Conscientious objection is part of religious freedom, commission says

By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Full recognition of religious freedom must include recognition of the right of believers to conscientiously object to participating in activities that violate their religious beliefs and religiously inspired moral values, said the International Theological Commission.

“The church expects that its members can live their faith freely and that their conscience rights will be safeguarded,” the document said. “Living the faith can sometimes require conscientious objection.”

Recognizing the right of everyone to believe or not believe, to join a religion, change religions, worship and behave publicly in accordance with their beliefs flows from a recognition that true faith always is a gift that must be freely chosen, the commission said in “Religious Liberty for the Good of All.”