The Apostolic Administrator of Valencia in Spain, Cardinal Agustin Garcia-Gasco, called on Catholics last week to exercise their religious freedom in public because otherwise “they condemn the living and expressing of their faith to social clandestineness, limiting their creativity and impoverishing their contribution to the common good.”
In his weekly pastoral letter, the cardinal warned that if Catholics give in to living merely an underground faith, “Would we not be denying the right to exist in the society of our religiously inspired traditions, customs, art and culture?”
“This patrimony is the fruit of many successive generations, who passed it on to the generations of today so that, in their own creative way, they might pass it on to those of the future. This society is not the patrimony of the State but of the people, of the citizens. Included therein are the citizens who profess the Catholic faith,” he reminded his readers.
The cardinal also warned that the “triumph of radical secularism and an ideology of the State” carries with it “the silencing of God in public life,” which is manifested by the disregard for principles of the natural law or for the humanizing potential of the Gospel actively lived out on the basis of religious freedom.”
Therefore, he encouraged “all faithful Catholics and all people of good will to break with the culture of emptiness and hopelessness, to build a new way of living that springs forth from the Gospel,” a culture that respects the human dignity of all “with freedom, truth and openness to God.”
“Taking inspiration from the words of St. Vincent the Martyr spoken at the time of his death, I believe we cannot merely ‘whisper’ about the freedom and dignity of each human person, his innate fundamental rights, the truth about life and the family. We must proclaim the culture of love loud and clear,” the cardinal said.