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Speech: The freedom to believe and the freedom to serve the common good

April 1, 2007

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor delivered the Thirtieth Thomas Corbishley Memorial Lecture on “The Kingdom of God and this World: the Church in Public Life” on March 28.

An extract:

‘The secular state, which we now risk adopting in Britain, seeks a politics entirely independent of religion, in which religious principles have nothing to say in the “real” world of political action. The choice of the State to side with the secular is said to be neutrality; and it is usually justified by an appeal to equality. But this is in itself ideology, divorcing religion from the public realm on the pretext that religion is divisive. This sets up great tensions in society. The more determinedly secular a state becomes, the more pressure mounts for religious beliefs to assert themselves. We then no longer have a common search for truth on the basis of shared reason, but a series of monologues in which each side excludes the other. People talk past each other. There is little reasoned thinking. There is no adequate civil discourse. Society is then at risk of the fragmentation of its moral structure.’

For more extracts and full lecture, go to Diocese of Westminster

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