Thomas Pink

In Part II of my essay on Dignitatis Humanæ I explain and defend Thomas Pink’s interpretation. I had been struggling with the question of how Dignitatis Humanæ could be reconciled with earlier magisterial teaching for years when I heard Pink lecture on it, and suddenly a light went on. I felt like adapting Alexander Pope’s Epitaph on Newton:

Dignitatis Humanæ lay hid in Night:
God said, “Let Tom Pink be!” and all was light.

6 thoughts on “Thomas Pink

  1. Father, my apologies for a superficial reading due to the demands of work, and maybe you addressed it and I missed it, but if DH allows the Church to coerce the baptized in order to guide them in the right religious path, while denying such right to the state, and if that coercion goes beyond excommunication, ostracism and the like to the use of force, then I wonder how one can expect the state to tolerate the Church’s employment of, say, physical coercion, or, in civil law terms, assault and battery. In most Western countries the state monopoly on the use of force is even greater than it is in the US (unfortunately I cannot speak for Austria, having been there only rarely, sad to say), with the corresponding legal sanctions. It would seem, therefore, that as a practical matter DH only really contemplates the non-physical means of coercion by the Church, which of course have fallen into disuse today.

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    • And this is not even to ask the other obvious question, why the Muslims and in some cases the Hindus, don’t get the message of DH, if it is supposed to be derived from universal principles?

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    • Yes, as a practical matter, at the level of Church policy, the Church eschews the use of corporal punishment. Though, as Pink points out, it does still include some temporal penalties in canon law (depriving persons of benefices etc.)

      As to the question about the Hindus and Muslim: there can be obstacles to people understanding the natural law.

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