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Don't exclude Church from public discussion, Pope tells Belgian envoy

April 26, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI insisted that the Church must retain a public voice, as he greeted a new ambassador from Belgium to the Holy See.

The Holy Father told the new ambassador, Charles Ghislain, that the Church "respects the right of everyone to think differently from herself, and would like to see her own right to expression respected." Rejecting the idea that the Church asks for special political status, he added: "The Church, having the common good as her objective, wants nothing other than the freedom to be able to present this message, not imposing it on anyone, and respecting people's freedom of conscience."

The voice of the Church is needed in contemporary society, the Pope said, in order to affirm that "human life and dignity are a precious resource to be defended and promoted resolutely, especially on the basis of natural law." He expressed the desire that Belgium would honor its Christian heritage and recognize the importance of religious witness.

The Church also offers society a timely reminder that objective truth exists, the Pope observed. He warned that "without without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power."


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