Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis Speaks On Religious Liberty At Independence Hall

Pope Francis today during his visit to Philadelphia, delivered an address in front of Independence Hall.  The talk (full text) billed as the Address of Pope Francis at the Meeting for Religious Liberty was delivered to an audience comprised of many representatives of the immigrant community in the United States.  The Pope said in part:
Religious freedom certainly means the right to worship God, individually and in community, as our consciences dictate.  But religious liberty, by its nature, transcends places of worship and the private sphere of individuals and families. 
Our various religious traditions serve society primarily by the message they proclaim.  They call individuals and communities to worship God, the source of all life, liberty and happiness.  They remind us of the transcendent dimension of human existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of every claim to absolute power.  We need but look at history, especially the history of the last century, to see the atrocities perpetrated by systems which claimed to build one or another “earthly paradise” by dominating peoples, subjecting them to apparently indisputable principles and denying them any kind of rights.... 
In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.
CNN reported on the Pope's remarks, pointing out that Francis made "no explicit references to any of the U.S. Catholic bishops' recent battles over religious rights."