Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz, Argentina has denounced a proposal to remove religious symbols from public places in the country's province of Santa Fe.
The archbishop called Congresswoman Alicia Gutierrez's plan “unjust” and said it needlessly provokes confrontation over “problems that don’t exist.”
In a reflection published Nov. 19, Archbishop Arancedo said the presence of religious symbols in the life and history of a community has an important purpose that must be understood and respected. “The religious or cultural history of a people cannot be erased on the basis of a so-called progressive cultural mind-set,” the archbishop wrote.
He noted that the most important events in Argentina’s history have been marked by explicit and public references to God, such as the drafting of the country’s Constitution, “which openly contains an invocation of God, ‘the source of all reason and justice’.”
“The fact that we are proud to live in the ‘birthplace of the Constitution’ should not lead us to forget the religious roots of our forefathers,” the archbishop stressed. “They are our inheritance and we have been raised with them.” Our forefathers “did not discriminate against anyone. On the contrary, their faith made them open to all and respectful of all,” he added.
There is no basis to the claim that the presence of religious symbols in public constitutes discrimination, the archbishop emphasized. “Our lawmakers need historical maturity, social respect and political prudence” in dealing with this proposal, he concluded.