Catholic Constitutionalism from the Americanist Controversy to Dignitatis Humanae

20 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2016 Last revised: 26 Apr 2016

See all articles by Anna Su

Anna Su

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 18, 2016

Abstract

This paper, written for a symposium on the 50th anniversary of Dignitatis Humanae or the Roman Catholic Church’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, traces a brief history of Catholic constitutionalism from the Americanist controversy of late nineteenth century up until the issuance of Dignitatis Humanae as part of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. It argues that the pluralist experiment enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was a crucial factor in shaping church attitudes towards religious freedom, not only in the years immediately preceding the revolutionary Second Vatican Council but ever since the late nineteenth century when Catholicism became a potent social force in the United States. This history offers an opportunity to reflect on what the new global geography of Catholicism portends in the future as well as the importance of law in shaping religious change.

Keywords: Religious Freedom, Vatican, History, United States, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Su, Anna, Catholic Constitutionalism from the Americanist Controversy to Dignitatis Humanae (January 18, 2016). 91 Notre Dame Law Review 1445 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717683

Anna Su (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada

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