Combating Agressive SecularismAs with many in the Catholic world, I have watched with a mixture of fascination and anticipation the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland and England over the past four days. Most papal visits are pastoral visits, meaning that the Pope's sole official reason for being in a given place is to visit and encourage the Catholics and other Christians in a given country to keep fighting the good fight of faith. This visit to the United Kingdom was different in that while the Pope did engage in a lot of pastoral activity (such as beatification in Birmingham on Sunday of the late and now Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman), this was an official State visit, with the Holy See returning the favor of an official visit some years ago by Her Majesty the Queen.
The Pope used the occasion to combat what he views as the greatest evil facing Western culture today: Aggressive secularization.
In this, of course, Benedict is absolutely correct. For years our friends on the Left have attempted to tell us how we should compartmentalize our lives and leave our faith at the door when we enter the schoolhouse or the Statehouse. Fortunately, there are enough of us in our own country with a Christian conscience to continue the fight. In Britain, we see the ultimate example of what happens to a country and its political and cultural life when the secularists win.
Churches are being converted to mosques in the United Kingdom. The Muslims cannot be blamed for the fact that the Muhammedians are now more faithful than the Christians there. Catholics are now the largest group of active church-going Christians in the United Kingdom, but let us be fair-this is because the nominal Protestants do not go to church or care much for the worship of the Lord God Almighty. Britain was far better off when it was a vigorously Protestant Christian nation than it now is as a secular, amoral one.
Catholics have faced persecution and/or suspicion in Britain since the time of Elizabeth I-something that began under her reprobate father, Henry VIII, who insured that the Anglosphere would have a Protestant majority when he declared himself to be the head of the Church of England-because he wanted to live in public adultery with his court harlot Anne Bolynn, as opposed to the private adultery most royals were and are accustomed to. (Say it with me-divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived). Even Henry lived in constant fear of God's wrath, however, and he understood that the Christian heritage of his people demanded the acknowledgment of God and His Divine justice.
For the sake of brevity, we will not discuss the lengthy history of anti-Catholic purges and pogroms in a nation that was once more deeply Catholic than even Italy, except to say that in today's Britain, observant Catholics face persecution not from their Protestant neighbors, but from the aggressive secularization sweeping Britain and Europe. And far be it from a public figure, whether they be Protestant or Catholic, to make a devout public profession of faith.
We see the result of the secularizing in our own country when our so-called President makes a speech quoting the American Declaration of Independence and deliberately omits the reference to God the Creator in the passage he was quoting.
The parallels are striking: Historic Christian society abandons the public inclusion of God in the name of pluralism. Moral relativism and hostility first to Christianity, then to nearly all faith later follows.
As it was the fate of the Mother Country, is, God Forbid, her superpower daughter next?
Pope Benedict XVI addresses members of British civil society at Westminster Hall