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Italian Cardinal worried about Godless China, but Islam not a problem

Cardinal Camillo Ruini has said that the Church has more cause for concern about civilisations such as China, in which religion plays a minor role and faith in a personal God is absent.

He says the strengthening of Islam, by contrast, is actually reinforcing Christian identity in the West.

He stressed that the case of China is particularly alarming, given its emergence as a superpower.

Cardinal Ruini, who was speaking in the central northern region of Reggio Emilia, is president of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference.

He suggested that even concern about secularism is exaggerated. He cited a renewed interest in Christian religious and cultural identity, even on the part of intellectuals outside the Church. This, he said, is propelling society beyond the "historical phase of secularism".

Also a concern is what he called the "anthropological question", which refers to the revolution in biotechnology.

He said: "Scientific naturalism is not only theoretical, but practical: it acts physically upon the human subject and radically changes the social order; it alienates not only the Christian faith but the very centrality and dignity of man."

Cardinal Ruini recommended the writings of atheist German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, who was recently cited by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

His talk was cited by Sandro Magister, the Vatican correspondent for the Italian news magazine L'Espresso, who included an English translation of Ruini's talk in an online column this week.

Sandro Magister: Ruini Looks Ahead, and Raises an Alarm over China (L'Espresso 30/11/04)

Atheist supports Ratzinger crusade against secularism (CathNews 23/11/04)

2 Dec 2004