Christians must insist religious freedom is an intrinsic aspect of human dignity, said a senior British lay Catholic.
Lord Alton of Liverpool, a member of the British House of Lords, also said he considered the loss of religious identity and the increasing loss of faith in Britain as the gravest deprivation of all.
He blamed those phenomena on "a combination of the breakdown of strong family and community life along with the deliberate actions of the state."
The claim for religious freedom is a universal one, securing the freedom of all people of conscience – Christian or not – to embrace the religious belief of their choice," he said in a May 9 lecture.
Lord Alton said English Catholics must never forget the persecution their forefathers endured during the Protestant Reformation.
The lessons of that struggle apply to the present time.