Peace Demands Spiritual Values, Says Holy See

Vatican Official Addresses European Security Group

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MAASTRICHT, Netherlands, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In an age of terrorism, the Holy See stresses that action for peace must be coupled with the promotion of spiritual, moral and religious values.



This urgent need was expressed by Monsignor Pietro Parolin, Vatican delegate at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held here.

The meeting served to outline the OSCE's strategy to address "the threats to stability and security in the 21st century."

The papal representative, who is Vatican undersecretary for relations with states, said that a "common, comprehensive and cooperative response" is necessary to avoid "the danger of unilateralism."

"The Holy See, for its part, does not tire in repeating that action to ensure peace and stability must be coupled with the commitment to promote spiritual, moral and religious values as well," he said.

Addressing some of the threats the OSCE has studied in the past year, Monsignor Parolin reiterated the condemnation made on several occasions by John Paul II against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and discrimination, in particular against gypsies.

"It is necessary to dedicate new energies to educate in coexistence and mutual trust, being firmly anchored in respect for religion, history, culture and the intrinsic value of every human person," Monsignor Parolin said.

In particular, the Vatican emphasized that all countries' programs of study must respect the religious identity of their students, as well as parents' right to educate their children.

"Respect for this identity and right, as well as the full exercise of religious freedom, contribute in a determinant way to combat intolerance and ethnic and racial prejudices," he said.

The OSCE assembly, held on Friday and Saturday, was attended by representatives of 55 nations: all the European countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Cyprus, Turkey and eight former Soviet republics in Asia. See www.osce.org.