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Cardinal attacks British secularism

Dec. 7, 2008 at 9:13 PM

LONDON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The senior Roman Catholic churchman in Britain says intolerant secular liberals have made the country an unfriendly place for religious believers.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor contributed an article to "Faith in the Nation," a book on multiculturalism to be published Monday by the Institute for Public Policy Research," The Telegraph reported. The book, which includes contributions from Anglican Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, has a forward by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

O'Connor suggested that Catholicism bears the brunt of what he called "liberal hostility."

"The vocal minority who argue that religion has no role in modern British society portray Catholic teaching on the family as prejudiced and intolerant to those pursuing alternatives," he said.

Jews and Muslims also encounter intolerance of their beliefs, the cardinal said.

"Religious belief of any kind tends now to be treated more as a private eccentricity than as the central and formative element in British society that it is," he said. "Although the tone of public discussion is (skeptical) or dismissive rather than anti-religious, atheism has become more vocal and aggressive."

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