In my previous post I replied to Christopher Tollefesen's critique of my Public Discourse essay on Catholic confessional states. Public Discourse has now published a second critique. Robert T. Miller is the author.
In my reply to Tollefsen I noted that John Courtney Murray and Charles Curran, who both disapprove of the Church's integralist teaching, respond to it in different ways. Murray interprets the integralism out of it by historicizing it and Curran argues that it is simply erroneous. Miller takes Curran's approach.
A strong point in Miller's response to me is his insistence that we use more precise theological language to talk about the Church's teaching. I am happy to concede that my language wasn't as precise as it could have been. In my Public Discourse essay and what I have written at Thomistica I have had an educated but non-specialist audience in mind, so I have minimized technical language as much as possible. That might have been a mistake on my part.
Miller wants to argue that Leo XIII and the other popes whose Church-state teaching agrees with his were mistaken. According to Miller, the Church changed her teaching on this point starting with Dignitatis humanae. He makes what may be the strongest hermeneutics of discontinuity argument that can be made. It seems stronger to me than Rhonheimer's. But, in the end, Miller's arguments only have the force of probability and, I would say, a pretty weak probability at that.
Perhaps I will have the occasion in the future to offer lengthier comments on Miller's essay. I would encourage you to read it for yourself and see what you think.
UPDATE (July 30): We've been traveling, so I haven't been able to dedicate any serious time to thinking about the issues mentioned in the above post. Today, as I was going back over De Smedt's comments as relator on DH's continuity with preconciliar teaching (which I mentioned in my Public Discourse essay), especially its articulation by Leo XIII, I wondered whether it was too generous to say that Miller's arguments have the force of a weak probability. I think a case could be made independently of an appeal to the statements of De Smedt recorded in the Acta but these statements can't be overlooked.