04/29/2019, 13.07
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Religious freedom also violated in democratic countries

The International Theological Commission issues a document highlighting how there is a substantial violation of religious freedom toady even in countries that call themselves liberal and democratic. "The alleged ideological neutrality of the liberal state" leans towards a "soft totalitarianism".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Violations of religious freedom often refers generally to violence that aims to eliminate the faith of others and especially the murderous violence that has affected Christians, Jews and Muslims in recent days.

Yet today there is also a new form of Christian martyrdom, as outlined by Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. This is the substantial violation of religious freedom in countries that call themselves liberal and democratic.

This is what emerges from the document drawn up by the International Theological Commission (CTI) entitled: Religious freedom for the good of all. A Theological approach to contemporary challenges, which was approved by Pope Francis and published on April 26th.

In fact, the Commission states that in the socio-cultural context that has emerged in recent decades, the democratic state is moving towards a "soft totalitarianism", which -  in the name of an "alleged ideological neutrality"- is bent on removing "every ethical justification and every religious inspiration” thus in favor of an “ideology of neutrality which, in fact, imposes the exclusion of religious expression from the public sphere ”. And this "makes it particularly vulnerable to the spread of ethical nihilism in the public sphere".

We are faced with "a 'secular imitation' of the theocratic conception of religion, which decides orthodoxy and the heresy of freedom in the name of a political-salvific vision of the ideal society: deciding a priori it’s perfectly rational, perfectly civil , perfectly human identity. Absolutism and the relativism of this liberal morality here conflict with the effects of illiberal exclusion in the public sphere, within the alleged liberal neutrality of the state".

But "a civil culture that defines its own humanism through the removal of the religious component of the human, is thus forced to remove decisive parts of its own history: of its own knowledge, of its own tradition, of its own social cohesion. The result is the removal of ever more substantial parts of humanity and citizenship by which society itself is formed".

"The reaction to the humanistic weakness of the prepares the way for a desperate atheistic or even theocratic fanaticism which is for many justified (especially young people). The incomprehensible attraction exercised by violent and totalitarian forms of political ideology, or religious militancy, which seemed to have been consigned to the judgment of reason and history, must question us in a new way and with greater depth of analysis ".

The document recalls that already the conciliar declaration Dignitatis humanae states that according to Christianity "we must not force ourselves on religion, because this forcing is not worthy of the human nature created by God". "God calls every man to himself, but does not force anyone. Therefore, this freedom becomes a fundamental right that man can claim in conscience and responsibility towards the State ". Hence the affirmation of John Paul II that religious freedom is the foundation of all other freedoms, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of every man and constitutes "the guarantee of all the freedoms that ensure the common good of people and peoples ".

Today, however, in the proliferation of the subjective rights of the current democratic state, religious freedom loses its place as a fundamental right and is reduced to a subjective right like others. Furthermore, "the presumed ideological neutrality of the liberal state, which selectively excludes the freedom of a transparent testimony of the religious community in the public sphere, opens a gap for the fake transcendence of an occult ideology of power. Pope Francis warned us against this undervaluation of religious indifference: "When, in the name of an ideology, we want to exclude God from society, we end up worshiping idols, and soon man loses himself, his dignity is trampled upon, his rights violated "". (FP)

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