Oxford Is Dreaming of a White ... Winter
City Council Moves to Delete References to Christmas
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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A decision by the Oxford City Council to abolish all references to Christmas in the name of being more "inclusive" is the next step in erasing history and Christian identity, says a Vatican official.
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, responded in this way to the approved proposal of the council-run charity Oxford Inspires to refer to celebratory events in the British city as the "Winter Light Festival." Authorities say they want the celebrations to be more "inclusive."
Archbishop Ravasi told Vatican Radio that the Oxford initiative "from my point of view, does not seek so much to promote a dialogue in which prevarications don't arise, but ration to mitigate to the point of making all identity and all history disappear."
"True dialogue," he added, "is constructed by way of identity; therefore, in this case, I feel this is not about something extravagant, but rather a conscious negation -- I don't know up to what point -- of a greatness that we put behind us, which constitutes our very face."
The archbishop continued: "If in the past, religious symbols were combated with arguments, with the desire of opposing a totally alternative system, now, on the contrary, this negation is a type of cloud, typical of current secularization.
"God is not denied, but totally ignored."
In this situation, he lamented, it is difficult to react because arguments are not accepted, as they were in the past.
"Atheism in the strong, even dramatic, sense now doesn't occur, as in the past," Archbishop Ravasi said. "Now indifference is what occurs. This indifference fades everything, and in the end, perhaps, keeps man from asking himself questions -- as all the great religions do -- about fundamental themes, which on the contrary, become diluted in an inconsistent atmosphere."
The prelate did note, however, that it was positive that Muslims were also expressing their dissent to the Oxford initiative. He said their reaction implies that they are also aware of the dangers that this initiative carries with it regarding the elimination of identities.