BY ANNA ARCO
THE ARCHBISHOP of Glasgow has said that he fears the secularisation of society will mark “a more fundamental rupture even than that of the Reformation”.
Speaking at a Mass commemorating the anniversary of the Pope’s election Archbishop Mario Conti said he was “referring to attempts to eliminate the voice of faith from public discourse, in other words a rupture between the Church, faith communities and the world of politics and public policy”.
Archbishop Conti laid the responsibility for certain social and cultural changes – such as breakdown in marriage, growing teen pregnancy rates, increasing abortion rates and drug addiction – at the feet of successive governments that had turned a deaf ear to the warnings of the Church.
The Church, he said, might not be qualified to speak about economics in terms of policies for dealing with recession, but he pointed to the corpus of Catholic social teaching “which does not hesitate to address also such issues for the common good”.
With the general election looming, the archbishop said that Catholics, like other citizens, had a right to express their views and that the Church’s corporate voice could legitimately be heard.
Quoting from the election document prepared by the bishops of England and Wales, Archbishop Conti spoke about rediscovering virtue in the public arena.
He said: “We need to praise integrity where we see it, and also acknowledge the courage of politicians who do raise their voices in defence of the Church’s role and who promote publicly, despite secularist criticism, the fundamental place of marriage and the family and the general duty of citizens to care for one another, physically, socially and spiritually.
“The Church is the repository of the most fundamental values of our civilisation and deserves recognition as an instrument of societal cohesion. Its voice is not that of a pressure group, one among many, but rather that of a teacher whose lessons have been honed by millennial application of the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance in addressing such concepts as the common good, care for the poor and the sick, the education of the young, the dignity of the human person and the equality of all citizens before the law.” The archbishop recalled the banning of Mass in 1560 and said that it was a sign of the ecumenical movement’s irenical spirit that there was some hesitation in celebrating the anniversary.