Archbishop of Westminster Shares Balanced View of Religious Tolerance

The Archbishop of Westminster has called for a more balanced view of faith during a lecture delivered at the Thomas More Institute in Hampstead, U.K.

“The secular public square should not be faith-blind but faith-sensitive, welcoming and testing reasoned argument.” Nichols proclaimed on Wednesday. “Religious voices should not expect special privilege because they are religious, but nor should they be excluded either.”

Reverend Nichols is the Archbishop of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Once considered to be a broad-minded Catholic, some as have perceived Nichols to be moving towards more conservative positions.

Before his enthronement as Archbishop of Westminster, he was vocal in defending the public reputation of the Catholic Church, notably criticizing the BBC for what he called "biased and hostile" programming towards Christianity, which reportedly contributed to the decision by the BBC not to show the animated sitcom Popetown.

In his latest speech, however, the 65-year-old showed signs that his ideas are a balance between the liberal and conservative labels that have been attached to him recently.

The Archbishop said one of the most urgent tasks in the world today is “exploring the reality of the diversity of human living.”

“Give up on respect for diversity, and we are impoverished and eventually become either dominators or dominated,” he continued.

Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs editor of The Telegraph, had high praise for Nichols’ speech saying it “echoed those made by the Pope during his historic visit to Britain last year when he urged the faithful not to be silenced by ‘aggressive secularism’.”

Beckford furthered his point by stating, “But the Archbishop, the most senior Catholic in England and Wales, sounded a more optimistic note when he said that the reactions to Benedict XVI’s visit ‘suggest that new opportunities may be emerging’.”

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