David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, writes in the Irish Catholic: "Around the time of the Savita Halappanavar controversy [whether to legalise abortion in Ireland] I received an expletive-ridden phone call condemning the Catholic Church and telling me I should be hanged on O’Connell Street. Around that same time I was in the Henry Street area of Dublin city centre and I was stopped and attacked as a ‘Catholic toe-rag’ by a very angry looking man."
Quote from the article: “There is a general suspicion of anything religious, a view that faith should be kept out of the public sphere,” said Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, a Vienna-based research and lobbying group. “There is a very strong current of radical secularism,” she said, adding that this affects all religions but is particularly strong against Christianity because of a view that “Christianity dominated unfairly for centuries” and needs to be put in its place.
The Holy See Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva calls attention to the marginalisation of Christians in Western Europe at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Several of these acts have been perpetrated in parts of the middle East, Africa and Asia, the fruit of bigotry, intolerance, terrorism and some exclusionary laws. In addition, in some Western countries where historically the Christian presence has been an integral part of society, a trend emerges that tends to marginalize Christianity in public life, to ignore historic and social contributions and even to restrict the ability of faith communities to carry out social charitable services."
A group of at least 14,900 French mayors has said it will not perform “gay marriages,” even if the government moves ahead with plans to legalize the practice. The administration of French President Francois Hollande has put forth a measure that would legalize “gay marriage,” allow gay couples to receive medical treatment for artificial procreation and to adopt children.
Pope Francis in a homily: "Christians are persecuted for their faith. In some countries they are punished by the mere fact of carrying a cross. Today, in the twenty-first century, our Church is a Church of martyrs, those who say like Peter and John: 'We can not silence what we saw and heard.'" And that - he continued - "gives us strength, give us the strength to bear witness to the life and faith that we receive is the gift that the Lord gives to all people."
German Author and media analyst Norbert Bolz explains to the German Catholic Press Agency (KNA) why the media often has an anti-clerical attitude and how he suggests to react to this.
Archbishop Müller, prefect for the Congregation of the doctrine of the faith, says in an interview: "Specific campaigns to discredit the Catholic church in North America and also here in Europe have caused some public provocation and insults of clerics in certain fields. The atmosphere that arises due to that is visible in many blogs. Also there are attacks launched on television that have their origins in the battle that totalitarian ideologies led against christianity."
In a contribution to the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Roger Trigg writes: "Certainly, as is recognised in the case of conscientious objection in a time of war, it is the mark of civilised society to respect a conscientious stand, even if it is thought misguided. Whether freedom of religion can be simply replaced by an appeal to individual conscience is much more doubtful. Religion seems to be itself of deep importance in human life, and should be cherished. It has a social dimension, with institutional, as well as individual, aspects. What is quite clear is that once freedom of religion is not thought to be of absolutely fundamental importance in a society, but can give way to current social priorities, freedom of conscience also is challenged. Religious freedom, itself, is very hard to prise apart from the most basic freedoms that make any life worth living. It is regrettable that current European jurisprudence does not appear to take this point seriously."
On January 16, Archbishop Mamberti commented on Radio Vatican on the four freedom of religion cases ruled on by the European Court of Human Rights: "There is a real risk that moral relativism, which imposes itself as a new social norm, will come to undermine the foundations of individual freedom of conscience and religion. ... the rationality of the human conscience in general and of the moral action of Christians in particular requires explanation. Regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, freedom of consciences must be respected. Rather than being an obstacle to the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism, respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for it."