Freedom of religion is being threatened in Europe by an aggressive secularism which has made the mention of God “almost indecent,” a top adviser to Pope John Paul said in an interview published on Friday.
“We have gone from a Christian culture to an aggressive secularism with intolerant traits,” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told la Repubblica daily.
“It has started to become an ideology which imposes itself through politics and does not cede public space to the Catholic and Christian vision,” said the powerful head of the Vatican department in charge of safeguarding and interpreting doctrine.
“A struggle exists and we must defend the freedom of religion against the imposition of an ideology that presents itself as the only voice of reason,” the German cardinal added.
Censure of conservative Catholic EU candidate
The censure last month of Rocco Buttiglione, an Italian conservative Catholic politician who came under a storm of criticism by the European Parliament for his views on gays and women, has raised questions about religion in Europe.
Buttiglione said homosexuality was a sin and marriage existed so that women can have children and the protection of a male mate. He was eventually forced to step down as a candidate for EU commissioner over the row.
“In the political sphere it seems almost indecent to talk about God, almost as though it were an attack on the freedom of those who don’t believe,” Ratzinger said in the interview.
He also defended crosses in the classroom in countries with a Christian tradition like Italy, and warned against legalizing gay marriage.
“If we deem this union more or less equivalent to marriage, we have a society that no longer recognizes the fundamental character of the family,” he said.