Pope Says ‘Radical Secularism’ is Threat to Freedom of Religion, Conscience in United StatesBy Francis X. Rocca and Sarah Delaney, Catholic News Service
Posted on: Monday, May 21st, 2012
Pope Benedict XVI warned visiting U.S. bishops that “radical secularism” threatens the core values of American culture, and he called on the church in America, including politicians and other laypeople, to render “public moral witness” on crucial social issues.
The pope spoke Jan. 19 to a group of U.S. bishops who were in Rome for their periodic “ad limina” visits, which included meetings with the pope and Vatican officials, covering a wide range of pastoral matters.
Opening with a dire assessment of the state of American society, the pope told the bishops that “powerful new cultural currents” have worn away the country’s traditional moral consensus, which was originally based on religious faith as well as ethical principles derived from natural law.
Whether they claim the authority of science or democracy, the pope said, militant secularists seek to stifle the Church’s proclamation of these “unchanging moral truths.” Such a movement inevitably leads to the prevalence of “reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.”
The pope drew an opposition between current “notions of freedom detached from moral truth” and Catholicism’s “rational perspective” on morality, founded on the conviction that the “cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning.” Using the “language” of natural law, he said, the Church should promote social justice by “proposing rational arguments in public square.”
Coming at the start of an election year, Pope Benedict’s words were clearly relevant to American politics, a connection he made explicit by mentioning threats to “that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”Follow this link to read more.