Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 28, 2006
Irish face invasion of secularism – bishop
"Religion is not in any way exhausted and God is not dead in international public life."
- Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
"Religion is not in any way exhausted and God is not dead in international public life, either in the East or in the West, in developing countries or in the United States," the Dublin archbishop said.
Before being appointed archbishop of Dublin in 2004, Martin served as secretary of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace.
He said that a search of Google indicates that there are 39 million sites related to the Beatles, said in 1965 to be more popular than Jesus, and 199 million sites dedicated to Jesus.
Both religion and society should abandon "domination tendencies" and move toward "genuine engagement" that fosters mutual respect, he urged.
"We need a modern, mature and transparent relationship between Church and state, between religion and life," he said. "Religious viewpoints and those who hold them dear do not for that reason lose citizenship or should in any way be excluded from shaping the democratic process."
While noting that "Christians must learn to live in an increasingly secularized society," the archbishop stressed that such acceptance cannot be done in a "resigned or passive way."
"Christians cannot accept retiring from the public domain or accept a vision of the political sphere as somehow absolute," he said.
"Giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's means not just separation of Church and State," he said, "but also that Caesar is not God and should not be playing God."
Freedom of religion, he noted, is not something granted "as a concession by the state," but as a right on which "politicians should fear to tread."
He pointed to Catholic schools in Ireland as a place where the "Church is bringing a new and important contribution to Irish society."
(© Catholic Online 2006, www.catholic.org)
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