.- The president of the Bishops Conference of Spain and Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco, said last week the secularism referred to by Pope John Paul II in his message to the Spanish bishops is a common problem throughout Europe. âWe can see that the situation in Europe is more or less the same in all of the countries,â the cardinal said, adding that this is not âa problem of a juridical natureâ because agreements between each country exist, but rather it must be seen âfrom a cultural, spiritual and doctrinal point of view.â
Cardinal Roucoâs comments, which were made during a radio program, were picked up by the Italian daily âAvvenire.â
According to the cardinal, it cannot be said the Church in Spain is âunder siegeâ but there do âexist some problems with the public administration.â He also argued the Popeâs message criticizing Spanish secularism was not âsevereâ but was rather a âforcefully expressedâ call.
Cardinal Rouco maintained the current problem is due to a return to âpositivism and relativism and the total separation between morality and law.â In this context, he said, it is necessary that âChristians assume the social responsibility of what it means to be Christians, and avoid living as such solely at home, without having any affect on their surroundings.â
The cardinalâs statements came during a tense week. The Popeâs message to the bishops of Spain was not well-received by the Socialist government, and officials convened a meeting with Spainâs Nuncio, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, to express their âsurpriseâ at the Popeâs words. The Holy Seeâs spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, responded by reminding the government it should attentively read the Popeâs entire message.