Saturday, 11 September 2010

Cardinal Cormac: B16 to warn against 'privatising religion'

In an interview with the BBC World Service (20:43 to 26:22), the retired Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, says Pope Benedict believes "Europe is afraid of its future".

He says the Pope in the UK will want to lay out some "principles" governing the question of the "freedom of religion in the public sphere":

He does not want religion to be privatised. He wants it to play its part in the public forum. He thinks it would be disastrous if religion in that sense were to be just personal, not social. He will be saying to the Government: we respect the opinions of others, this is a free society, but society must  also respect the views of the Church, which should be able to propose them in a public forum. There have been occasions when the state has gone too far in limiting the rights of churches and faith communities to their disadvantage.

I do think there's a very large number of people -- the majority: good, sensible people -- who are not averse to hearing this message. Because there is a worry that some of the freedoms that society gives have gone too far and that the views which make a community flourish are not being heard enough. That's why some of the pope's messages are countercultural. But there's a feeling in this country that maybe we must listen to this alternative voice.