Civiltà Cattolica Urges Dialogue With World

No Need for Catholics to Feel Besieged, Says Review

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ROME, DEC. 22, 2004 (ZENIT.org).- Christians seek “humane” laws to protect the rights of society’s weakest members, but this does not mean that they want to make laws only for themselves, says La Civiltà Cattolica.

The bimonthly journal, whose texts are reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State, asked if “the Church and its moral principles are attacked today by secularism to the point that it could be considered a ‘besieged fortress.'”

It responded by saying that “the Church should not feel itself besieged nor should it abstain from confirming its own teachings, founded in the person of Jesus Christ, underlining that what the Church teaches not only has a religious affinity but one that is also properly humane.”

“It appears to us that today Christians don’t have to be surprised or scandalized by the fact that ideological secularism rejects the faith and Christian morals and fights against them,” said the journal in an article entitled “The Church: Fortress or Besieged?”

“This condition in which today Christians live shouldn’t lead them to either enclose themselves in silence, or to adapt attitudes of a crusader against the modern world,” said the article.

The writers suggested that “Christians have to enter into dialogue with the men of our time, showing and demonstrating in dialogue that the Church wants to contribute to making society more humane.”

“At times a growing aggressiveness is shown toward Catholics due to secularism,” said the journal. “Secularism [‘laicismo’] frequently tends to loose its characteristics of secularity and convert itself into an ideological secularism, and thus, intolerant and aggressive.”

The article made a distinction between secularity and secularism: “Political secularity is not against religion; rather it gives space to the religions present in its territory, without giving privilege or excluding any particular one.

“Secularism, however, tends to turn more and more into an ideology, not only indifferent to religion but also against religion, and as a result, intolerant of it. In particular, this is how the Catholic religion is treated.”

“In this manner, being an ideology against religion and anti-Catholic, secularism today tends to confine religion to the private sphere and prohibit it from all public spaces and events,” said the article.

“This means that a Catholic can profess liberally his own faith in his conscience and practice it in places of worship, but it also impedes them from expressing their moral and religious convictions, especially when it concerns a person with a public function,” it added.

“This also means that one does not have to give credence to the Catholic religion in the foundation of the European civilization or say that its presence was something positive for its development,” it added.

Why such caution with Catholics? asked the editors. “The secularist reaction is explained perhaps with the fear that Catholics could make their ethical principles prevail in the legislative arena, and for this, be an obstacle to those who practice the liberalization of customs.”

The article ended by recalling that “the Gospel that the Church proclaims is the Gospel of Life that promotes the happiness of all men and the well-being of society.”

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