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Collision course Catholic views, speech in danger, Cardinal Trujillo warns
Catholic Online ^ | 08.23.06 | Emily Stimpson

Posted on 09/06/2006 11:22:13 AM PDT by Coleus

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Our Sunday Visitor) – "The church is at risk of being brought before some international court if the debate becomes any tenser, if the more radical requests get heard." Those words, spoken by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, about the Church's position on life and family issues, have a tinge of the apocalyptic in them.

And when the cardinal first uttered them, during an interview in June with the Italian news magazine, Famiglia Christiana, more than a few skeptics questioned the probability of the cardinal's doomsday scenario coming to pass. After all, it's one thing for a few countries to legalize same-sex marriage. It's quite another for the Vatican to get brought before the International Criminal Court and tried for proclaiming the age-old teachings of the Catholic Church.   Or is it?   Last year, the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigated Canadian Bishop Fred Henry because of comments he made against same-sex marriage, now legal in Canada. A similar instance occurred in Sweden, where a Pentecostal pastor was arrested for condemning homosexuality.

In both cases, the men were eventually acquitted. But according to Ronald Rychlak, the associate dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law and adviser to the Holy See's Mission at the United Nations, the next bishop or pastor brought up on similar charges might not be so lucky. "Once you put judicial structures in place designed to prosecute thought crimes or hate crimes, people of faith, and especially Catholics, are at risk," he told Our Sunday Visitor.  And nowhere are they at more risk than in Europe.

Subtle pressures

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, likened Europe to the typical American college campuses where government-legislated politically correct speech codes increasingly govern what opinions can and cannot be voiced.  He then noted that those restrictions on speech, combined with the spread of laws institutionalizing same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion (as well as the pressure put on countries like Ireland and Poland by the United Nations and the European Union to adopt similar laws) are a dangerous combination.  "There is a train wreck coming between radical social policies and the teachings of the Catholic Church," Ruse told Our Sunday Visitor. "The church is on a collision course."

While both Ruse and Rychlak see the potential for the kind of scenario Cardinal Trujillo sketched out, they also think it unlikely that Pope Benedict XVI will be standing in the dock anytime soon. Instead, they see the most immediate threat to Catholics' freedom of speech coming not from the courts, but from subtle and not so subtle pressures from governments, international organizations and the culture that have a "chilling effect" on religiously motivated speech.

Threats at home

For now, American Catholics are in far less danger than their Canadian and European counterparts – at least when it comes to legal pressures to refrain from proclaiming the faith.  The protections of freedom of speech and religion built into the U.S. Constitution via the Bill of Rights – protections more stringent than those in the constitutions of most other nations – have something to do with that.  So too, does the influence of conservative grass roots movement in America and the long-standing practice of American Christians speaking about their faith in very public ways, neither of which can be found to any sizable degree in Europe.

Ultimately, however, Ruse believes that European Catholics can only avert the doomsday scenario predicted by Cardinal Trujillo if they follow the example of American Christians and overcome their fears about boldly proclaiming their faith in the public square.   "What Europe really needs is more people proclaiming the lordship of Jesus Christ."

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Religion & Science; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; cardinaltrujillo; catholiclist; firstamendment; freespeech

1 posted on 09/06/2006 11:22:14 AM PDT by Coleus
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...

moral speech illegal

the united nations and International Criminal Court involved.

2 posted on 09/06/2006 11:49:56 AM PDT by Coleus (I Support Research using the Ethical, Effective and Moral use of stem cells: non-embryonic "adult")
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To: freepatriot32


3 posted on 09/06/2006 12:43:27 PM PDT by Calvin Coollidge (The last really great president.)
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To: Coleus
It won't be long. Heck I expect a test case in the US relatively soon also.
4 posted on 09/06/2006 3:20:14 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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