Pope BeneDICKt ... part II.
Pope Benedict XVI: European Secularism is a Form of ApostasyThe Catholic Church continues to have trouble with the increasing secularism and secularization of Europe. People just don't have as much use or need for religion and traditional churches like they used to, and this has been difficult for ecclesiastical leaders to accept. Recently, an anniversary declaration about the EU failed to mention Christianity and this caused Pope Benedict XVI to throw a fit.
The “Berlin Declaration” was issued by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, to mark 50 years since the founding of the union in Rome in 1957. The declaration highlights European values such as democracy and outlines a vision for the future which includes fighting climate change. It contains, however, no reference to God or to Europe’s Christian roots.
In a hard-hitting speech to European bishops, the Pope accused Europe of abandoning God and the Christian faith - the dominant faith across the continent. ..."Does not this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it (Europe) to doubt its very identity?" The Pope has, likewise, advocated strongly for a reference to God in the EU constitution, following in the footsteps of his predecessor John Paul. ...Pope Benedict warned that the EU was on a slippery slope towards indifference...
Source: Christianity Today
Benedict's strong response may be partially motivated by disappointment: there appears to have been some expectation that Merkel would revive the debate about including Benedict's god in the EU constitution, but has stopped talking about it in order to ensure support from secular nations like France. Obviously not everyone in Europe agrees on what to do about religion, but secular forces right now have the upper hand and, moreover, they are on the increase.
It's important to keep in mind that "apostasy" isn't simply an epithet — it's a specific category for Christianity and some other religions: "the concept of apostasy has come to be applied to any person who completely abandons their religious faith and either embraces a different religion or simply rejects religion entirely and become irreligious. No religions look kindly upon apostates, and some have recommended the death penalty for them. Thus, apostasy is not regarded as mere dissent or disagreement — rather, it is treated as a threat to the existence of the group, thus explaining its relatively harsh treatment."