VALENCIA, Spain, DEC. 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is warning that the lack of faith is the greatest threat of today’s world.
“The lack of faith in God, the loss of the sense of God that lacerates our world, I perceive and regard as the greatest indigence, the gravest threat of the most disastrous consequences for our time,” Cardinal Antonio Cañizares said.
This threat is generating “a moral collapse that calls urgently for its rebuilding,” he added.
The cardinal made these comments during an address Thursday after he received an honorary doctorate from the Valencia Catholic University St. Vincent Martyr.
He stated, “There is nothing that makes me suffer more or worries me more than the crisis of God that contemporary humanity is suffering, the absence of God, camouflaged at times also by an empty religiosity.”
The cardinal titled his address “In Defense of Man and the Essential Structure of Society: The Action of a Bishop.”
He called for hope through a realistic recognition of what is happening and expressed his conviction that “although, for a society such as ours, closed to the future, the foundations of hope are lacking, God will not let it fail disastrously.”
Hence, the prelate continued, “I am urged to be a witness and spokesman of hope, to encourage hope, to look to the future, to help others to open to the future and to point out ways that lead to it.”
He said, “What we Christians can and must offer the world and society is the Good News of the Incarnation-Redemption of Christ and the truth about man that is revealed and verified in the experience of that event, lived in the communion of the Church.”
“That is all our wealth,” Cardinal Cañizares affirmed, “and we must offer it with as much simplicity as transparency, knowing by our own experience that it is an inestimable and decisive good for people’s lives.”
The cardinal concluded by noting that “all the currents of thought of our old world should consider what the dark consequences would be of excluding God from public life, he who is the ultimate judge of ethics and supreme guarantor against all the abuses of power exercised by man over man.”
“Rooted in this faith,” he added, “is ultimately the contribution of the Church to the necessary essential structure of society.”
Attending the ceremony to honor the cardinal were civil authorities, among them the president of the Valencian Generalitat, Francisco Camps; the president of the Valencian courts, Milagrosa Martínez; and the leader of the autonomous opposition party, Jorge Alarte.
Also present were ten prelates, including Cardinal Agustín García-Gasco, former archbishop of Valencia.
The ceremony was presided over by the archbishop of Valencia and grand chancellor of the Catholic University of Valencia, Archbishop Carlos Osoro, who pointed out the importance to defend the truth of man and his dignity.
For his part, Francisco Camps said that in 21st century society it is essential to have “respect, tolerance and the liberty of citizens and of their dignity as persons to ensure coexistence and the common good.”
He spoke about Cardinal Cañizares as “an exemplary Valencian who has dedicated his life to the priceless work of transmitting essential values and teachings for the Valencian society of today and the forthcoming generations.”
Camps added that “any responsible person defends the compatibility between the Church and society or between public life and faith, as well as between science and religion or between knowledge and values.”