Monday, September 22, 2014

Pope Francis In Albania Speaks On Religious Violence and Religious Freedom

Pope Francis, on a visit to Albania yesterday, spoke at the Catholic University of Tirana to leaders of various faith communities on issues of religious freedom and religious violence.  Vatican Radio reports the full text of his speech. The Pope said in part:
We cannot deny that intolerance towards those with different religious convictions is a particularly insidious enemy, one which today is being witnessed in various areas around the world.... [A]ll those forms which present a distorted use of religion, must be firmly refuted as false since they are unworthy of God or humanity. Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence! No one must use the name of God to commit violence! To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.
Seen in this light, religious freedom is not a right which can be guaranteed solely by existing legislation, although laws are necessary. Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.
The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters. When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others.... 
The second attitude which fosters the promotion of religious freedom is the work done in service of the common good....  The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom!