Delegates talk about “What has struck me most”

“As the work progresses at GC, and as we present themes, share and discuss the documents, we realize that all of us here do not attach the same meaning to many of these major concepts or terms. Words sometimes can resonate differently depending on which part of the world we come from. Nuances and connotations that emanate from a word can be contradictory. ‘Secular’ in Asia and Africa is a positive word, in the context of religious fundamentalism and intolerance. It means that all religions are equally respected and that society/Government is not associated with any religion; we say ‘it is a secular Government, and as such is desirable and favourable to us’. But in Europe and the Americas, ‘secular’ carries a different connotation, a negative meaning. The secular society/Government distances itself from religions and has nothing to do with, and even opposes, religious faiths and practices. Secularism is opposed to religion.” (Hector D’ Souza SJ, Kohima, India)