Aide Denounces Europe's Intolerance of Christians

Calls Report an "Important Offering"

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is concerned about the new phenomenon of intolerance and discrimination against Christians in Europe, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reported this in on the last episode of "Octava Dies." He commented on the five-year report published Friday by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe.

Father Lombardi noted: "The importance of the new report is precisely in its giving a long and detailed series of examples of intolerance toward Christians in Europe: acts of vandalism, of hatred, toward Churches and religious symbols, manifestations of hatred and offences against persons.

"It is a basis on which to evaluate the dimensions and nature of the phenomenon."

He called the report "an important offering for reflection and engagement, not only for those who work for the defense of Christianity and its values, but also all honest persons who are truly desirous to safeguard the values of tolerance and liberty of expression and religion."

Citing the speech of Benedict XVI at Westminster Hall during his visit to the United Kingdom last September, the spokesman recalled that "religion is not a problem to be resolved but a factor that contributes to public debate in a vital way."

The priest recalled that at the last meeting of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), recently held in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, firmly stated that "the international community must combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians with the same determination with which it fights against hatred in regard to other religious communities."

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On the Net:

Observatory report: www.IntoleranceAgainstChristians.eu