It has taken me more time than I wished to respond to a query over at Commonweal from Father Joseph Komonchak about a post I wrote here at “Distinctly Catholic.” My original post, which can be found here, dealt with a recent speech by Archbishop Charles Chaput in which I faulted Chaput for gliding past some of the difficulties in his reading of the American founding.
One does not respond casually to a query from Fr. Komonchak who knows more about Vatican II than anyone I know. Additionally, I had to track down a specific book that I had lent someone because part of it was on point. But, in the event, the issue Fr. Komochak raised is perennial so the lack of timeliness does not diminish its import.
The question is twofold: Does the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Religious Liberty endorse the notion of freedom at the heart of the First Amendment? and, secondly, does the fact that we even have to ask the question make Pope Benedict squirm?