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Vatican prelate sees mounting persecution of Christians

Catholic World News - March 04, 2014

“At present, Christians are the religious group which suffers persecution in the largest number of countries on account of its faith,” Cardinal Peter Turkson told participants in a conference on human rights held in Bratislava under the aegis of the Slovakian Bishops’ Conference.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that the repression suffered by Christians is “a grave violation of human rights.” He said that religious freedom requires the liberty to change one’s religion, and the freedom to practice one’s faith in public.

Cardinal Turkson pointed to two threats to religious freedom in today’s world: the secularism that seeks to reduce religious faith to purely private matters, and the “extreme forms of fundamentalism” that impede efforts to ensure peaceful coexistence among believers of different faiths.

“The Church has a serious concern when the ideology of a particular group of individuals can somehow create a new human right,” the cardinal added. As examples he cited the drive to create a right to euthanasia, and the campaign to recognize “gender” rights to suggest that sexuality is a matter of individual choice.

Speaking to reporters at the Bratislava conference, Cardinal Turkson was critical of new laws in Uganda that make homosexuality a criminal offense. He said that “homosexuals are not criminals” and encouraged respectful treatment for all.

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