Current Page: World | Saturday, December 10, 2005
Holy See Addresses European Officials on Religious Freedom

Holy See Addresses European Officials on Religious Freedom

Speaking to some high-ranking European leaders, the Holy See highlighted the importance of religious freedom for maintaining peace in the multicultural continent.

On Dec. 5-6, the Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, represented the Holy See at the 13th OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Ministerial Council in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

According to the Catholic Zenit news agency, Lajolo had the chance to speak to 55 representatives from the OSCE member states.

"The Holy See considers its distinctive duty to insist on the continuing central importance of religious freedom for peaceful coexistence and for respect between different cultures in today's multiethnic and multicultural societies," he said.

In the light of the increasing diversity of cultures and religions in Europe, the continent has faced the challenge of interfaith conflicts, especially between Christians and Muslims. However, the Vatican was convinced that "discrimination against Muslims and Christians has begun to receive a less unbalanced treatment in the work of the OSCE."

Following this right direction, the Vatican suggested the OSCE to work on the "development of school curricula and other appropriate measures against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination."

With the support of the Second Vatican Council's promulgation of the declaration "Nostra Aetate," the Archbishop affirmed the commitment of the Church in fostering the relationship between Christians and members of other religions.

"This important document speaks likewise with great esteem of Muslims and members of other religions," said Lajolo.

"On the basis of their common human dignity, the Catholic Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life or religion," he continued.

Lajolo finally emphasized that OSCE, in order to be true to itself, "should not bring about a weakening of the human dimension, which is at core of the organization."

"Human rights are not negotiable," he added.


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