Religious liberty and secularization of society in Mexico

Source: FSSPX News


On September 23, 2005, Luis Felipe Bravo Mena, the new ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See, went to present his credentials to the pope at his residence in Castel Gandolfo. For Benedict XVI, “in modern democratic societies, the Church believes that she can and must have complete religious freedom. In a secular state, it is the citizens, who in the exercise of their freedom give a certain religious meaning to society.” In his opinion, a modern state must serve and protect the liberty of citizens, as well as the practice of their chosen religion, without any restriction or constraint. Repeating a message published by the Mexican episcopate in August 2005, the pope stated that religious liberty is not “a right of the Church as institution” but “a human right of every person, every race and every nation.”

 The pope asked the Mexican government for “particular support” for the institution of the family, whose “vitality and basic role is progressively diminishing.” Referring to “the problem of drug trafficking, which deserves special attention,” he himself hoped that one of the “roots of the problem”, namely “significant economic inequality”, would be tackled.

 On the same day, Benedict XVI received the Mexican bishops from the provinces of Jalapa, Mexico, Puebla and Tlalnepantla, for their ad limina visit, accompanied by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico. He told them not to be discouraged in the face of a largely secularized society, without making any connection between the Conciliar doctrine of religious liberty and this massive secularization. “Do not be discouraged, or lack enthusiasm in pastoral projects, and do not ever forget that the Holy Spirit will give us the strength we need. The purpose and the realization of pastoral programs must reflect your confidence in the loving presence of God in the world. This will help Catholics to confront their country’s growing secularization and to participate in a responsible way, in temporal affairs, enlightened by the social doctrine of the Church.” “Your pastoral ministry must address itself to everyone, to the faithful who participate in the life of the diocesan community, as well as to people who have grown away from the Church and are searching for meaning in their lives.”

 The pope also asked the Mexican bishops to listen to their priests and to maintain with them “a relationship of priestly friendship after the example of the Good Shepherd.”