Many arguments given in favor of religious liberty argue that Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae was crafted to protect the Church by giving it breathing room in the new modern liberal secular states that had solidified power after the two World Wars. However, it is clear that Dignitatis Humanae (or at least the interpretation of the document) has been used to deconstruct and destroy traditionally Catholic countries in which the Church was given pride of place.
In his his forth coming Lessons in Hope, George Weigel argues that he (and the other Catholic neocons) wanted to use John Paul II as a figure not only to try to secure the Church a space in the public sphere in liberal democracies but to cripple traditionally Catholic countries. While visiting Poland in 2012, Weigel writes of his shock that the Polish people had not accepted American liberalism and still wanted to be Polish Catholics :
“Throughout the week, though, I was struck by how poorly John Paul II’s intellectual project had been received and internalized in Poland, with the exception of my Polish Dominican friends, a few other scholars in Lublin and elsewhere, and a scattering of journalists, politicians, and laypeople. Poland’s emotional attachment to the late Pope was massively evident the year before in Rome, at his beatification. But John Paul’s vision of a public Church that was not a partisan Church, a Church that shaped public life by forming culture through the evangelization and catechesis of the people, was not much in evidence in twenty-first century Poland, sadly. That impression was a portent of difficulties to come in Polish public life.”
Weigel thus believes that the Church in Poland is still too militant, too traditional and too strong, and the Polish people should have heeded Weigel’s presentation of John Paul II and Vatican II as advocating American style “religious freedom.” He further strangely argues that this militancy of the Polish Church would lead to “difficulties” in Polish public life. Was that supposed to be a threat? What exactly is the goal of Catholic neocons? Should he be happy that Poland is still so proudly Catholic?