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Secular states must not restrict religious freedom, cautions priest

.- Father Manuel Corral, public relations director for the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico, warned last week that the reform of Mexico's constitution establishing the country as secular must not “muzzle” religious freedom.

In his remarks, the priest explained that “if by 'secular,' one means not identifying with any particular religion, then I am in agreement. However, if it means simply to silence or restrict freedom of expression, religious freedom, then it is being misinterpreted.”

Fr. Corral pointed out that a secular country can serve society well, however he added that “It would be sad if this were understood as simply muzzling the churches and restricting the religious freedom of citizens.”

While the priest said he has not yet had a chance to analyze the congressional proposal that would implement this reform, he said such changes should not lead to “a return to past centuries” in Mexico, in which the State was all-powerful, absolute and silenced citizens and organizations.

“No constitution today is going to be subject to a specific creed,” Fr. Corral said, pointing to the U.S. as an example where people of different beliefs can share opinions and enter into dialogue.

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