Vatican City (Fides Service) - Despite «holy striving» to minimize the phenomenon, also in Italy the changed cultural attitude towards the Catholic Church appears to be absolutely unequivocal. If previously compared with the rest of Europe, certain highly secularised countries especially, Italy could be considered a «happy island», today this is no longer so. Although the phenomenon does not regard the majority of people, nevertheless it certainly affects the greater part of the intellectual world which, displaying the faded medals of modernism, progressivism and tolerance, shows all its totalitarian face to those who are not homologated to its vision.
How can we not remember the shiver which ran down our backs during the Mass Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice when the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke of a «dictatorship of relativism»? In fact what we have here is an authentic «dictatorship of thought», which uses the media, newspapers, magazines, television, the Internet to launch frontal attacks on the Catholic Church, her leaders, even her Founder and on the natural law inscribed in the order of things. The phenomenon, started by a small elite of intellectuals and people in power, hits public opinion by means of a series of mediations which through the elaboration of superficial slogans spreads lies tending to give rise to a generic, superficial and unmotivated aversion to the Church and to Christianity as such.
To think this is all fortuitous is ingenuous to say the least. History shows that persecution, even violent persecution against the Church, has always been preceded by a period of ideological preparation of public opinion. In an epoch when, apparently, «speaking against someone», is not allowed, anyone has the right to attack, run down and offend the Church, Jesus Christ and Christians.
At this point there emerge certain instances which demand urgent recognition. The first is for Catholics to become aware of the gravity of the moment through the necessary struggle to «awaken» from the sleep of ingenuous optimism with regard to the world and mankind. A second urgency is the elaboration of theology of martyrdom (see Fides 8/3/2007), the only authentic context in which to read the history of Christianity. Thirdly it is clear that this cultural situation can prompt and push towards awareness, towards that explicit «yes» to Christ which every Christian is called to voice: it is no longer possible to be «anonymous Christians», invisible, insignificant, unable to explain the faith and yet expecting from the civil authorities, culture and media full respect.
This is the indispensable condition for peace and civil harmony and it would be a sign, just passable, of a truly advanced civilisation, mature, open, and «tolerant». Paradoxically Karl Rahner’s formula (anonymous Christian), then referred to the question of salvation of non baptised person, may now be referred to no small number of «adult» Christians victims of the rationalist preconception and individualist existence, unable to «broaden their mind» and go further than the simple and cordial adhesion to Christ and the Church, for which the faithful in Corinth were called «Christianoi». (Agenzia Fides 15/3/2007; righe 40, parole 523)