in the Code:


The Church has always affirmed and protected the rights of the faithful. In the new code, indeed, she has promulgated them as a “Carta Fondamentale” (confer canons 208-223). She thus offers opportune judicial guarantees for protecting and safe-guarding adequately the desired reciprocity between the rights and duties inscribed in the dignity of the person of the “faithful Christian.” [3]

Another of the democratizing moves Vatican Council II made was to inspire the total revision of the 1917 Code of Canon Law in the spirit of democracy and constitutionalism. Already on January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII announced simultaneously the calling of the Second Vatican Council and the revision of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. [4] Even before Vatican II was completed, work was begun on the writing of this Catholic “Constitution of Fundamental Rights,” the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis. Father James Coriden, a co-editor of the 1985 magisterial 1150-page folio-size The Code of Canon Law. A Text and Commentary (commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America) and the Dean of the Catholic Theological Union of Washington, D.C., wrote that “The origins of the Code’s bill of rights [the new 1983 Code of Canon Law eventually absorbed the fundamental “rights” articles of the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis, rejected by Pope John Paul II] were not in a Constitutional Congress, but its history and development clearly reveal its truly constitutional character.” [5]


As noted, it was on November 20, 1965, that Pope Paul VI said to the Coetus Consultorum Specialis (Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law) that the opportunity to provide a “constitution” for the Church should be seized while the 1917 code of canon law was being overhauled in the light of Vatican II.


Two things should be especially noted about the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis: 1) It clearly was to serve as a “constitution” in the sense that it was to provide the fundamental juridical framework within which all other Church law was to be understood and applied. Like the American Constitution, if any subsequent law passed were found to be contrary to the Lex Fundamentalis, the subsequent law would be void. 2) The Lex Fundamentalis was to serve as a fundamental list of rights of the members of the Church, like the American “Bill of Rights.”


Concerning the first point, the explanation (Relatio) by Msgr. Onclin that accompanied the 1971 draft of the Lex stated clearly that “since a fundamental law is required, on which all other laws in the Church will depend.... Laws promulgated by the supreme authority of the Church are to be understood according to the prescriptions of the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis...laws promulgated by inferior ecclesiastical authority contrary to the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis lack all power.” [6]


Concerning the second point, Father Coriden wrote referring to the Lex Fundamentalis as key portions of it were imbedded in the 1983 Code of Canon Law: “The bill of rights is part of the bedrock upon which is based the rest of our canonical system....The Coetus’s communication to the Episcopal synod of 1967 described the enumeration of rights of the faithful as fulfilling one of the chief purposes of the ‘fundamental code.’” [7] Already in 1967 the Coetus told the Synod of Bishops in its ten guiding principles the following:


The principal and essential object of canon law is to define and safeguard the rights and obligations of each person toward others and toward society.... A very important problem is proposed to be solved in the future Code, namely how the rights of persons can be defined and safeguarded.... The use of power in the Church must not be arbitrary, because that is prohibited by the natural law, by divine positive law, and by ecclesiastical law. The rights of each one of Christ’s faithful must be acknowledged and protected. [8]


A further aspect of the Lex Fundamentalis is worth noting here. From the inception of the Coetus in 1965 until the press leak in 1971, its work was all done sub secreto. Why it should have been so is not clear, except that that was the way things had always been done. However, after the leak Msgr. Onclin held a press conference in which he “recalled that the draft text was only a working paper which will probably be modified in conformity with the wishes of the bishops. These, in turn, may consult priests and laymen, and the result will therefore be a truly Church-wide consultation.” [9]


Here we could see the “democratic” thrust of Vatican II moving forward in a deliberate, sure-footed manner, neither rushing nor hesitating. For eighteen years the Vatican Commission (Coetus) worked devising and re-phrasing the Constitution (Lex), and as Msgr. Onclin said, its natural momentum would have made it available to ever wider circles for their input. The fundamental reason for this increasing openness was made clear by the Vatican itself. As Peter Hebblethwaite mentioned in his biography of Pope Paul VI, the Vatican instruction, Communio et progressio on the implementation of the Vatican II decree on the mass media was issued less than two months before the Lex leak in Il Regno. It made a clear argument in favor of open government in the Catholic Church:


The spiritual riches which are an essential attribute of the Church demand that the news she gives out of her intentions as well as her works be distinguished by integrity, truth and openness. When ecclesiastical authorities are unwilling to give information or are unable to do so, then rumor is unloosed and rumor is not a bearer of truth but carries dangerous half-truths. Secrecy should therefore be restricted to matters involving the good name of individuals or that touch on the rights of people whether singly or collectively. [10]





Then, unfortunately, not long after John Paul II became pope in the fall of 1978, “The whole Lex project was put to death, without explanation, in 1981, after it had been approved by a specially convened international commission earlier in the year.” [11] The long slide into restrictions, repressions, and silencing had begun, however, even earlier:


1.                Already in the spring of 1979 the French theologian Jacques Pohier was silenced for his book When I Speak of God;

2.               in July the book on human sexuality by a team of four American theologians commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America was condemned by the Vatican;

3.               in September the Jesuit General Pedro Arrupe was forced to send a letter to all Jesuits saying that they may no longer publicly dissent from any papal position;

4.               all fall severe accusations of heresy against Edward Schillebeeckx were recurrently issued in drum-beat fashion;

5.               December 13-15, Schillebeeckx was “interrogated” by the Holy Office in Rome;

6.               that same month writings of Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff were “condemned” (he was later silenced);

7.               on December 18, the Holy Office issued a Declaration on Hans Küng saying he “can no longer be considered a Catholic theologian.”


Thus, in hindsight, the suppression of the Catholic Constitution (Lex Fundamentalis Ecclesiae) was no great surprise. Nevertheless, at the same time Pope John Paul II was pushing Human Rights in the civil sphere, and especially in international politics. In a way, this was a continuation of  what Pope Paul VI had earlier called “New Thinking.” [12] (This was long before Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s borrowed the phrase “New Thinking” to popularize his new approach to Communism.) This “New Thinking” was characteristic of Vatican II, and was likewise supposed to characterize the subsequent revision of church law, the 1917 Code of Canon Law.


Pope John Paul II described this resultant shift in thinking, this  “New Thinking” of Vatican II, in the following manner when promulgating the new Code of Canon Law [1983] for the Latin Church:

1.               the Church seen as the People of God,

2.               hierarchical authority understood as service,

3.               the Church viewed as a communion,

4.               the participation by all members in the three-fold munera [functions] of  Christ [teaching, governing, making holy], and

5.               the common rights and obligations of all Catholics related to this, and

6.               the Church’s commitment to ecumenism. [13]


Father James Provost added further: “In addition to providing the basis for understanding the new canon law, these elements set an agenda for the church, an agenda which might be considered to form the basis for a kind of ‘democratizing’ of the church.” [14]






As we saw in an earlier lecture, the American Church has precedents in the fostering of democracy in many ways by its first bishop John Carroll, and even more by Bishop John England with his Diocesan Constitution and Annual Convention. There is yet another interesting precedent for an important element of Democracy, Human Rights, the knowledge of which was lost for many decades. I am speaking of a Catholic twentieth-century Universal Declaration of Human Rights even before that of the United Nations in 1948. In fact, it fed into it.


In January, 1947, a committee made up of U.S. Catholic laity and bishops appointed by the “National Catholic Welfare Conference” (the national agency of the American Catholic Bishops) issued nothing less than a “Declaration of Human Rights,” [15] almost two years before the United Nations proclaimed its “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in December, 1948. In fact, the American Catholic Declaration was handed over to the “Committee on Human Rights of the United Nations,” the chair of which was Eleanor Roosevelt. A comparison of the “American Catholic Declaration” (which with 50 articles is more detailed than the UN Declaration with 30 articles) and that of the United Nations reveals amazing similarities, some passages of the latter being even verbatim that of the former. The Catholic document speaks of human “personal dignity....being endowed with certain natural, inalienable rights....The unity of the human race under God is not broken by geographical distance or by diversity of civilization, culture and economy...”


Here is a chapter of American Catholic history that was almost forgotten. After its initial impact, [16] no one seemed to remember or record it, until 1990. And yet this is a chapter of history that makes one proud of being an American Catholic. The American Catholic Church here took the lead in promoting human rights on a world-wide basis and probably had a significant influence in the drafting of the United Nations’ 1948 “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”


Let me tell you how this lost chapter of an American Catholic contribution to Human Rights and to Democracy came to light. Dr. Gertraud Putz, an Austrian historian, noted how accidental and labyrinthine her discovery of the 1947 American document was. She wrote that she had in her research come across an article in a 1947 Austrian periodical, Die Furche, with a German translation of what looked like an American Catholic Declaration of Human Rights, but with no reference to the original. She then wrote:


The difficult search for the English text shall not remain hidden from the reader.  Through a personal contact with Professor Johannes Schwartländer of the University of Tübingen, doubtless the most knowledgeable scholar of the history of human rights, I was directed to an American human rights expert, Professor Leonard Swidler in Philadelphia. The accident that he—who at first also knew nothing of the existence of this Declaration—is married to a historian with whom he discussed the matter made it possible that she then took up the search.  In a letter dated April 18, 1990, she responded to my letter and explained the difficulty in finding the Declaration, for it had no listed author under which it could be indexed. However, the fact that Professor Arlene Swidler precisely at that time was giving a course on “American Catholic History” at Villanova University led her to search further, and she ended by writing: “However, I am quite sure I have found the important material by paging through the significant periodicals.” [17]





I am grateful here to Dr. Anthony Padovano for his analysis of American Catholic history in a 2003 lecture he gave. He divided American Catholic history into three phases:

            The American Phase 1634‑1850

            The Roman Phase 1850‑1960

            The Catholic Phase 1960‑present.


A. The American Phase


Padovano wrote:


After a voyage of four months, two ships, the Ark and the Dove, land in present‑day Maryland. It is March 5, 1634, fourteen years after the 1620 founding of Plymouth Plantation farther north. Catholics and Protestants crossed the ocean and together they created a colony where Catholics were free to worship. John Carroll will be born in that colony a century later in 1735. When Carroll becomes the first American bishop, in that same colony, in 1789, there will be 35,000 Catholics in a national population of four million (about 1%).


We have already seen something of this American Phase, which was characterized by an assimilation of democratic principles into Catholic life and structure under the leadership of John Carroll and John England, with lay responsibility exercised by the initially pervasive Trustee System. But by the middle of the nineteenth century this phase was passing.


B. The Roman Phase


The Roman Phase stressed 1) submissiveness, 2) a criticism of the democratic genius of America, and 3) at the same time a care for Catholic immigrants. In the latter, the clergy did yeoman service, but they insisted on total power and obedience. Our own Father John Hughes of Philadelphia, who became the Archbishop of New York, was a prime example of this Romanitá, who bragged that he destroyed the Trustee System, first at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and went on to trumpet: “I made war on the whole system,” adding that “Catholics did their duty when they obeyed their bishop.... I will suffer no man in my diocese that I cannot control.” Later Pope Pius X re-confirmed this authoritarian style in his encyclical Vehemence Nos: “The one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led and, like a docile flock, to follow their pastors.”


Obedience to the clergy was the prime virtue in this church now largely made up of swarms of immigrants from the oppressed lower classes of Ireland and southern and eastern Europe. Dissent was viewed as treason, as a pathology, and of course consequently lay initiative evaporated. Padovano wrote that “This Church gave safety to its compliant members but it filled them with a sense of paranoia and suspicion of everything that was not Catholic. It seemed a very long time ago, indeed, when democracy and open discussion were promoted in Catholic Church circles.” Nevertheless,  Catholic immigrants found safety in the ghetto built with their language, culture, and Catholicism. Within this ghetto, three objectives were paramount:


1) Education and building a massive private school system

There was a fear of American culture and public life, a distrust of American universities where secular atheism was taught, of non‑Catholic writers, and “Protestant” movements such as the abolition of slavery, the women’s suffrage movement, alcohol prohibition, birth control.... For many Protestants, Catholics seemed immoral, siding with slavery, alcohol, gambling, opposing women’s suffrage, and seemingly all social reforms. Catholics used language against Margaret Sanger and birth control that was as flaming as language now used against legal abortion.


Of course, there was real Protestant prejudice, as we here in Philadelphia know from the attacks on priests, nuns, and Catholic buildings by the Know Nothing Party before the Civil War. However, Protestants were terrified of the pope, who now claimed to be infallible, and of the flood of Catholic immigrants obedient to him. Almost all U.S. bishops were trained in Rome, and went back there regularly. The huge St. Patrick’s Day and Holy Name Society parades, international Eucharistic Congresses, all replete with extravagant clerical garb looking much like that of anti-democratic aristocrats of Europe frightened Protestants, and they reacted accordingly.


Although the Catholic school system never became as large as the hierarchy wanted, so that the majority of Catholic children in fact went to public schools, the Catholic school system became the largest private educational enterprise in the history of the world. It trained five million elementary students at its height. This system was complemented with thousands of high schools and hundreds of colleges and universities. To see to it that this all happened, the American bishops meeting in the Baltimore Councils threatened Catholic parents with the denial of sacraments if they did not send their children to Catholic schools! Certainly, the Catholic school system did a much good, but it was under the rigid control of the priest and bishop, and this frightened non‑Catholics. It pulled thousands of Catholic teachers and millions of students out of the public school system where they would have had to contend with greater diversity, and it trained both Catholic teachers and students not to ask questions, but to repeat the answers provided.


2) Development of a sentimental, at times superstitious, always submissive piety

A second paramount element of this Roman phase of U.S. Catholicism was the development of a sentimental, at times superstitious, but always submissive piety. As before, not everything was bad about this element of Romanitá. Life for the Catholic immigrants was harsh, and it was only persons of great courage came to America, leaving their families and homes forever, facing a strange language, culture, accepting menial jobs, experiencing unfair class and religious discrimination. Hence, understandably a sentimental kind of piety provided comfort, and semi‑superstitious practices in the form of relics, scapulars, St. Christopher medals, signs of the cross before a key free-throw at high school basketball games, gave a sense of security. In this context, submissiveness seemed fitting. That is, give us a church, a school, a network of Catholic friends, a priest and bishop (and pope) who could answer all our questions, and we will follow their lead!


Consequently this piety fostered the centralizing authoritarian politics of the hierarchy, preventing Catholics from organizing independent national lay organizations, eliminating the last remnants of the previous flourishing democratic trustee system; it suppressed any dissent and “took away the will and the desire for democracy in the Church,” and “gave the hierarchy legions of docile voters who could be marshaled against political adversaries.” It gave the bishops massive amounts of money to use as they wished, with no accountability whatsoever, as well as huge enormous economic clout which allowed them to boycott and censure films and books they did not like. Only now are some Catholics beginning to ask where all the money goes, when over two billion dollars (!) of their money has been spent on clerical pedophilia court cases—and still counting!


3) Recruitment to priesthood and religious life

The third paramount objective was recruitment for institutional ministry. At its high point in the early1960s, the American Catholic Church had over 300,000 women religious, priests, and seminarians. Today there are only about 100,000, one-third the number of priests and religious, and a vastly larger Catholic population to serve. Every Irish-American Catholic mother had a vocation to the priesthood through her oldest son. If you wanted to be a real Catholic, you became a priest or nun. I know that personally, as I entered religious life in 1950 and left before ordination in 1954. Marriage was thought an inferior vocation, and lay life was a second‑class way to be a Catholic. The powerhouse of the Catholic educational system, a submissive piety, and a second-class status of marriage made the Catholic laity feel that they in general were second-class, that the Church belonged to the priests, bishops and pope.


Of course, the success of institutional Catholicism was amazing. No other national Church in modern times could match the power, wealth, and organization of the American Catholic Church. It accomplished much good through its schools, hospitals, its rituals of healing, its parishes with their sense of belonging, its demand of better working conditions, and especially its insistence that Catholics must be American and must not press for the union of Church and State. However, there were heavy costs, and as Catholics became educated and autonomous, they were increasingly less willing to pay them. It was an incredible system, but it favored an aristocratic few and it slowly destroyed the freedom and dignity of the very people it was educating, so that it assured its demise. The recent Philadelphia Grand Jury Report (only one of many) was another nail in the coffin of American Catholic Romanitá.


C. The Catholic Phase


Let me begin what Padovano calls the Catholic Phase with his own words:


The American Catholic Church works best with revolutions. Two key revolutions define where the American Catholic Church is today. We have seen how the American Revolution itself shaped Catholicism in this country. I suggest it would have given this nation and the world a brilliant model of creative theology for the modern era had it not been crushed. The second revolution came in our time and we are its heirs and witnesses. This was, of course, Vatican II. It has shaped the American Catholic Church perhaps more profoundly than any other national Church. Indeed, it has both moved us forward and brought us back to our revolutionary roots.


Vatican II changed Rome itself and moved Rome closer to American Catholicism than anyone might have expected. Rome is now more defined by the American Declaration of Independence than it is by the papal Syllabus of Errors; it is more powerfully influ-enced by the Declaration on Religious Freedom, a Vatican II document Americans crafted, than it is by its own condemnation of Modernism; its present Code of Canon Law resonates with the language of the Bill of Rights and affirms equality, free speech, due process, freedom of association, freedom of inquiry and the right of privacy (this is very different from Pius X’s insistence that the laity must be “led like a docile flock, to follow their pastor”). Rome realizes that the ideas and the language of American culture create a far more credible vocabulary for modern discourse than its own monarchical system. Rome, I suggest, has no choice now except to move in an American direction.


We have already in an earlier lecture investigated the five-fold Copernican turns of Vatican II: 1) The Turn Toward Freedom, 2) The Turn Toward the Historic-Dynamic, 3) The Turn Toward This World, 4)  The Turn Toward Inner Church Reform, 5) The Turn Toward Dialogue. Pope John Paul II tried mightily to put the genie of Vatican II back in the bottle, but for the American Catholic Church the tsunami of the clergy pedophilia scandal, and the even worse cover up by so many bishops, has burst the bottle!




So, here we are in 2006 in America, in the land which practically invented modern Democracy, with  the idea of governing an institution not by the decisions of some elite leaders, but whose leaders are elected by the members of the institution, who are guided by Law, as expressed in a written Constitution, which contains a list of the rights of the members spelled out in a Bill of Rights, which are enforced by a separate judiciary, under a due process of law. We know the blessings of freedom and responsibility, of the rule of law, for our ancestors fled from authoritarian rules of all sorts to where they could be free and responsible. We also know that we all must struggle every day to win freedom again, and again, and again, endlessly, for if we do not, it will suffocate and die.


If we are the beneficiaries of this freedom and responsibility with its Constitution, Bill of Rights, Freedom and Responsibility, and Law in the civil sphere, why do we not see the need for their blessings in the most important dimension of our lives, in our spirituality, in our religion? Oh, we all know that we have been told that the Catholic Church is not a democracy, and this false sensibility has seeped deep into our Catholic bones, but we have now begun to learn that that claim is false. We now know that the Catholic Church has a long tradition with large elements of democracy as part of its warp and woof.


Let me quote Anthony Padovano once more:


The fact that Americans cannot bring democracy or these miracles to the Catholic Church at large is the single greatest failure of American Catholicism....Democracy is not only the key to all ecclesial reform but the essential ingredient in global social justice.


No less a figure than Amartya Sen, the 1998 Nobel laureate in economics, insists on two observations of paramount importance. In Democracy as Freedom (1989), he writes: "No famine has ever taken place in the history of the world in a functioning democracy." Sen argues that the openness of a democracy, its accountability and its freedom of the press make it impossible for governments to tolerate famines. Famines are the legacy of monarchical systems. Indeed, we know that free markets are also crucial. It is impossible to have free markets and not to have a democracy. Once the economic sphere is removed from government control, the government is not strong enough to maintain totalitarianism. A Church that is proud it is not a democracy is a model for totalitarianism systems. Sen argues, at a later date, that no multi‑partied democracy has ever waged war on another democracy.


If Sen is right and if democracy restricts famine and war, then a democratic world will be one in which social justice and peace may be possible on a scale greater than we have heretofore imagined. This is not a time for the Church to boast that it will never be a democracy.


We also know that when we sleep the sleep, not of the innocent, but of the passive, of the non-responsible, that bad things do happen to real people. We here in Philadelphia, as in many other cities, are still stinging under the blows of the Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Terrible things have happened to our brothers and sisters, and we did nothing to protect them. We can say that we knew nothing about it. Fair enough. But we can no longer say that! We here at Old St. Mary’s Church have an extraordinary opportunity to take up our responsibilities that not many parishes in this diocese are given. We are extraordinarily blessed with a pastor who has the vision, self-confidence, and courage to call for us to come forth and take up our responsibilities, to be mature Catholics. With this blessing comes a corresponding responsibility, that it, from whom much is given, much is expected.


There are endless things that this parish can do that will be of immense value to the members and to many individuals and groups outside it. We have a beautiful church building. In fact, we have two! Each has a fantastic historic tradition that ought to be mined, taught, and harnessed. Our location in the center of the city, a stone’s throw from the Freedom shrines, puts us in a unique situation to do creative things. With a carefully thought through and written Constitution and live participation in those areas that are vital to a parish, like a finance committee, a liturgy committee, a music committee, an outreach committee, lawyers committee, education committee.... St. Mary’s should become a model which will both draw to itself those Catholics starving for spiritual vitality, and will inspire others to imitate our structured dynamism.

[1] Leonard Swidler has an STL in Catholic Theology, University of Tübingen and a Ph.D. in history and philosophy, University of Wisconsin.  Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University since 1966, he is author or editor of over 65 books & 180 articles, Co-founder (1964) with his wife Arlene Anderson Swidler,and Editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. His books include: Dialogue for Reunion (1962), The Ecumenical Vanguard (1965), Jewish-Christian Dialogues (1966), Buddhism Made Plain (co-author, 1984), Toward a Universal Theology of Religion (1987), A Jewish-Christian Dialogue on Jesus and Paul (1990), After the Absolute: The Dialogical Future of Religious Reflection (1990), A Bridge to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (1991) and Muslims In Dialogue. The Evolution of a Dialogue (1992), Die Zukunft der Theologie (1992), Theoria± Praxis. How Jews, Christians, Muslims Can Together Move From Theory to Practice (1998), For All Life. Toward a Universal Declaration of a Global Ethic: An Interreligious Dialogue (1999), The Study of Religion in an Age of Global Dialogue (co-author, 2000) Dialogue in Malaysia and the Globe (2004), Confucianism in Dialogue Today. West, Christianity, and Judaism (2005).

[2] Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 57 (1965), 988.

[3] Ibid., 75 (1983), p. 556; Origins, 12 (1983), p. 631.

[4] Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, in Code of Canon Law. Latin-English Edition (Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 1983), p. ix.

[5] James A. Coriden, “A Challenge: Making the Rights Real,” in: Leonard Swidler and Herbert O'Brien (a pseudonym for protective purposes), A Catholic Bill of Rights (Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1988), p.11; also in The Jurist, 45,1 (1985).

[6] Textus Emendatus, Vatican Press, pp.119-20, 123, cited in Peter Hebblethwaite, Pope Paul VI (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), p. 573.

[7] Coriden, “A Challenge,” p. 11.

[8] Communicationes 1 (1969), pp. 77-100. Patribus synodi episcoporum habenda (Vatican: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1969), pp. 80, 79.

[9] Report by Peter Nichols in The Times (London), July 6, 1971.

[10] Communio et progressio, published in Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1975), p. 332.

[11]      Coriden, “A Challenge,” p. 11.

[12] Paul VI used the phrase novus habitus mentis.  Paul VI, allocution of November 20, 1965, Communicationes, I (1969), pp. 38-42.

[13] James Provost, “Prospects for a More ‘Democratized’ Church,” in: James Provost and Knut Walf, eds., The Tabu of Democracy within the Church, Concilium, 1992/5 (London: SCM Press, 1992), p. 132.  See John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, January 25, 1983; Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 75/2 (1983), p. xii.

[14] Provost, ibid.

[15] “A Declaration of Human Rights. A Statement Just Drafted by a Committee Appointed by the National Catholic Welfare Conference,” The Catholic Action, XXIX (February 1947), pp. 4f. & 17; and “A Declaration of Rights. Drafted by a Committee Appointed by the National Catholic Welfare Conference,” The Catholic Mind, XLV, Nr. 1012 (April 1947), pp. 193-196. A German translation appeared in “Eine Charta der Menschenrechte. Eine Denkschrift der Katholiken Amerikas,” Die Furche, 8 (February 1947), pp. 4f. Both the original American and a German translation as well as an interesting analysis can be found in Gertraud Putz, Christentum und Menschenrechte (Innsbruck: Tyrolia Verlag, 1991), pp. 322-330, 388-397. 

[16] Cf. “Basic Schedule of Rights,” Commonweal, XLV (February 14, 1947), p. 435; “NCWC on Human Rights,” The N.C.W.C. News Service, LXXXVI (February 15, 1947), p. 538; Dies Villeneuve, “Recent Events,” Catholic World, CLXIV (March, 1947), pp. 562f.

[17] Putz, ibid., p. 325.



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