RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Modern man must not fall prey to secularism, concluded participants in the Meeting of Friendship Among Peoples.
This was said during a panel discussion on Wednesday entitled "Secularism versus Laicism," part of the Rimini meeting organized by the movement Communion and Liberation, Aug. 20-26.
Polish professor Nikolaus Lobkowicz, director of the Center of Studies on Eastern and Central Europe, explained that "secularism is the attempt to limit or even exclude the influence of the Church and of religion on public life," whereas the vocation of the layman should be that of "seeking the kingdom of God by treating temporal things according to God's order."
Lobkowicz continued: "Secularism intends to prevent someone in politics from appealing to his faith. It has even created taboos that are not discussed (abortion, homosexuality, scientific research).
"The modern state must be very careful not to transform secularism into a new religion, as occurred in the Communist countries."
"All this is not reasonable," he added, because, in fact, "all the values included in the constitutions of European states have an undeniable Christian origin and, without Christianity, they would never have arisen."
Lobkowicz said that by "working together, 'secularists' and Catholics can identify a common way to halt the decline of our society."
Experience is knowledge
Rocco Buttiglione, Italian senator, criticized the secularist mentality -- vis-à-vis French rationalism -- that puts scientific and not experiential knowledge first.
"Through experience one comes to the truth," the Italian philosopher and politician said.
"No one has the right to tell us that we cannot speak about our experience," he continued.
"Values come into public life through experience, which is the only thing that unites us because, from experience, one is not clerical or secularist, but man," Buttiglione said.
Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate, and philosophy professor, said that in European politics, "one cannot be inspired by one's faith, but one must homologize oneself to the Jacobin dictate."
Pera, who has publicly said that he is a non-believer, enumerated the evils of secularism: "The botched job of the preamble of the European Constitution which denies Europe's Christian roots, allows experimentation with embryos, the right to abortion, to euthanasia, to homosexual marriage, adoption by homosexual couples, eugenics and the party of Dutch pedophiles."
"In the name of individual freedom, everything is allowed, even the birth of a pedophile party," said Pera.
The senator explained that such deformations are "all fruit of the suppression of the Christian tradition," and added that "the alliance is being made between democracy and relativism, so one votes on everything as there are no longer non-negotiable values."
Bishop Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro, president of the John Paul II Foundation, said Wednesday in a press conference, that "the future of politics must start again from a strong cultural identity."
"A bishop's concern is to guarantee the growth of what is human in accord with the social doctrine of the Church," he said.
"Alliances are not worth more than values: It is a question of enriching national unity with dialogue and confrontation between the different cultural identities," the bishop said.
In this connection, Bishop Negri mentioned art, which "represents a universal language because it is an expression of humanity in its original aspect as sensitivity to beauty."