Rimini Meeting Takes Up Theme of Religious Liberty
Vatican's Leader on Interreligious Dialogue Notes International Emphasis on Topic
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RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 27, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Religious liberty was one of the topics covered at the Rimini Meeting organized by the Communion and Liberation movement.
Last Friday the subject was addressed in a forum made up by the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Nassir Adulaziz al-Nasser, the Italian minister for foreign affairs, Giulio Terzi, and the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran.
Al-Nasser expressed his concern over the numerous violations of religious liberty in many parts of the world and he promised that the United Nations would continue to monitor what is going on.
Italy’s foreign minister explained that the government is actively engaged in dialog with the Mediterranean countries on both economic and cultural matters. Around 20% of Italy’s trade is with North African and Middle Eastern countries, Terzi noted.
He also said that Italy is concerned about the protection of religious minorities, and in particular Christians.
Religion, he continued, has for too long been marginalized in Europe. The topic of religious liberty was considered to be “inconvenient” he noted, but it is important in politics to be concerned about religious liberty and human rights.
Quoting Pope Benedict XVI he said that to limit religious liberty means to foment a reductive perspective of what is the human person.
For his part Cardinal Tauran said that if religious liberty is being much talked about today it is because that it is a principle that is being constantly violated. The most recent case, he added, is that of a girl in Pakistan with Down Syndrome being accused of blasphemy.
Up until the end of the Second World War the theme of religious liberty was dealt with internally by each state. After the horrors of that war, he commented, the need came about for human rights to be the subject of international agreements.
Religious liberty, he continued, is based on the very nature of what it is to be a person, created by God, and for this reason it should be respected, at least to the point where it does not interfere with the rights of others.
The state, therefore, should not interfere with religion and should recognize that people by their very nature are religious and that religion is an integral part of society. “A world without God would be an unhuman world,” he concluded.