Category Archives: Religious Freedom

Respect for religious freedom leads to peace, Pope’s message affirms

Thumbnail image for BXVI arms.jpgThe Pope released his message for the World Day of Peace today which celebrates the XLIV World Day of Peace. It’s a New Year message all peoples. The themes of the message are:

  • the nature of religious freedom
  • the right to religious freedom
  • religious freedom is a duty of public authority
  • religious freedom and the search for truth
  • religious freedom and identity
  • communal dimension of religious freedom
  • religious freedom and dialogue
  • religious freedom and the state
  • religious freedom is motivated by solidarity and not reciprocity
  • religious freedom and the missionary charge
Evangelization and the carrying out the missionary charge, then, do not contradict and oppose the sense of religious freedom. Rather evangelization stirs up the religious freedom of every person and drives it towards the truth that saves, in the hope that persons in their religious freedom would desire it and embrace it. In the embrace of the truth that saves, all religious freedom enjoys the peace that, on earth, is bestowed “on all on whom his favour rests”!
The papal text of “Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace
Rome Reports covers the story
Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Mario Taso’s presentation of the message
Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. 200-300 million Christians face persecution yearly. 7 of out 10 can’t live in freedom with the faith. And about 150 thousand are killed for being Christian. The countries which are known to not respect Christians are: Myanmar (Burma), China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Eritrea.
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2008 Elections: What we hold most dear

As the Holy Father taught in Deus Caritas Est, “The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society is proper to the lay faithful” (no. 29). This duty is more critical than ever in today’s political environment, where Catholics may feel politically disenfranchised, sensing that no party and too few candidates fully share the Church’s comprehensive commitment to the life and dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. Yet this is not a time for retreat or discouragement; rather, it is a time for renewed engagement.
(Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)



As lay Catholics struggling to be faithful to the call of our bishops, we have arrived at the following judgments.

Fr. Giussani taught us that in front of life’s real problems and challenges, what we hold most dear surfaces. Thus, within the privacy of the voting booth we will see “whether faith is really in the foreground, whether faith truly comes first, whether we really expect everything from the fact of Christ or whether we expect what we decide to expect from the fact of Christ.”

We welcome the opportunity to vote as an educational one that will allow us to witness to what we hold most dear. We do not hope for salvation from politics or politicians. Yet we understand the critically important role that politics plays in our common American life.

For this reason two concerns matter most to us and we will vote according to which candidates and parties demonstrate an authentic care for these concerns.

First: Freedom of Religion. Political power must recognize faith’s undeniable contribution to the defense and broadening of human reason and its promotion of authentic human progress. This is a guarantee of freedom for everyone, not only for Christians. And this freedom must include the freedom to speak, convince, act, and build in the public square; religious freedom relegated to one’s private life is not religious freedom at all.

Second: The Common Good. Those who hold political power must do so as a service to the common good of the entire nation.

We consider the recognition and defense of three self-evident truths regarding human beings the minimum commitment to the common good: the right to life from conception to natural death; the irreplaceable value of the family, founded on the marriage between a man and woman; and freedom of education.

For the common good, we further seek politicians and political parties that value subsidiarity, a partnership between the public and private sectors facilitated by a robust non-profit sector. At the same time, we seek persons engaged in politics who recognize that subsidiarity can never annul the solidarity we owe to all our brothers and sisters living in this nation. There is no care for the common good that ignores basic human needs of millions in our nation.

These judgments will determine our support for particular candidates and political initiatives in the upcoming elections.

September 2008
Communion and Liberation – USA

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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