Vatican, Iranian officials issue joint statement, affirm religious freedom
November 16, 2010
Vatican officials and Islamic leaders in Iran have concluded their 7th session of inter-religious dialogue, issuing a joint statement that affirms the importance of religious faith and the necessity of religious freedom.
The discussions, were held in Teheran from November 9 to 11, were co-chaired by Mohammad Baqer Khorramshad, the president of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization; and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
The joint statement said that religion “has an inherent social dimension that the state has the obligation to respect,” and that religion “cannot be confined to (the) private sphere.”
Making a point that the Vatican has frequently stressed, in its relations with Islamic countries—notably including Iran-- the joint statement said:
Faith, by its very nature, requires freedom. Therefore, religious freedom, as a right inherent to human dignity, must always be respected by individuals, social actors and the state. The cultural and historical background of each society which is not in contradiction with human dignity should be taken into consideration in applying this fundamental principle.