Loading
US bishops warn of radical secularism in Senate testimony
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 29
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 29
By Benjamin Mann
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The U.S. bishops told a Senate subcommittee on March 29 that Catholics face growing threats to their religious liberty because of a “radical secular perspective” that seeks to eliminate moral judgments from public life.

“Religious communities, including our own Catholic community, have suffered from and still experience religious bigotry, bias and prejudice,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, D.C. He testified on behalf of the U.S. bishops at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing prompted by concerns about America Muslims' civil rights.

Cardinal McCarrick said that most instances of religious intolerance in modern Western countries are not motivated by sectarian tension between different faiths. Today, he observed, religious intolerance more often originates from “a radical secular perspective that insists that no moral principle or religious belief should ever challenge individual decisions.”

The cardinal acknowledged some U.S. Muslims' concerns about prejudice and suspicion, heightened by a March 2010 House of Representatives hearing on “radical Islam.” He recalled that Catholics' own history “as an immigrant people and a religious minority” was “filled with stories of persecution, suspicion fear, and intolerance.”

Cardinal McCarrick explained that the Catholic Church upholds the civil liberty of all religious believers who live in accordance with society's common good and the natural law. “It is the duty of the Church,” he said, “to urge all people of good will to avoid all forms of religious bigotry, bias and hateful words that injure the dignity of persons.”

But the cardinal pointed out that “offenses against the religious liberty of Catholics” are “not merely a thing of the past.”

“Indeed,” he said, “it continues to be important to raise the issue today.”

“Acts of bias and discrimination towards Catholics and our beliefs are often expressed very publicly,” Cardinal McCarrick noted. “For example, we are charged with discrimination or called 'bigots' when we advocate for the traditional understanding of marriage between one man and one woman, which many religious and non religious traditions have supported throughout human history.”

“We advocate for an authentic vision of marriage not to offend or to treat people unjustly, but to offer a positive and healthy model of the human family, which has served as the foundation of society throughout the ages.”

“The identity and integrity of our Catholic social institutions, or indeed those of other religious traditions, are also being threatened,” he continued.

Cardinal McCarrick warned that when “the state narrowly defines in legislation which religious institutions are 'religious enough' to enjoy religious freedom protections, or when the state imposes restrictions on how religious institutions and individuals are able to serve those in need, the ability to exercise religious freedom in an effective and authentic manner is greatly undermined.”

“There are well known contemporary examples,” he reminded lawmakers, “where the state would force religious groups and individuals to choose between following their religious beliefs and practices and following the dictates of law.”

“Where is the respect for religious freedom in compelling a religious entity to act in ways which contradict its most basic moral principles?” he asked.

Cardinal McCarrick said that it was especially important for the United States to show the Muslim world an example of healthy religious pluralism, rather than giving in to an aggressively secularized vision of social life.

“As predominantly Muslim societies wrestle with how to treat religious minorities, let them look to our nation,” he said, “where we work to ensure that their Muslim sisters and brothers are treated with dignity and their religious identity and beliefs are treated with respect.”

“Let them see a people blessed with hard won religious freedom, living out our commitment to the rights of all by demonstrating full respect for the identity, integrity and freedom of all religions and their institutions.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
22

Liturgical Calendar

November 22, 2014

Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 20:27-40

Gospel
Date
11/22/14
11/21/14
11/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 11: 4-12
Gospel:: Lk 20: 27-40

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14