19 December 2008

The Good and Bad of Secularization

The following is taken from the 3rd installment in a series on Secularism and Secularity by Fr. Alfonso Aguilar, LC in the National Catholic Register (not to be confused with it's dissident cousin the 'National Catholic Reporter')

Like its counterpart, secularism is intrinsically intolerant.

“It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone,” Benedict XVI noted in the same address. “But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a worldview. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image. When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the ‘good’ begins to wane. What was ostensibly promoted as human ingenuity soon manifests itself as folly, greed and selfish exploitation.”

As the Pope put it in his 2006 speech to Catholic jurists, secularism is characterized by its “hostility to every important political and cultural form of religion, and especially to the presence of any religious symbol in public institutions.”

Logically, it refuses “the Christian community and its legitimate representatives the right to speak on the moral problems that challenge all human consciences today, and especially those of legislators and jurists.”

Secularism is a social-engineering process to create a civilization where man and the state, taking God’s place, will be the only source of rights and arbiter of what is right and what is wrong. We may compare it to Mary Shelley’s Dr. Frankenstein, who was so caught up in his own research that he arrogantly tried to create new life and a new man.

What is secularism’s enemy No. 1? You guessed it: Christianity.

The story of the Roman Empire is again relived in the 21st century under different circumstances. The Roman Empire was tolerant toward all religions and allowed peoples to worship their own gods and goddesses … as long as those deities would not clash with the absolute primacy of the state. Christians refused to worship the Roman gods and emperor. They thought the state to be relative and the Trinitarian God to be the Absolute. Even the emperor was morally obliged to follow God’s moral law.

The Catholic Church is constantly attacked by secularist laws, judicial resolutions, media reports and the entertainment industry. The persecution will stop the day the Church starts worshipping man and the state in submission to the secularist project.

But history will repeat itself. Thanks to her heroes and martyrs, the Church will rise victorious from the ashes of secularism for the glory of God and the temporal and eternal good of mankind.

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