Pope’s message to the president of the Italian senate on secularism

Source: FSSPX News


On October 16, Benedict XVI spoke during the congress "Liberty and secularism, natural law and State law, Caesar and God" organized by the Foundations "Magna Carta" and "for subsidiarity" in the town of Saint Benedict, in Nursia in Umbria.

The pope’s message was addressed to Marcello Pera, president of the Italian senate and head of the Foundation Magna Carta ; it was published in the Italian daily Avvenire of October 16.

The dignity of man and his basic rights are, according to Benedict XVI, "values above any State jurisdiction". Because "these basic rights are inscribed in the very nature of the human person and can, consequently, be referred to our Creator". Indeed, the "religious sense", in which man’s openness to transcendence is expressed, is a fundamental dimension of the human soul which, the pope hoped, would be acknowledged by a soundly secular state. This "positive, legitimate and profitable secularism",  which guarantees to each citizen the right to live his own religious faith in full liberty, will be the leaven of a spiritual and cultural renewal in the West, added Benedict XVI.

The president of the Italian senate, who shares the same convictions, described the pope’s words as "a point of reference and a social and political agenda" and he himself encouraged Catholics to express themselves publicly. In 2004, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Marcello Pera  published a collection of reflections on Europe, in the form of a correspondence, and entitled "Rootless".