Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday encouraged the display of religious symbols in public buildings including schools, courthouses, hospitals and prisons, saying that God needs to be present in community life.
The pontiff, in a speech to participants of a national convention organized by the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists, said that at its origin, "lay status" referred merely to a person of Christian faith who was not a member of the clergy or a part of the religious state.
However, in modern times it has come to mean the opposite, Benedict said.
Nowadays, "a lay status entails the exclusion of religious symbols from public places," Benedict said. "The basis of such a concept is an a-religious vision of life, of thought and of morality; that is a vision where there is no room for God, for a mystery that transcends pure reason, for a moral law that has an absolute value."
"It is the job then, of all believers ... to help elaborate a concept of laicism that on the one hand gives God and His moral laws, Christ and His church the place it deserves in life ... and on the other affirms and respects the legitimate autonomy of terrestrial realities," the pope said
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Bring Christ to the Public Realm
Pope Benedict, from Fox News: