“[Jesuit theologian] Bernard Coughlin … warned that the American principle separating church and state, when joined with our religious pluralism, becomes ‘a principle separating church and society.’ It confines Christian faith to the private sphere, as if it were an inward and invisible thing. Christianity is an outward and public thing, as Chesterton called it, an unabashedly communal and thus an irreducibly political reality. The Church’s mission, therefore, is to worship the triune God and to practice its ethical life in full accord with its historic convictions. The Church is thus called to make prophetic witness against all pretensions to secular autonomy. When the nation-state pretends to such sovereignty, it is in fact no longer secular. It transforms itself into what Fr. Coughlin named as ‘an antireligious religion.’ ‘To the Christian,’ he cautioned in June of 1963, ‘secularism is a form of idolatry—the deification of man-made things.’”
Ralph C. Wood, “Flannery O’Connor: Stamped But Not Cancelled“, FirstThings.com, June 16, 2015.