Skip to content
Catholic Online SHopping 20% off RE-Grand Opening SALE

RE-Grand Opening
FREE Shipping over $49 (lower 48)

Anti-Christianity in the Public Square

Interview With Professor Joan-Andreu Rocha Scarpetta

ROME, JUNE 19, 2006 (Zenit) - Religious intolerance exists not only in dictatorial regimes, but also in more subtle forms in free, democratic societies, says a professor of theology of religions and ecumenism.

Joan-Andreu Rocha Scarpetta recently spoke of intolerance aimed at Christians at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on promoting tolerance. The meeting took place June 12-13 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

In this interview, Rocha, who teaches at the Regina Apostolorum university and the European University, both in Rome, explained some forms of discrimination against Christians in free societies.

Q: What was the main purpose of the OSCE meeting in Almaty?

Rocha: The purpose of the meeting in Almaty was to evaluate and propose new paths in the promotion of intercultural, interreligious and interethnic understanding.

It was conditioned by the recent events related to the publication of the satirical cartoons regarding the prophet Mohammed and the grave offense of religious sensibilities caused by them.

They provoked the murder of a Catholic priest in Turkey, aggressions and threats to other Christians and episodes of violence in other parts of the world. They imply not a single effect, but a chain reaction that draws into it people of other faiths.

These trends offered an opportune moment to focus on the issue of religious identity and its place in society in the context of freedom of speech and religious distinctiveness.

Q: Did the issue of discrimination against Christians have a central place in this meeting?

Rocha: The OSCE is struggling against discrimination and intolerance, particularly in the issues of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, with specific and broad programs.

But in regard to the discrimination of Christians, there is still a long way to go. Discrimination of religious minorities is acquiring importance in the organization's agenda, but discrimination of Christians seems to be kept with a low profile.

Q: How do discrimination and intolerance against Christians manifest themselves?

Rocha: Discrimination and intolerance against Christians are not only evident in those countries that are still unable to assure freedom of religion, but also in the general cultural environment, disguised under the form of mockery of Christian symbols, practices and institutions.

The recent cartoon production entitled "Popetown," which ridiculed specific aspects of the Christian faith, and presented Catholic Church authorities as criminals involved in different kinds of malicious activities, is a clear example.

Several Web pages have been recently closed down due to their anti-Christian language. Numerous works of modern art and stage plays mock Christian symbols and practices. Even politicians allow themselves to joke about Christian symbols in public.

The increasing number of offenses against Christians, under the form of humor, art or a distorted freedom of expression, show that something must be done.

Q: How do you explain this situation?

Rocha: In countries where Christianity constitutes the basic cultural background, and where religion has been reduced to a personal affair, we are getting used to a subjective faith, where we "believe" without "belonging."

This creates a hazy situation where the mockery of the symbols we believe in seems like a normal thing that doesn't concern us. The absence of reactions promotes the spread of these kinds of offenses that, in the end, are the seed of discrimination and intolerance.

Q: What can Christians do to fight against this type of discrimination regarding their faith?

Rocha: The first thing is to acknowledge this reality of veiled discrimination. But the balance between freedom of expression and the respect of specific religious sensibility is a compelling challenge.

We should learn to react to these situations, obviously without violence, but by demonstrating our discontent to the media that produce them and to the civil institutions that allow them. This would slowly create a new sensibility about the misuse of Christian symbols in the public sphere.

Nongovernmental organizations could also play an important part. Some of them work actively against the discrimination of different ethnic groups and religions.

Maybe it's time for them to stress public discrimination of Christian symbols, practices and institutions, and not only the effective persecution of Christians.

These trends would open the path to some more specific actions, like the creation of a deontological code on freedom of expression and respect for religions, which could prevent the increase of discriminations against the Christian faith and its symbols.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Anti-Christianity, Public, Square, Scarpetta, Freedom, Religion

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.