Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina criticized a proposal by the country’s Chief Justice Carmen Argibay to remove crucifixes from the courtroom, saying such a move would leave the country empty of transcendent values and at the mercy of agnosticism and relativism.
During his program, “Keys to a Better World,” the archbishop explained that the proposal is in reality a call to relegate religious expression to the private sphere, especially since it was made by a person “who has publicly expressed her atheism.”
Beyond its meaning for Christians, he said, the crucifix is “a universal sign that lifts up love among mankind and the triumph of good over evil.” For this reason, “It is unthinkable that in Argentina, where freedom of worship peacefully holds sway, someone could be traumatized because crucifixes are hung in the halls of justice.”
“This goes for those on trial, whether innocent or guilty, as well as the judges themselves,” the archbishop continued. “Each of them can recognize in the sign of the cross the mystery of a superior justice; better yet, the mystery of a mercy that is bigger than the judgment of man.
“If those who administer justice were to assiduously contemplate that sacrifice, there would be fewer complaints against them,” the archbishop said.
Regarding the secularism of the state invoked by Argibay, Archbishop Aguer explained that “the religious neutrality of the state cannot be absolute because absolutizing that neutrality inevitably will lead to the atheism of the state. And thus there would be no neutrality.”
The archbishop then pointed to the example of the Soviet Union, “which always maintained in its written Constitution the affirmation of freedom of religion,” however there was still a “monstrous persecution of the Church and of all religion for 70 years.”
Archbishop Aguer warned that Argibay’s proposal to remove the crucifixes is reflective of the “progressive minorities” that ignore or have disdain for the sentiments of the majority. “Religious expression is a sign of authentic humanism for our people,” the archbishop said.