Cardinal Ratzinger Sees Danger in "Radical Secularism"

It Could Destroy Humanism, He Warns

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ROME, DEC. 2, 2004 ( Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger expressed his profound concern over the spread of the phenomenon described as a «radical secularism.»

«We are in a very grave moment, radical secularism may destroy humanism,» reducing everything to mere materialism, trade and the «predominance of the market,» the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said Wednesday when addressing a meeting of Salesians.

This view, he said, considers Europe «only from the thesis of the Enlightenment, excluding what is Christian and Catholic,» as well as other historical, cultural and religious roots.

From this view derive the currents that promote the acceptance of scientific experiments, no matter how unbridled, and the request to equate marriage with other models of union — even to the point where «the individual can choose the sex to which he or she belongs,» said the dean of the College of Cardinals.

This view does not take into account the «expectations of many lay sectors that seek a dialogue to help to reinforce a new European identity,» said the cardinal, according to Vatican Radio.

«The Second Vatican Council stated that the Church wishes to dialogue with the modern world and the Church today desires it even more,» Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized.

In recent months, John Paul II and several officials in the Roman Curia have clarified the difference between a healthy separation of church and state, and a secularism, or laicism, which seeks to deny all public manifestation of religion.

Vatican Radio also reported a public statement made Wednesday by Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in which he explained: «Secularism is a value recognized by the Church,» but «unfortunately, a secularism prevails today that is often intolerant» and «increasingly anti-Christian.»

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