Life in Christ
patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the
The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man
both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic
teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the
true religion and the one Church of Christ.”
By constantly evan
gelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse
the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and struc
tures of the communities in which [they] live.”
The social duty of
Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true
and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the
one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic
Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus,
the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and
in particular over human societies.
“Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor
is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his
conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in
association with others, within due limits.”
This right is based on
the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him
freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal
order. For this reason it “continues to exist even in those who do
not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to
“If because of the circumstances of a particular people special
civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional
organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities
to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well.”
The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to
adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error,
but rather a natural
right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within
14 § 4.
1 § 3.
13 § 1.
13; Leo XIII,
3, 17; Pius XI,
2 § 1.
2 § 2.
6 § 3.
37 Cf. Leo XIII,
18; Pius XII,