Archbishop Mamberti Calls for Religious Freedom in Europe

Secretary for Relations with States Addresses Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States addressed the 29th  meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which was held Dublin, Ireland from on December 6th and 7th. 

Archbishop Mamberti focused his address on the importance of religious freedom in Europe today. "Among the fundamental freedoms, the right to freedom of religion figures prominently for the Holy See," he said.

"The OSCE has always emphasized the positive contributions of religious communities to society. In this sense, the activity of the OSCE has ensured that public debate gives space to viewpoints inspired by a religious vision in all its dimensions, including ritual, worship, education, dissemination of information and the freedom to profess and choose one’s religion". 

"In fact, the rights associated with religion are all the more in need of protection if they are considered to clash with a prevailing secular ideology or with majority religious positions of an exclusive nature", he continued.

Archbishop Mamberti underlined that freedom of religion cannot just be limited to freedom of worship but to the "public dimension of religion" as well.  Such emphasis would therefore give "the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order." 

The Secretary for Relations with States also highlighted the continuing religious intolerance throughout the world, saying that "it is well documented that Christians are among those most discriminated against, even within the OSCE region." The archbishop said that despite commitments taken by participating states in the regions, other countries continue to pass "intolerant and even discriminatory laws. Those laws, he added, essentially deny religious freedom.

"Christians are frequently targets of prejudice and threats of violence, perhaps on account of their active participation in public conversations to form societies more respectful of human life and dignity," he said.

In light of the above, Archbishop Mamberti concluded, "the OSCE should devote specific attention and develop effective proposals to fight intolerance and discrimination against Christians."