Archbishop of Valencia: Government must respect common good and not impose on majority

Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, warned this week that “radicalism and the harsh imposition of policies is intolerable” in a democratic society made up of active participants.

In a pastoral letter entitled, “Institutional Loyalty and Democratic Maturity,” the archbishop maintained that the citizens who make up a democratic society “have their own convictions” and they abhor a government that seeks to tell them what they have to believe.

Arbitrary action by government officials, he added, “fosters a serious political contradiction” and constitutes a severe blow to “the good sense of citizens who desire to live in unity and peace.”

In his letter the archbishop recalled that the virtue proper to government officials is that of “loyalty to the community and institutional loyalty,” which demands that “those electoral proposals that conflict with the good of persons and of society be rectified.”

According to the Avan news agency, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco stated that institutional loyalty “demands that religious freedom be well understood and practiced,” because “a free society” considers it positive that its members “as a community express their convictions with complete respect for others.”

Likewise, the archbishop noted that the government cannot ignore the contribution of religious communities to the common good; rather, it should “accept that an understanding of human good is being expressed through the ethical values of believers which political leaders have no right to change.”

Lastly, Archbishop Garcia-Gasco pointed out that the actions of the government should not be subject to “the interests of radical minorities,” but rather to care for the common good.  In a democracy, he noted, “changes in government do not presuppose an absolute victor and an absolute loser.”

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