Fortnight for Freedom Reflection Day 3

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Further light is shed on the subject if one considers
that the highest norm of human life is the divine
law—eternal, objective, and universal—whereby God
orders, directs, and governs the entire universe and all
the ways of human community, by a plan conceived
in wisdom and love. Man has been made by God to
participate in this law, with the result that, under the
gentle disposition of divine Providence, he can come to
perceive ever increasingly the unchanging truth. Hence
every man has the duty, and therefore the right, to seek
the truth in matters religious, in order that he may with
prudence form for himself right and true judgments of
conscience, with the use of all suitable means.

Truth, however, is to be sought after in a manner
proper to the dignity of the human person and his
social nature. The inquiry is to be free, carried on with
the aid of teaching or instruction, communication, and
dialogue. In the course of these, men explain to one
another the truth they have discovered, or think they
have discovered, in order thus to assist one another in
the quest for truth. Moreover, as the truth is discovered,
it is by a personal assent that men are to adhere to it.

Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae), no. 3
December 7, 1965

Reflection for Day Three

God is the author of all truth and all good. All of
what is true and good in our world and cosmos finds
its source in God, the Creator of all. Moreover, what
is true and good about ourselves as human beings
finds its source in God in that he created us in his
image and likeness. Thus, for the Council Fathers, all
that exists is in conformity with the divine law, the
providential plan of God.

Because of this, the Council emphasizes that
truth must be “sought after in a manner proper to the
dignity of the human person and his social nature.”
This means that human beings must be free to seek
the truth. However, human beings do not seek the
truth as isolated individuals. The search for the truth
is common to all, and so all share in the finding of
truth and all share in the receiving of truth from others.

Because the search for truth, the finding of truth,
and the sharing of truth is a social exercise, human
beings must not only be free to search for truth in the
hope of finding it, they must also be free to communicate
and discuss together the truth they believe they
have found. It is through our free assent that we each
personally lay hold of the truth.

What are the contemporary means of seeking,
finding, and sharing truth? In what ways can this freedom
to seek, to find, and to share be inhibited?


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