Skip to content

On Religious Freedom

"God Awaits a Response of Love"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday from the window of his study to the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square before he prayed the midday Angelus.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In this time of Advent, the ecclesial community is invited, while it prepares to celebrate the great mystery of the Incarnation, to rediscover and deepen its personal relationship with God. The Latin word "adventus" refers to the coming of Christ and highlights God's movement toward humanity, to which each one is called to respond with openness, expectation, search and adherence. And just as God is sovereignly free when he reveals and gives himself, as he is moved only by love, so the human person is free in giving him his assent, although it is something that is due: God awaits a response of love. In these days, the liturgy presents the Virgin Mary -- whom we will contemplate next Thursday, Dec. 8, in the mystery of the Immaculate Conception -- as the perfect model of this response.

The Virgin listens, ready at all times to fulfill the will of the Lord, and is an example for the believer who lives searching for God. To this topic, as well as to the relationship between truth and freedom, the Second Vatican Council dedicated a careful reflection. In particular, the conciliar Fathers approved, exactly 40 years ago, a declaration on the question of religious freedom, namely, the right of persons and communities to be able to seek the truth and profess their faith freely. The first words that make up the title of this document are "dignitatis humanae": Religious freedom stems from the singular dignity of man who, among all the creatures of this earth, is the only one able to establish a free and conscious relationship with his creator.

"It is in accordance with their dignity as persons -- that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility -- that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth," said the council.

Thus the Second Vatican Council reaffirms the traditional Catholic doctrine, according to which, man, in so far as spiritual creature, can know the truth and, therefore, has the duty and right to seek it (cf. Ibid., 3). With this foundation, the council insists extensively on religious freedom, which must be guaranteed both to individuals as well as to communities, in respect of the legitimate exigencies of public order. And this conciliar teaching, after 40 years, continues to be very timely. In fact, religious freedom is far from being ensured everywhere: In some cases it is denied for religious or ideological motives; in others, even though recognized in written form, it is hindered in practice by the political power or, in a more insidious way by the cultural prevalence of agnosticism and relativism.

Let us pray that every human being will be able to realize the religious vocation he bears inscribed in his being. May Mary help us to recognize in the face of the child of Bethlehem, conceived in her virginal womb, the divine Redeemer, who came into the world to reveal to us the authentic face of God.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In French, he said:]

I greet the French-speaking pilgrims present this morning. Prepare the way of the Lord in your hearts, paying renewed attention to the most underprivileged.

In this week that begins, on Dec. 9, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, proclaimed by the U.N. On this occasion, I invite each one to work increasingly in favor of disabled persons in society, in the working world, as well as in the Christian community, remembering that every human life is worthy of respect and must be protected from conception until its natural end. I assure my prayer and support to all who are dedicated to this immense task.

[In English, he said:]

I greet all those present for today's Angelus. On this Second Sunday of Advent, Christians throughout the world are called to "prepare a way for the Lord." May we always make a place for him in our hearts and in our lives. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, I invoke the blessings of Almighty God.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Freedom, Religion, God, Advent, Love

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.