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LOS ANGELES (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop José H. Gomez, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, decried secularization, rule by the elites, globalization, and wokeness, in a speech to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Spain on November 4.

The Catholic group asked Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to address “the rise of new secular ideologies and movements for social change in the United States and the implications for the Church,” which he called a “serious, sensitive, and complicated topic.”

“An elite leadership class has risen in our countries that has little interest in religion and no real attachments to the nations they live in or to local traditions or cultures,” Gomez said.

“This group, which is in charge in corporations, governments, universities, the media, and in the cultural and professional establishments,” Gomez said, “wants to establish what we might call a global civilization, built on a consumer economy and guided by science, technology, humanitarian values, and technocratic ideas about organizing society.”

He said that “secularization” is synonymous with removing Christianity from the public square, especially on topics such as marriage and the sanctity of life.

“Church institutions and Christian-owned businesses are increasingly challenged and harassed,” he told the Catholic group. “The same is true for Christians working in education, health care, government, and other sectors. Holding certain Christian beliefs is said to be a threat to the freedoms, and even to the safety, of other groups in our societies.”

The archbishop warned that movements have tried to replace religion.

“Whatever we call these movements — ‘social justice,’ ‘wokeness,’ ‘identity politics,’ ‘intersectionality,’ ‘successor ideology’ — they claim to offer what religion provides,” he said. “They provide people with an explanation for events and conditions in the world. They offer a sense of meaning, a purpose for living, and the feeling of belonging to a community.”

These movements, he said, have their own “story of salvation.”

He posited that the happiness of the liberal activists comes from the feeling they are fighting against “oppressors.”

“The cause of our unhappiness is that we are victims of oppression by other groups in society,” Archbishop Gomez theorizes as the approach of the leftists. “We are liberated and find redemption through our constant struggle against our oppressors, by waging a battle for political and cultural power in the name of creating a society of equity,” he said, explaining his interpretation of how he believes the activists think.

The activist movements contain “certain elements of liberation theology” and “seem to be coming from the same Marxist cultural vision.”

Critical theories, such as critical race theory, are “profoundly atheistic,” he said.

“They deny the soul, the spiritual, transcendent dimension of human nature; or they think that it is irrelevant to human happiness,” he said. “They reduce what it means to be human to essentially physical qualities — the color of our skin, our sex, our notions of gender, our ethnic background, or our position in society.”

Leftist activist groups have criticized the speech.

“The struggles for equality in the US and around the world by Black and Brown people, those of Asian descent, women, and LGBTQ+ people are based, at least for many, in the fundamental Christian belief that every human is created and beloved by God, and therefore has equal dignity,” homosexual and heretical activist group DignityUSA said.

“My faith is why I, along with so many other members of our church and religious leaders across the country, marched with Black Lives Matter groups to condemn ongoing racist violence,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the group. “To disparage these struggles as anti-religious is patently wrong and cruel.”