Archbishop Chaput: "Systematic Discrimination Against Church Now Seems Inevitable"
SPISSKE, PODHRADIE, Slovakia, August 25, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - MUST READ Excerpts from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's address to the 15th symposium for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia on Tuesday:Definitely read the whole thing.
Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several decades, Christianity will become a faith that can speak in the public square less and less freely. A society where faith is prevented from vigorous public expression is a society that has fashioned the state into an idol. And when the state becomes an idol, men and women become the sacrificial offering.
We face an aggressively secular political vision and a consumerist economic model that result - in practice, if not in explicit intent -- in a new kind of state-encouraged atheism.
To put it another way: The Enlightenment-derived worldview that gave rise to the great murder ideologies of the last century remains very much alive. Its language is softer, its intentions seem kinder, and its face is friendlier. But its underlying impulse hasn't changed -- i.e., the dream of building a society apart from God; a world where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity.
This vision presumes a frankly "post-Christian" world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture.
In the United States, a nation that is still 80 percent Christian with a high degree of religious practice, government agencies now increasingly seek to dictate how Church ministries should operate, and to force them into practices that would destroy their Catholic identity. Efforts have been made to discourage or criminalize the expression of certain Catholic beliefs as "hate speech." Our courts and legislatures now routinely take actions that undermine marriage and family life, and seek to scrub our public life of Christian symbolism and signs of influence.
In Europe, we see similar trends, although marked by a more open contempt for Christianity. Church leaders have been reviled in the media and even in the courts for simply expressing Catholic teaching.
The West is now steadily moving in the direction of that new "inhuman humanism." And if the Church is to respond faithfully, we need to draw upon the lessons that your Churches learned under totalitarianism.
Relativism is now the civil religion and public philosophy of the West. Again, the arguments made for this viewpoint can seem persuasive. Given the pluralism of the modern world, it might seem to make sense that society should want to affirm that no one individual or group has a monopoly on truth; that what one person considers to be good and desirable another may not; and that all cultures and religions should be respected as equally valid.
In practice, however, we see that without a belief in fixed moral principles and transcendent truths, our political institutions and language become instruments in the service of a new barbarism. In the name of tolerance we come to tolerate the cruelest intolerance; respect for other cultures comes to dictate disparagement of our own; the teaching of "live and let live" justifies the strong living at the expense of the weak.
Writing in the 1960s, Richard Weaver, an American scholar and social philosopher, said: "I am absolutely convinced that relativism must eventually lead to a regime of force."
He was right. There is a kind of "inner logic" that leads relativism to repression.
This explains the paradox of how Western societies can preach tolerance and diversity while aggressively undermining and penalizing Catholic life. The dogma of tolerance cannot tolerate the Church's belief that some ideas and behaviors should not be tolerated because they dehumanize us. The dogma that all truths are relative cannot allow the thought that some truths might not be.
The Catholic beliefs that most deeply irritate the orthodoxies of the West are those concerning abortion, sexuality and the marriage of man and woman. This is no accident. These Christian beliefs express the truth about human fertility, meaning and destiny.
These truths are subversive in a world that would have us believe that God is not necessary and that human life has no inherent nature or purpose. Thus the Church must be punished because, despite all the sins and weaknesses of her people, she is still the bride of Jesus Christ; still a source of beauty, meaning and hope that refuses to die -- and still the most compelling and dangerous heretic of the world's new order.
The full 12-page talk can be read here.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Pope Critical of Labour’s "Unjust" Equality Laws Ahead of UK Visit
Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty
Bork Predicts “Terrible Conflict” Will Endanger U.S. Catholics’ Religious Freedom
Same-Sex "Marriage" and the Persecution of Civil Society
InsideCatholic on "The Unintended Consequences of Gay Marriage"
Secularist Attacks on the Catholic Church in Britain
Regular Guy Paul on What's Next for Same-Sex "Marriage"
Federal Judge: Catholic Church’s Position Against Homosexual Adoptions Justifies Government Hostility Towards Church
San Francisco's Hateful Anti-Catholic Resolution Prompts Lawsuit by Thomas More Center
Catholic League Says Gay Adoption Issue Spurring Anti-Catholic Bigotry
9th Circuit Rules Okay to Censor Terms "Marriage" and "Family Values" as Hate Speech
UK Catholic Schools Endangered by Sexual Orientation Regulations
Official Anti-Catholic Bigotry Returns to British Parliament
"A Charter for Suing Christians"
A Catholic Londoner on "The Last Acceptable Prejudice"
British Bishops: U.K. Sex Equality Law "Threatens Catholic Adoption Agencies"
UK: Churches "Could be Forced to Bless Gay Weddings"
The Coming Persecution of Churches Over "Gay Marriage"
The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty