German cardinal lashes out at 'secular Europe'

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 November 2004, ROME - German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a close advisor of Pope John Paul II, has issued a strong attack against "secular Europe", which he accuses of "decadence", "intolerance" towards Christians and ostracism towards God. In an interview published on Friday by the Italian daily La Repubblica, the cardinal speaks of a Europe that is living through a major transformation - from one based on Christian culture to an aggressive and at times intolerant (form of) secularism". "Secularism

19 November 2004

ROME - German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a close advisor of Pope John Paul II, has issued a strong attack against "secular Europe", which he accuses of "decadence", "intolerance" towards Christians and ostracism towards God.

In an interview published on Friday by the Italian daily La Repubblica, the cardinal speaks of a Europe that is living through a major transformation - from one based on Christian culture to an aggressive and at times intolerant (form of) secularism".

"Secularism is no longer neutral," the cardinal said, it is beginning to transform itself into an ideology that imposes itself through politics and does not leave any room to the Christian and Catholic vision."

Cardinal Ratzinger, who is considered one of the most conservative voices in the Roman Curia, heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Church body formerly known as the Inquisition.

The congregation seeks to spread sound doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines", the Vatican's website explains.

His interview in La Repubblica contributed to an ongoing debate in Italy on the role of Christians in Europe.

The debate was sparked by the European Parliaments rejection of Rocco Buttiglione - an Italian Catholic politician - as European Union commissioner because of his ultra-conservative views on women and homosexuality. Some Catholics in Italy now speak of feeling persecuted in Europe because of their ideas.

In an apparent reference to the Buttiglione affair, Cardinal Ratzinger said God was being "marginalised" by modern day society.

"It appears almost that, in politics, it has become indecent to talk about God, as if it represents an attack on the freedom of those who do not believe," he said.

"A society in which God is totally absent self-destructs. We have seen this happen during the totalitarian regimes of the past century," he added.

Cardinal Ratzinger reiterated his opposition to homosexuality, describing Spains recent decision to allow same-sex marriages as destructive for the family and society, but also acknowledged that Christians were finding it increasingly hard to make themselves understood.

DPA

Subject: German news

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