Freedom of Religion
Robert J. McClory writes, "Beginning in 1950 Father John Courtney Murray, a Jesuit theologian, argued... that the state should not be the tool of the church and has no business carrying out the church's will" and that "the civil government's single yet profound obligation is to insure the freedom of all its citizens, especially their religious freedom" — Catholic dissent -- When wrong turns out to be right.
The Jesuit Father went on to "became a major drafter of the council's Declaration on Human Freedom. In its final form, approved in a vote by the world's bishops, 2,308 to 80, in 1965, the declaration said, 'This synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups, or any human power . . . This synod further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person, as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and reason itself.'"
John Zmirak writes on the "realization that inspired the Church at Vatican II to renounce forever the right of Catholic states to practice religious intolerance" — Should We Tolerate Intolerance? "The sheer hypocrisy of demanding liberty for the subjugated Christians of Communist Europe, while telling Spanish Protestants, 'Error has no rights,' became insupportable," he suggests, "and the Church made a major revision in her social teaching: While the State can defend the natural law and gently promote the true religion, citizens should not be restricted in their private or public practice of their faith -- apart from activities that threaten public order."
"It is not the job of the state to repress religious error, defend the integrity of the gospel, or protect its 'helpless' citizens from injurious ideas," he writes, arguing that "we must take the Church's new formulation as authoritative" and "we should willingly renounce what the Church has renounced, and move on into the future -- one where the freedom and dignity of each human being has a permanent claim against any repressive state, however redemptive its intentions."
[links via Reditus: A Chronicle of Aesthetic Christianity and Tea at Trianon respectively]