.- Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia has denounced attempts to impose secularism in Spain, calling it “a new state religion” that seeks to relegate the practice of the Catholic faith to the private sphere.
The AVAN news agency reports that in a new pastoral letter, the archbishop warns of attempts to “prevent any kind of public display of religion, and especially the Catholic faith, thus denying freedom of expression and excluding [religion] from all dialogue.”
Archbishop Garcia-Gasco pointed to various signs, such as constant criticism of the Church, the elimination of religions symbols and the relegation of faith to the private sphere, as “keys” to discovering who is seeking to impose secularism.
“The (lay) State cannot impose religion, but it must guarantee that the followers of different religions can live in freedom and peace,” he explained. The Church operates in independence on basis of the faith she professes, the archbishop stressed, “which the State must respect.”
Catholics are very clear: Church and State are two distinct spheres,” he said, recalling the words of Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est, where the Pope says that the Church does not seek to have “power over the State, much less to impose its perspectives and ways of behaving on those who do not share the faith.”
One of the pillars of Christianity, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco noted, is its “commitment to charity for those most in need,” from which comes her “commitment to justice.” “The Church has always practiced charity directly and nothing prevents her from collaborating with the governments of each nation to promote social justice,” he stated.
In this sense, the archbishop explained that the collaboration between Church and State does not lead to confusion between the two institutions, as justice “is a point of convergence between faith and politics.”