Skip Navigation Links
Year of Mercy
Catholic News
Special Reports
Google Plus
RSS Feeds
top catholic news View Comments
Nuncio: Duty of UN Is to Ensure Religious Freedom for All
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Monday, November 16, 2009
Click here to email! Email | Click here to print! Print | Size: A A |  
UNITED NATIONS (CNS)—The United Nations has a significant role to play in helping nations "fully ensure, at all levels, the implementation of the right to religious freedom" for all people, the U.N. nuncio said.

"A century and a half ago ... religion was described as the 'opium of the people,' (but) today, in the context of globalization, it is increasingly regarded as the 'vitamin of the poor,'" Archbishop Celestino Migliore told the U.N. General Assembly Nov. 10.

He said the U.N. charter and other U.N. documents affirm "full respect for and promotion not only of the fundamental freedom of conscience but also of the expression and practice of everybody's religion, without restriction."

The United Nations' ultimate goal in pursuing interreligious dialogue and cooperation should be "to engage states as well as all segments of human society to recognize, respect and promote the dignity and rights of every person and each community in the world," he said.

The unique contribution of religions and the dialogue and cooperation among them is that they "tend to raise the human spirit, protect life, empower the weak, translate ideals into action, purify institutions (and) contribute to resolving economic and noneconomic inequalities," the archbishop said.

Throughout history it is well known that individuals and leaders have manipulated religions, he said. "Recently, the manipulation and misuse of religion for political purposes have given rise to debates and deliberations at the U.N. on the theme, placing it in the context of human rights.

"Recent social and political events have renewed the engagement of the U.N. to integrate its reflection and action on affirming a culture of respect with a specific concern for interreligious understanding," he said.

The archbishop pointed out the leadership the Catholic Church has shown in reaching out to other religions, noting that 40 years ago the Second Vatican Council issued "Nostra Aetate," its declaration on relations with non-Christian religions.

"A council on interreligious dialogue was set up more than 40 years ago," he said, and more recently there was "a first-of-its-kind initiative with the representatives of the 138 Muslim signatories of the document 'A Common Word Between Us and You.'"

The document was an October 2007 letter to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders signed by senior Muslim leaders and later endorsed by dozens of others.

The letter highlights two theological similarities found in both the Quran and the New Testament: belief in one God and love of neighbor. The letter also proposes theological dialogue to find common ground.

"This engagement seeks to foster greater respect, understanding and cooperation among believers of various denominations, encourage the study of religions and promote the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue," Archbishop Migliore said.

More on The Church and Interfaith Relations >>
More Top Catholic News >>

blog comments powered by Disqus

Come find us at: Facebook | St. Anthony Messenger magazine Twitter | American Catholic YouTube | American Catholic

An Site from the Franciscans and Franciscan Media Copyright © 1996 - 2016