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At the Second Vatican Council, Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., persuaded the Catholic Church to abandon its long, and absolute, opposition to the separation of church and state. He brought a new concept of religious freedom to the Catholic Church. In honor of Murray, this essay looks at several current ways “religious freedom” harms individual rights.

The article describes the ministerial exception, which gives religious organizations the right to dismiss many employment discrimination lawsuits brought against them. It studies women’s right to contraceptive access, which has long been opposed by the Catholic hierarchy, and where employers have earned a legal right not to offer women contraceptive insurance. And it looks at LGBTs’ right to marry, which has received constant opposition from the church, even after the Supreme Court legalized it.

These three topics give us reason to reconsider how much religious freedom religious institutions should enjoy.

Publication Citation

50 Loy. U. Chi. L.J 77 (2018).