“Intolerant secularising forces” want to remove Christianity from the public sphere, particularly education, Bishop Donal McKeown warned in his Easter homily.
The bishop of Derry said that the “new intolerant secular dogma” wants to portray Christianity as an evil force.
“All sorts of agendas insist that faith is a conduit of culturally unacceptable teachings for modern people,” Bishop McKeown said on Easter Sunday.
“Education is a particular area where intolerant secularising forces resent anybody else influencing young people except themselves and their ever-fluctuating ideas.”
The bishop’s comments come as a bill that would promote integrated education awaits royal assent, having been voted through the North’s assembly in March.
Catholic schools’ bodies in the North have previously warned that the bill will create a “two-tiered system”, favouring integrated education ahead of Catholic and Protestant schools.
In his Easter homily, Bishop McKeown went on to say that Christ’s Resurrection “breaks the blinkered worldview that says human wisdom knows better than divine foolishness”.
“Resurrection is central to our faith for it calls for a decision to dare to believe,” Dr McKeown continued.
“Being nice to people is no big deal. Believing that Jesus rose from the dead is a challenge. It is on that teaching that our faith stands or falls.”
Meanwhile, in their Easter messages, the archbishops of Dublin and Armagh reflected on the meaning of Easter in the face on continuing violence against Ukraine by Russia.
Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell called on people to remember that “the support of the State and NGOs is no replacement for the concreteness of warmth and love. A welcome centre is a shelter, but not a home.”
Christ’s Resurrection calls us to a “road, not of domination, but of service” that is “made real for us in how we now welcome our sisters and brothers from Ukraine”, Archbishop Farrell continued during the Easter Vigil Mass. “Welcoming the stranger is the Resurrection in action!”
The Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said in his Easter message that “peace and prosperity seem a distant dream” for the people of Ukraine.
“How much our world today needs to hear that [Easter] message – from Ukraine to Tigray, Syria to South Sudan, the cross of Good Friday still casts its shadow in the suffering of millions caught up in the violence and aggression of war,” he continued.
“But mercifully also, the work of peacemakers and the enormous outpouring of love, welcome and humanitarian aid bears witness to the hope and promise of Easter, of Easter peace that can never be extinguished by war or hatred,” Archbishop Martin finished.