.- The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, said this week a government-sponsored pornographic and blasphemous catalogue that insults the Virgin Mary and Jesus is a “crime” that is helping to” undermine and destroy” Spain.
In an article entitled, “Freedom at Risk,” the Cardinal wrote that in order to survive, “Spain needs to renew its acceptance and foster a greater respect” for her tradition and her history, “which is rooted in that which is truest of the Christian faith.”
In a state governed by the rule of law, the Cardinal continued, “we can and must demand that fundamental rights be observed and respected: the first of these is the right to religious freedom. The state itself, its institutions and persons, must refuse to have anything do with actions like the one that unfortunately concerns us now. This is not an error but rather the harming of fundamental rights. Refusing to get involved, on the other hand, is leading to deterioration in this area that is growing little by little and is becoming more extensive every day.”
Cardinal Cañizares noted that while denigration of the Koran is rightly met with statements of an almost quasi-institutional nature, “when it comes to Christ and that which is sacred to Christians, it seems then that everything goes and it doesn’t matter. Nobody gets upset. For sure, I am unaware in our case of any relevant persons condemning these acts as some did on other occasions regarding attacks against other religions.”
“When it’s about something having to do with the Church,” the Cardinal stressed, “everyone refuses to get involved and makes lukewarm and lame excuses that convince nobody. It’s not enough to say you’re sorry. Something more is demanded: the rejection of such expressions of attack against that which is most sacred; and this has yet to be done by those who should be doing so,” he emphasized.
While the Cardinal underscored that he was not calling for the state to embrace one particular confession, he said “an exclusive ideological secularism that does not safeguard the exercise of the right to religious freedom is unacceptable to me.”
“Everything that impedes, endangers, cuts off, or does not sufficiently and adequately promote the full recognition of religious freedom disfigures and destroys society,” he warned.
In the face of repeated insults and attacks against sacred realities and individuals, the Cardinal went on, bishops, priests and the laity often remain silent and put up with the disgrace, “perhaps in order not to alarm people, or for evangelical reasons or a sense of martyrdom.”
“But this cannot continue, for the good and for the wellbeing of our society, and above all, out of respect for the most sacred realities,” he said.
“Christians and all people of good hold that which is holy and sacred to others with the highest respect, and we demand that same respect for our convictions and the holy realities upon which our lives are sustained. Without that basic respect there is no peace nor authentic coexistence, nor freedom, nor future.”
In conclusion the Spanish Cardinal exhorted “the Christian people not to return evil for evil, but to respect everyone and to demand that we be respected, and to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. “With freedom of spirit let us show that secularism is never the path for a free society, that it has no future nor can it offer one.”