Friday, June 10, 2005

The Fate of European Christianity

This is one of the most important speeches to be given concerning the fate of European Christianity. I present it here in it's entirety courtesy of Hugh Hewitt and Denver Archdiocese.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver
(Note: Chaput - pronounced Shapoo - is an American Indian.)

"OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance
June 9 , 2005 Cordoba, Spain

For a few weeks two months ago, the City of Rome doubled in size. People from around Europe and the world came to the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Some 600,000 people viewed his coffin on the first day. More than 1.4 million paid their respects before his burial. That should remind us of two things.

First, Europe remains obviously religious -- not simply in its nominal and active believers, but also in its culture and assumptions about the dignity of the human person.

What we know as "Europe" was shaped, in vital ways, by the Christian faith. Judaism and Islam also clearly made important contributions to the European experience. But the founders of the European unity movement were all professed Christians. Their commitment to the great project of Europe's future came from their moral convictions, which in turn grew out of the irreligious identity and Christian heritage.

Second, John Paul II's appeal to people of every faith -- and no faith - did not come simply from his personality but from his actions. His devotion to human freedom and his role in liberating Eastern Europe were rooted completely in his Catholic faith. In one sense, he embodied the greatness of Europe. And he did it by being a son of Europe's Christian imagination and history.

We know from the totalitarian regimes in Europe's recent past that a determined minority can persecute other minorities, and oppress even a majority of a nation's citizens. Discrimination and intolerance toward Christians and minority religious groups are rising in several areas of the world today. Europe, despite its heritage, is not immune. And unfortunately, other parts of the OSCE region show similar troubling signs.

Discrimination and intolerance take two forms: direct and indirect. Direct discrimination has the shape of legal restrictions, and often police harassment and legal barriers, designed to stamp out unauthorized or unpopular religious communities or to limit the legitimate exercise of their religious freedom. The intolerant behavior of some OSCE states continues to violate the basic human rights of belief and worship.

In several OSCE states, regimes discriminate against religious communities by creating structures of prejudicial treatment. High membership requirements prevent small congregations from obtaining legal status which, in contrast, is granted to other "traditional" religious communities. Lack of historical presence can block newer religious groups from qualifying for basic rights and privileges. Denial of legal standing has the very real consequence of either violating individual rights or stigmatizing entire groups. This is state-sponsored discrimination, and it violates OSCE commitments to promote religious freedom for all.

An equally dangerous trend now dominates other OSCE states, where public expressions of religious faith often seem to be ridiculed as fundamentalism. In the name of respecting all religions, a new form of secular intolerance is sometimes imposed. Out of fear of religious fundamentalism, a new kind of secular fundamentalism may be coerced on public institutions and political discourse.

At the same time, various media in the OSCE area now often allow symbols of Christian identity, Christian believers and their faith to be publicly abused. Programs like "How to cook a crucifix" and sacramental confessions recorded without the confessor's knowledge are deeply contemptuous of Catholic believers. This is unworthy of Europe's moral dignity and religious heritage. Furthermore, it stands in stark contrast to OSCE commitments to promote religious freedom.

Europe has given the whole world the seeds of democracy. Today's growing anti-religious and often anti-Christian spirit undermines that witness.

As with anti-Semitism, the OSCE must employ its practical commitments on combating discrimination to also fight discrimination and intolerance against Christians and members of other religious communities. Moreover, the OSCE must carefully monitor their implementation.

OSCE participating states must strive to protect Christian communities and other religious groups from discrimination and intolerance. The media should be encouraged to offer truly balanced coverage of religious faith. Educational systems should teach the value of faith in people's lives. The specific contribution given to public life by Christian communities and other religious groups should be remembered.

Democracy depends on people of conviction taking an active, visible part in public life; peacefully and respectfully, but vigorously. That includes Christians, Jews, Muslims and all religious believers, as well as non-believers. Public debate without a free and welcoming role for religious faith does not produce diversity or pluralism. It can easily do the opposite. It can create politics without morality, and public institutions without enduring ideals.

My hope is that OSCE participating states will do everything in their power to discourage all forms of religious intolerance - including any disrespect for Europe's own Christian roots."

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


dcat said...

I think we need to move on instead of living in the past. I really feel that people have choices and that is a good thing. As long of course the choices won't take freedom away from others that are not harming anyone. A thought process is one's own!

Indigo Red said...

I don't know what you mean, cat.

Here I have presented a speech given by (in the European view) a poor, downtrodden American Indian who has risen to a position of prominance in the Catholic Church, a European institution.

He was speaking before an audience of mostly Europeans who ignore the criticisms of America. What can they say or do to this man who is telling them they are losing their birth right to a foreign religion and philosophy that eschews the freedom, liberty, tolerance, and equality that has brought the world to the level of prosperty and civilization we enjoy today.

All of this is part and parcel with what you, cat, rail against. I don't understand your comment.

Are you so jaded and hateful of the Catholic Church that you cannot even agree when a Bishop thereof agrees with you.

Or, is it simply that you didn't read the piece.

dcat said...

I was brought up on the religion. Just sick and tiered of other peoples beliefs being attact at other blog spots. Let's face it there are some ass holes out there.

I read it Indi but am fed up with religion mombo jumbo right now. :)

Indigo Red said...

oh, okay. Me, too, really. God really f**d-up the world whenhe invented himself.

dcat said...

No Indigo red,

Just his some of the f***ing followers!