Canadian Catholic Bishops Issue Letter On Religious Freedom
Yesterday the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion (full text). The 12-page letter, written by the CCCB's Permanent Council was summarized in part by the CCCB as follows:
The letter is largely occasioned by the spread in our own country of an aggressive relativism that actively seeks to force its own view of truth on others. It attempts to relegate religious belief to the private sphere, and considers religion to be insignificant, alien or even destabilizing. Legitimate secularity is open to the engagement of religious beliefs and faith communities in public debate and civic life. Radical secularism, however, excludes religion from the public square. This disfigured view of the secular is becoming more militant in attempting to silence religious believers when their views contradict its own, particularly on issues of education, human life and the family. It is highly hostile to a truly democratic and pluralist society, in that it tolerates only its own voice and tries to silence all others.
The pastoral letter, addressed to everyone of good will, calls on Catholics, all believers, and even those of no faith, 1) to affirm the right of religion to be active in the public square, 2) to maintain healthy Church-State relations, 3) to form consciences according to objective truth, and 4) to protect the right to conscientious objection The letter also encourages all faith communities to contribute to the formulation of public policy and the common good, and concludes by exhorting believers not to compromise their convictions but to stand up for their faith, even if they must suffer for it.