"Intolerant Secularism" Shouldn't Silence Christians, Says U.S. Bishop

Praises New Vatican Document on Catholics and Political Life

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Christian views must not be silenced by an "intolerant secularism" in the public arena, says the president of the U.S. bishops' conference.



Bishop Wilton Gregory made that contention as he hailed the publication of a "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life." The document was published today by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"I am pleased," said Bishop Gregory in a statement, "that the Note has recalled the tradition of the Church that there exist various political opinions compatible with faith and the natural moral law written into the hearts of every man and woman."

"While acknowledging the differences between the political and religious orders," he continued, "the values brought by Christians to the political process must not be muted or silenced by any intolerant secularism which would deny the legitimacy of moral values espoused by Christians who would speak or act according to their conscience."

The prelate added: "The Catholic bishops of the United States have a long tradition of adding their voices to the political and moral dialogue of our democratic process. We too have stressed the fundamental and inalienable ethical demands of our human nature which support the life of every human person, from conception until natural death.

"This respect for the human person extends to safeguarding the family, promoting education, protecting minors, defending religious freedom, assuring a just economy and fostering peace."

The U.S. bishops' conference has posted a question-and-answer page on the new Vatican document at www.nccbuscc.org/dpp/questions.htm.