The Secretary for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti gave an interview to Vatican Radio on Wednesday, in which he discussed the Church’s freedom and institutional autonomy, with reference to four cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights on the 15th of January, and two others still before the Court. With regard to the four cases decided by the Court ”“ only one of which was decided in favour of the complainant ”“ Archbishop Mamberti spoke of the complexity of questions relating to freedom of conscience and religion, in particular in European society marked by the increase of religious diversity and the corresponding hardening of secularism. He discussed the danger posed by a moral relativism that imposes itself as a social norm, and explained that the Church seeks to defend individual freedoms of conscience and religion in all circumstances, especially in the face of such danger.
Archbishop Mamberti addressed the need of respect for freedom of conscience regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, saying that respect for freedom of conscience and religion is a condition for the establishment of a tolerant society in its pluralism. He warned that the erosion of freedom of conscience is symptomatic of a form of pessimism with regard to the capacity of the human conscience to recognize the good and the true. The Archbishop went on to say that it is the Church’s role to remind people that the true source of human freedom is found in the ability of each and every person to distinguish good from evil, and an obligation to act in accord with those determinations.