Culture has not been able to replace religion and will not be able to do so, except in small minorities, on the fringes in comparison with the wider public. The majority of human beings finds answers — or at least the feeling that a higher order exists, of which they are a part and which gives meaning and tranquility to their existence — solely through a transcendence that neither philosophy, nor literature nor science have managed to justify rationally.
And however many very brilliant intellectuals may seek to convince us that atheism is the only logical and rational consequence of knowledge and of the experience gained by the history of civilization, the idea of definitive extinction will continue to be intolerable to the ordinary person, who will continue to find in faith that hope of life after death which they have never been able to relinquish. Religion, as long as it does not assume political power and, in this regard, as long as those in power can respect its independence and neutrality, is not only licit but even indispensable in a democratic society.
Believers and non-believers alike can rejoice over what happened in Madrid on those days when God seemed to exist and Catholicism seemed to be the one true religion, and all of us like good children walked on, the Holy Father taking us by the hand, towards the Kingdom of Heaven.