Perhaps America’s brand of secularism poses a particular problem: it allows for professing belief in God, and respects the public role of religion and the Churches, but at the same time it can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator. Faith becomes a passive acceptance that certain things 'out there' are true, but without practical relevance for everyday life. The result is a growing separation of faith from life: living 'as if God did not exist'. This is aggravated by an individualistic and eclectic approach to faith and religion: far from a Catholic approach to 'thinking with the Church', each person believes he or she has a right to pick and choose, maintaining external social bonds but without an integral, interior conversion to the law of Christ. Consequently, rather than being transformed and renewed in mind, Christians are easily tempted to conform themselves to the spirit of this age. We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion.
--Pope Benedict XVI, during his Apostolic Visit to the US, 2008