Montserrat Gas-Aixendri is a Full Professor of Law and Religion at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)
Today, the political, social and cultural context in which the question of religious freedom is posed has significantly changed. In the West, the different forms of religious affiliation affect in a new way the composition of personal identity, the interpretation of social ties and the pursuit of the common good in a structurally interreligious, intercultural and inter-ethnic social context. The International Theological Commission analyzes in the document “Religious Freedom for the Good of All”, the new challenges of religious freedom since the promulgation of the conciliar Declaration Dignitatis Humanae in 1965.
Two key aspects of this new scenario are (1) the interactions between the liberal democratic State and its idea of religious neutrality; and (2) the social role of religious communities. Traditionally, the various forms of religious communities have been perceived socially as important factors of mediation between individuals and the State. Today the relevance of religious communities is compromised against the liberal-democratic model of the State and the techno-economic direction of civil society (para. 2).