Monsignor Anthony Frontiero of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace spoke about genuine respect and true tolerance when he addressed a Human Dimension Seminar being held through Monday by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. The office is part of the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The monsignor addressed the group on Oct. 5, contributing to a topic on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, and centering attention on intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions.
Genuine tolerance and respect "are a civil discipline," not just a "personal attitude," the monsignor said.
He pointed out that "incidents of hatred, discrimination, violence and intolerance against Christians and members of other religions continue to occur too frequently in the OSCE region and are symptomatic of the lack of peace in the world."
Monsignor Frontiero suggested that the OSCE's commitment to combat intolerance aims to promote genuine respect of "the differences among us."
The Holy See representative explained that "an absence of convictions is not synonymous with tolerance."
And, he contended, only skepticism and relativism remain if there is an absence of some "convincing notions of truth which require that we be tolerant with one who has a different idea of the truth of things."
For the Holy See, the monsignor suggested, a genuine notion of tolerance in pluralistic societies requires that "in dealing with non-believers and with those who profess a different faith, believers understand that one must reasonably expect that the disagreements they encounter will continue to exist."
In face of incidents of intolerance, discrimination and violence against Christians and against members of other religions, the Vatican delegation exhorted the OSCE to conceive and promote "a new tolerance."
"To respect the other as a person who seeks truth and goodness," he affirmed, "enables believers and others to address a dialogue that leads to mutual enrichment, instead of a more deeply-rooted skepticism about the very possibility of reaching the truth of things."