Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput waved a red flag before an -international audience Thursday in Spain, accusing Europe of growing religious intolerance and abusing Christianity.
"Europe has given the whole world the seeds of democracy," he told government ministers from 55 nations, according to a text of his speech. "Today’s growing anti-religious and often anti-Christian spirit undermines that witness."
Chaput was among nine members of a State Department delegation led by New York Gov. George Pataki. The two-day conference, "Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance," in Cordoba, Spain, was sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In his address, Chaput traced Europe’s Christian roots and decried abandonment of that heritage by the continent’s prevailing culture.
Secularism has been a growing influence in Europe. The European Union’s constitution makes no mention of the continent’s Christian heritage. There also is momentum to extend euthanasia laws and marriage rights to gay couples.
Chaput cited legal restrictions of religious expression and open contempt of religious symbols.
"Programs like How To Cook a Crucifix (a show aired on Spanish TV last December), and sacramental confessions recorded without the confessor’s knowledge are deeply contemptuous of Catholic believers," Chaput said.
"This is unworthy of Europe’s moral dignity and religious heritage. Furthermore, it stands in stark contrast to OSCE commitments to promote religious freedom."
Chaput said "an equally dangerous trend" was state-encouraged ridicule and intolerance of public expressions of faith, often derided as fundamentalism. [Source]