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Content for Separation of church and state (secularism)

Quiet retreat from Vatican II’s accomodation to secularism: five experts comment

Excerpts from five important articles, including:
♦  How Vatican II leaves concordat privileges untouched
♦  How, beginning in the 1990s, Vatican II began to be quietly reversed
♦  How Cardinal Ratzinger’s “positive secularism” and 1993 Catechism undermine church-state separation

Pope tightens rules twice to prevent church-leaving (2006 and 2010)

Faced with mass defections from the Catholic Church after the clerical abuse scandal broke, Benedict XVI tightened up the rules. Then in 2010 he changed canon law to remove the possibility of defection. And national bishops' conferences restrict the notation on baptismal registers of even the wish to defect. Here are church-leaving rules (as of 2011) for  Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

First Amendment, controversial basis of US church-state separation

Separation of church (or mosque) and state is a national tradition in the US, France and Turkey. The separation was achieved by the American First Amendment, the French Law of 1905 and the 1961 Turkish Constitution. The earliest of these, the First Amendment, has been defined and redefined by court cases, revealing many different aspects of secularism.

European Court of Human Rights: No right to state funding for sectarian schools

It is sometimes argued that, by condemning funding to religion, secularism denies parents their right to have their children taught “in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions” in sectarian schools. However, the European Court of Human Rights disputes this. It has ruled that this right does not impose on states an obligation “to establish at their own expense, or to subsidise, education of any particular type”.

Silvio Ferrari on “Church & State in Europe”

This legal scholar advances Vatican views. He’s enamoured of group rights, rather than individual rights (i.e., the “rights” of organisations whose leaders have not been chosen by the electorate). Prof. Ferrari sees no problem with massive social control exercised by a church at state expense, so long as “freedom of conscience” is on the law books. Like the Vatican he redefines separation of church in a way that would permit concordats....


Religious institutions try to justify discrimination by saying they must preserve their special "ethos". But why? Maybe they should remember another Greek word, the all-inclusive term that gave us "laicity". This word, which means "everybody", seems a better ideal for the world today.

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