In two separate posts (here and here) I advertised Pater Edmund Waldstein’s four-part essay on Dignitatis Humanae (DH) for The Josias. If you have not read the series yet, you should. It is both a summary of the often acrimonious debate over DH and a defense of Professor Thomas Pink’s thoughtful, albeit contestable, thesis that DH represents not a change in Church doctrine with regard to religious liberty, but rather a shift in policy.
Rorate Caeli (RC) says you should read it, too. However, RC goes a wee bit too far with the following claim:
To our knowledge no SSPX theologian has addressed Pink’s argument, nor have seen any of the theologians of the CDF refer to it. This is perhaps not entirely surprising. The SSPX has for so long made it’s opposition to Dignitatis Humanae, as interpreted by Archbishop Lefebvre, a pillar of its mission that it would be very difficult for it to adopt another interpretation.
Although no priest of the Society has written (yet) on Pink’s thesis, Dr. John Lamont, a theologian who is sympathetic to the SSPX’s position on DH, has. Unfortunately, as RC reported in 2013, the theological journal Nova et Vetera withdrew its offer to publish Lamont’s article which, inter alia, critiques Pink’s thesis. Lamont’s paper, “Catholic Teaching on Religion and the State,” is available from Academia.edu. Like Waldstein’s four-part essay, Lamont’s piece is not the “final word” on DH, but it is an important one. It is difficult to imagine that the SSPX, or those who are supportive of its mission, are unaware of these developments. And so it seems grossly premature to suggest, no matter how casually, that the SSPX is “ignoring” Pink’s thesis simply because part of its mission has been to stand against the prevailing interpretation of DH as a shift in doctrine. That interpretation is not the brainchild of the Society; it has been, and remains, the dominant (mis-)understanding (?) of the document for five decades running.
The reason I make mention of this is because while I am happy to be associated with The Josias, I certainly have no interest in being associated with any interpretation of that fine website’s work which, directly or indirectly, places it at odds with the SSPX. This is not to say that The Josias‘s contributors are, by and large, sympathetic toward the Society; some of them may be downright hostile. It is important to remember that The Josias‘s mission is to “assemble[ ] some writings which may be useful in improving the understanding of justice and the common good,” not embroil itself in long-running ecclesial-canonical disagreements which, to the best of my knowledge, no active participant in that website’s operations has any competence to speak on with any depth.