Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Sebastian of Pamplona in Spain is defending the right of Catholics to live their faith without restrictions in response to the publication of the secular “ten commandment” by a newspaper supportive of the Socialist party.
The archbishop summarized the “commandments” compiled by the newspaper Publico and called them a “barrier for excluding Christianity from society.”
“1. You shall teach with equality. The equality imposed by secularism is understood as one without any reference to God or to any religion, not even to the transcendence of the human being.
2. You shall not preach outside the pulpit. This means religious expression can only be tolerated inside churches. The teaching of religion in schools must be eliminated.
3. You shall not impose your symbols on the State. Official acts must be strictly secular. State funerals and even Catholic weddings for the royal family are not permitted.
4. You shall not mix the earthly with the heavenly. No hymns, no flags, no officials at religious ceremonies, no religious symbols in official state business.
5. You shall not monopolize holidays. They seek to remove religious holidays and make them civil commemorations.
6. You shall not invade public institutions. With the exception of hospital chaplains, military chaplains and the existence of the Military Ordinary.
7. We shall control the patrimony. The Church must recognize that Cathedrals, Museums and Monasteries are public property.
8. We shall facilitate apostasy. No explanation is required here.
9. You shall not appear in the public media. Religious programs must be eliminated from state-run media.
10. Not one dime for the Church. It shall not even be acceptable to designate a portion of one’s income to the Church on tax returns.
Bishop Sebastian said that according to these commandments, “the Church, Catholics, the Christian religion doesn’t deserve the same consideration and assistance that is given to sports, movies, or beauty pageants. The only thing left for them to do is fine us for being Catholics,” he added.
The bishop also defended the right of public expression for all citizens, saying, “Citizens have the perfect right to live and act religiously in all areas of our personal, family and social lives, according to our consciences and in accord with our desires. No human authority has the right to outlaw this.”
Bishop Sebastian warned that secularists are motivated by a totalitarian concept of the State. “According to this mentality, the State is a sort of Supreme Being that is above us and tells us how to live. But this is not reality,” he said. “It’s the State that must conform to the society it serves, and not the other way around. This is the essence of democracy. The opposite is dictatorship and totalitarianism.”
“In the case of religion, the only thing the State has to do, which is not much, is protect the freedom of citizens so that each one can exercise and freely express his own religion, according to his own conscience, without bothering or attacking the freedom or the legitimate rights of anyone. Therefore correct secularism, as well as non-sectarianism, consists in that the State protects the religious freedom of society and of citizens to practice the religion they believe, without meddling in religious questions that are beyond its competence,” the bishop added.
“If Spanish Catholics want to remain free and responsible, we will have to begin to take these matters seriously. It’s not a matter of the bishops, but rather something that directly concerns all of society and all citizens. What is at risk is not the privileges of priests, but rather the freedom of Spanish citizens to live freely according to their consciences.”