Roman Catholic Hegemony and Religious Freedom : a Seventh-day Adventist assessment of Dignitatis Humanae.
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Cook, Edwin A.
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Roman Catholic Hegemony and Religious Freedom sets forth the “Catholic hegemony” thesis, meaning the Church applies Dignitatis Humanae in different ways, depending upon extant political and religious conditions in a given country, --- in some cases to maintain its hegemony, and in others to establish its hegemony over time. Hegemony, as used here, does not refer to singular dominance, as demonstrated by the Church during the medieval era. Rather, it refers to the Church seeking and maintaining a place of preeminence among other religious groups within a pluralistic society founded upon a constitutional democracy. By examing Dignitatis Humanae from a Seventh-day Adventist understanding of religious freedom, this dissertation contributes to a more profound dialogue regarding religious freedom as held by Seventh-day Adventists and Catholics. The theoretical chapters, one through three, include the historical context, current debate, and the philosophical foundations for Dignitatis Humanae. Chapter four presents a Seventh-day Adventist understanding of religious freedom and addresses areas of similarity as well as differences between Adventist and Catholic concepts of religious freedom. Chapters five through seven examine how Dignitatis Humanae is applied in the countries of Spain, Mexico, and the United States, respectively. The conclusion of this dissertation finds that the Catholic hegemony thesis is correct and such a conclusion contributes to the on-going academic discussion of religious freedom, as well as impacts the formation of public policy in those countries where Dignitatis Humanae has influenced relations between government, the Catholic Church, and other religious groups.