In a recent pastoral letter, Bishop Jose Ignacio Munilla of Palencia in Spain denounced the growing secularization and atheistic secular ideology that is persecuting young people to the point of making them feel “neurotic and ashamed” of their Christian faith.
In his letter, the bishop recalled the words of Pope Benedict XVI to the young people gathered for World Youth Day in Sydney, where he criticized the growing secularism in which young people have to live.
“Without reaching the point of physical persecution, in our days there exist very subtle and effective means of coercing a young person, so that in practice, his religious freedom is limited. The secularized concept of existence, united with secularist ideology, finds decisive support in those who promote public cultural initiatives, as well as wide diffusion by most of the mass media.”
“This contributes,” he said, “to making the Christian faith seem countercultural in our society.”
Bishop Munilla went to note that this kind of persecution is extremely effective and merciless, as it makes its victims “feel neurotic and embarrassed about themselves.” “Is it normal that immigrants of other faiths feel more comfortable practicing their religion in the West (which has Christian roots!) than Catholic young people themselves?” he asked.
After recalling that during WYD 2000 in Rome, John Paul II did not hide from young people “the difficulty of following Christ in the present moment, but rather at the same time gave them a message of hope,” Bishop Munilla pointed out that the “pontificate of Benedict XVI has added a philosophical reflection to denounce the same existential situation described by John Paul II. In effect, it was Joseph Ratzinger who coined the phrase, ‘dictatorship of relativism’.”
“In these last years we have been witnesses repeated times to how the appeal to the ‘principle of tolerance’ has been nothing more than the first step to imposing an obligatory secularist ideology,” he added.