Totalitarian tendencies threatening “democratic” regimes, warns Vatican cardinal


The president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Cardinal Julian Herranz, warned in Madrid this week against “ideological totalitarian tendencies” that “can manifest themselves in regimes that consider themselves democratic.”

During a gathering marking the 40th anniversary of Vatican II’s document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, the cardinal warned against “the danger of agnostic totalitarianism or secular fundamentalism” which is evident in some governments that “pass laws or make statements that are harmful to religious freedom.”

Cardinal Herranz noted with alarm the situation in “some democratic states that declare themselves non-sectarian but where there is a danger that secular fundamentalism might become a sort of state religion, a militant atheism that is undeclared but nevertheless real.”

The Spanish cardinal said such trends manifest themselves in the “progressive ethical impoverishment of civil laws and political agendas,” resulting in the legalization of abortion, euthanasia and drug use, as well as contempt for the indissolubility of marriage and the traditional family.  Society is regressing because of this, he continued, as “truth and error are placed on the same level,” thus contributing to the establishing of “the dictatorship of relativism.”

Cardinal Herranz also warned of the loss of religious in freedom in some theocratic and Communist states and in states whose governments “claim to be democratic and pluralist.”  In such countries there is a lack of respect and protection for religious freedom, such that there is an effort to “expel all religious expression from public life.”   

The cardinal called for greater respect for religious freedom and that “no person be forced to neither act against his conscience nor be prevented from professing his religion in private and in public.”  He also criticized efforts to “indiscriminately” grant all religions equal status under the law, “thus putting the Catholic Church on the same level as any other religious community or sect.”

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