In recent years the advance of secularism has become the main threat to religious freedom. And its main target was the Catholic Church, with 70% of the cases, during 2016.
According to a report by the Observatory for Religious Freedom and Conscience (ORFC), which includes the ABC newspaper, last year there were 208 attacks against the fundamental right to religious freedom, compared to 187 in the previous year. Of that total, 147 were against the Catholic religion.
“The only way a person, a family or a society grows is the culture of the encounter”.
The ORFC report covers them on a case-by-case basis. It includes the decision of the Barcelona Consistory to suppress the religious celebrations of the program of the festivals of Our Lady of Mercy (la Merced) or the proposal of Podemos (Spanish left-wing populist party) so that the celebration of San Fermín in Pamplona (Capital of Navarre, Spain) happens to be called “the parade of the great day”.
Faced with these attacks, Pope Francis has always spoken of the need for dialogue. In his address to the leaders of Brazil in July 2013, he called for “ethical sense” and “constructive dialogue” as the main tools of politics: “Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue”. The Pope gave an argument that is good for all countries and people: “The only way a person, a family or a society grows is the culture of the encounter, a culture in which everyone has something good to contribute and everyone can receive something in return. The other always has something to give me when we know how to approach him with an open and available attitude, without prejudice. Only in this way can a good understanding between cultures and religions prosper, the esteem of one for the other without prior opinions. Today, either you bet on the culture of the meeting, or everyone loses”.