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Bishop Flores sees ‘neo-secular hegemony’ reminiscent of Roman Empire

October 24, 2012

In a lecture delivered at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville discussed “The Church and the State and the Shifting Dynamics of Public Secularity.”

“Caesar, in whatever form he has taken in history, is jealous to project a claim on the whole person and the whole of society,” he said, adding:

Elements of analogue exist between what the first Christians encountered in the early Roman Empire, and what we are facing in the current manifestations of neo-secular hegemony. Roman officialdom never understood what the problem was, since adherence to a public policy that had as its aim the securing of public order and commerce could hardly be considered objectionable to a Roman mind … Some sympathetic Roman might have said to the Christians, “what is a little incense?” Just do it to promote the greater good of domestic tranquility, and believe otherwise …

That the Church has had the kind of free space I earlier described within which to operate in American society may go down as an historical anomaly. It may end sooner than we imagine … The Romans considered the early Christians to be subversive to the public order. The relativization of loyalty to Caesar could hardly be read otherwise from within the closed orb of the world. That we will be labeled worse than subversive is not out of the question. The subversive element of the Gospel is there from the moment Jesus stood before Pilate judging the one who would be judge.


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