Bishop Manuel Ureña of Cartagena, Spain, denounced this week in an interview the growth and spread of secular fundamentalism in the West, as well as the presence of Islamic fundamentalism.
Asked about the secular tendencies inspired by the French model and which seek to exclude religion from society, Bishop Ureña said they were “simply an attempt to deny us our freedom of expression.”
“I have spoken on a few occasions about what we might call religious and secular fundamentalism. Today in the West we are seeing the emergence of a secular fundamentalism. We know that fundamentalism consists of establishing an absolute truth. It’s about making a conviction, whether held by an individual or a group, into an absolute, and thereby imposing it on others,” he said.
Bishop Ureña said such imposition “can be done in a brutal way, as has happened in the past, or by cultivating and promoting it in a more civilized way, with white gloves, but with mechanisms that are equally perverse, even though they are hidden, and which seek to imprint this conviction in the consciences of everyone.”
Although he clarified that Islam itself should not be identified with fundamentalism, the 59 year-old bishop pointed out that “it is very difficult not to blame that fundamentalism on the Koran.”
Nevertheless, Bishop Ureña said he was more concerned about secular fundamentalism, “which does not respect democracy at all, because it attempts to control society and instigate a secularist stereotype.”
According to the bishop, this is manifested, for example, in attempts by the media, by lawmakers and through advertising to make Christians believe that their vision of world is outdated and that they should be isolated into a corner of society.
“In this sense, both in Spain and in the entire West, the Catholic Church is under pressure from a secular fundamentalism,” he said.
Bishop Ureña also pointed to the omission of a reference to Christianity in the European Union Constitution. “Western Europe was born of a totally Christian identity. The Greek and Roman heritage…are less of a factor in the birth of the West than Christianity. Nevertheless, there are those who seem to be embarrassed at presenting Christianity as a factor in the emergence of the West,” he said.