"One of the strongest and most difficult enemies of a tolerant society and for a culture of coexistence is the relativism and collapse of ethics which can be found in many aspects of contemporary culture," said the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, in his opening speech at the 40th Social Week in Spain.
In his address at Toledo’s Rojo Theater, beneath a banner reading, "Christian Proposals for a culture of coexistence", the prelate stated, "when tolerance is understood as relative indifference it underestimates every glimpse of personal or collective conviction, or when the belief that there are no absolute truths dominates - that every truth is contingent and revisable and that every certainty is a symptom of immaturity and dogmatism, or when it considers that neither are there values deserving permanent and unconditional adherence then it is very difficult to build a tolerant society and a culture of coexistence."
The archbishop cited Pope John Paul II as he reminded, "there is always someone who considers ethical relativism a condition of democracy, since it guarantees tolerance, the mutual respect between people and the adherence to the decisions of the majority, while moral norms, considered to be objective and mandatory, would lead to authoritarianism and to intolerance".
"But when there is a lack of moral norms, mandatory and objective for all, for example in the respect of life, we can all see the serious consequences that arise," he insisted.
"A tolerant society and a culture of coexistence is founded on the truth that makes us free and is fulfilled in love. A society that destroys or diminishes liberty - truth founded liberty - or weakens and degrades the reality of love or the word 'love', leads to a road of intolerance. Therefore, if we want to be free and to build a tolerant society, let us seek and serve the truth that is fulfilled in love," he said.
"For any Christian, being tolerant and an agent of a culture of coexistence, should not be just an ornament, it’s part of his essence, the archbishop continued, because the Christian is a man of communion, of dialogue, and of encounter; because he was born out of love, of the communion, of the dialogue and of the encounter of God with man through his Son Jesus Christ."
"Communion, coexistence, and tolerance do not exist when the community imposes itself on men; tolerance is not real if some coexist with one another in indifference, seeking only their own advantages and interests", he added.
"True tolerance tends naturally to communion and only arises when one perceives the undeniable dignity of one’s neighbor and diversity as wealth, when you recognize your neighbor with the same dignity and are willing to communicate your own capacities and gifts", emphasized the prelate of Toledo.
"We need to live in tolerance, understanding this as obligatory respect to the conscience and to other people’s convictions; we need it as a firm base for a coexistence in liberty. We need it abundantly in this intolerant world, unfortunately, it is rejected everywhere," he noted.