Can Secularism and a Culture of Faith live together?

Pope Benedict XVI

I just had to share these words of Pope Benedict from earlier this week. So good! Especially the last part.

Answering a query about the current secularization of Portugal, a once profoundly Catholic country, the Holy Father replied that Portugal “has carried the faith to all corners of the world; a courageous, intelligent and creative faith. … The dialectic between secularism and faith in Portugal has a long history”, he said, noting how “over centuries of discussion between enlightenment, secularism and faith, there has never been a lack of people who have sought to build bridges and create dialogue”.

“I believe that the task and mission of Europe in this situation is to discover such dialogue, integrating faith and modern rationality into a single anthropological vision which completes the human being and thus also makes human cultures able to communicate with one another. Thus I would say that secularism is normal, but separation and contrast between secularism and the culture of faith is anomalous and must be overcome. The great challenge of the current time is for the two to meet and thus discover their true identity. This, as I have said, is a mission for Europe and the [great] human need of our own history”. [source]

What a keen insight from Papa B. So much hope. We often accept the separation and contrast between secularism and our culture of faith. In fact, I think that it is precisely such an acceptance which has led to a further separation between the two. It’s like both sides gave up and drew a line down the middle of the room. There’s your side. Here’s our side. Do not cross.

Of course, the current misapplied understanding of the “separation between Church and State” in our country has darkened the line. And the widespread acceptance of moral relativism and a tolerant “pluralistic” society has led to more lines being drawn and a greater separation as well.

Our task is to integrate our “faith and modern rationality into a single anthropological vision which completes the human being.”

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