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In 2nd message on Edict of Milan, Pope Francis calls for recognition of religious freedom

Catholic World News - May 21, 2013

On May 15, Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew traveled to the Italian city to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.

Patriarch Bartholomew, who holds a primacy of honor among heads of Orthodox churches, then returned to Istanbul, where the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, in conjunction with the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe, held a conference on religious freedom in commemoration of the Edict’s anniversary.

In a second papal message on the Edict – this one addressed to Patriarch Bartholomew, and written by Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone – Pope Francis made reference to the conference and looked forward to “the day when the divisions of the second millennium will be definitively consigned to the past.”

“Pope Francis is eager that the common witness of Christ’s disciples in Europe should help to spread the good news of salvation to the ends of the earth,” Cardinal Bertone continued. “He calls on civil authorities everywhere, in the light of Constantine’s historic decree, to respect the right of believers to worship freely and to express their faith publicly. At the same time, he invites all European citizens to recognize the role that Christianity has played in shaping our culture, and to remain open to the continuing contribution that Christian believers can make in this regard.”

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