In secularized U.S., faith values “no longer welcome”
December 1st, 2010
Threats to religious freedom, especially in the secularized West, were a topic of reflection and prayer in Rome Nov. 19 as Pope Benedict XVI gathered with 150 members of the College of Cardinals and 24 cardinals-designate. The reflection covered threats to religious freedom in the Muslim world but began by noting the situation in the West. The Holy Father said that the relationship between truth and freedom is essential but today faces the great challenge of relativism, which seems to complete the concept of freedom but which actually risks destroying it and becoming an authentic “dictatorship.”
In an interview with Vatican Radio Nov. 19 on the eve of his induction into the College of Cardinals, Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl discussed his concerns about religious freedom in the world and in his own country:
“There are places around the world where you simply cannot openly worship – you cannot have a Catholic Church, cannot have a Christian community openly celebrating the sacraments,” he said. “I think this is something we as a people, the people on this planet, need to be concerned about. There are places where freedom of conscience and freedom of religion are simply denied, for lots of reasons. But I’m concerned about, in our country, we’re seeing now a rewriting of how freedom of conscience is being interpreted. It used to be we always made room for conscientious objection, we always made room for religious exemption. And now there are those that basically say freedom of religion means you can worship in your house of worship but it can’t overflow and have any impact in our culture. The religious values that are woven into the fabric of our history are no longer welcome, and I think that’s something we need to be very aware of and very alert to.”
From December 3, 2010 issue of Catholic San Francisco.