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Recognize subtle dangers to religious freedom, Pope urges

Catholic World News - May 04, 2011

Freedom of religion, which was subjected to “systematic denial by atheistic regimes of the 20th century,” is again in danger today, Pope Benedict XVI told the members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The Pontifical Academy concluded a plenary meeting devoted to discussion of religious freedom on May 3. In his message to the group the Holy Father called for “the recognition of the fundamental human right to religious freedom on the part of all states.” He added that governments should provide protection, as needed, for religious minorities.

Mary Ann Glendon, the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, reported that the group had discussed different aspects of the threats against religious freedom, including state coercion and persecution, legal restrictions on religious minorities, social pressures, and “the growth of secular fundamentalism in Western counties which considers religious believers a threat to secular, liberal democratic politics.”

In remarks to Vatican Radio, Glendon said that Western nations “tend to get very satisfied with ourselves” regarding questions of religious freedom, but Pope Benedict issued a blunt reminder that “we fail to recognize the subtle and sophisticated ways in which religious freedom is undermined in our own cultures.”

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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - May. 04, 2011 11:16 PM ET USA

    Jesus said, "Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God's." Thus, the Vatican II Fathers said "it is wrong for a public authority to compel its citizens by force or fear or any other means to profess or repudiate any religion or prevent any one from joining or leaving a religious body." We all have a duty to promote the common and since the free exercise of religion contributes to the common good we all have a duty to protect this right for all.

  • Posted by: impossible - May. 04, 2011 11:14 PM ET USA

    Have you noticed how the "progressivists'" hero, Obama, has started using "freedom of worship" in place of "freedom of religion?" Big difference!

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