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Identity Crisis, Part II

December 8, 2007
"The real problem in Quebec is not the presence of religious signs or the emergence of new invasive religious symbols in public spaces. The real problem in Quebec is the spiritual vacuum created by a religious and cultural rupture, a substantial loss of memory, leading to a crisis of the family and education, leaving citizens confused, demoralized, prone to instability and relying on transient and superficial values.”
From Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s intervention at the Bouchard-Taylor Reasonable Accommodation Commission on October 30th, 2007. Translation by The Catholic Register.
cardouellet.jpgThe Cardinal’s frank assessment added to a discussion already commendable for its absence of self-congratulatory rhetoric. Even if the commission succeeds at nothing else, it has revealed to the broader public what religious believers long knew.
People of faith, many of whom feel marginalized, already realized that Canadian tolerance didn’t apply to all. And like we’ve always argued, Canadian “shared values” are meaningful only to the extent that they can be defined—like a 1990’s “Magic Eye,” the whole image dissolves when we focus on any one feature.
But the reasonable accommodation debate is more than just an abstract identity exercise. It forces us to confront unresolved distinctions between public and private, church and state, individual rights and the common good. On tonight’s Catholic Focus, we will explain why its outcome has serious consequences for everyone of a religious worldview.
Catholic Focus airs on Salt + Light TV at 7 and 11 PM ET.