Pope Benedict XVI today spoke about the need for religious freedom and respect, and about the need to oppose violence as a response to religious provocation. The occasion was his message given in receiving the Letters of Credence of Ali Achour, the new ambassador of Morocco to the Holy See.
A press release, published by Vatican Information Service today, includes the following:
"In ever greater numbers, emigrants from less favored regions call at the gates of Europe in search of better living conditions," said the Pope. Therefore, it is necessary "that institutions in the countries of destination and transit, do not consider these people as a mere commodity or labor force, and that they respect their fundamental rights and their dignity." . . .
Benedict XVI then referred to Morocco's contribution to "the consolidation of dialogue between civilizations, cultures and religions," recalling that "in the current international context, the Catholic Church is convinced that, in order to support peace and understanding among peoples, ... there is an urgent need for religions and their symbols to be respected, and for believers not to be exposed to provocations that wound ... their religious feelings."
"Nonetheless," the Holy Father added, "intolerance and violence can never be justified as a response to offence, because they are incompatible with the sacred principles of religion. For this reason, we can only lament the actions of those who deliberately profit from the offence caused to religious sentiments in order to foment violence, because their aims are foreign to religion."
The Pope concluded his address to the diplomat by recalling that for believers and for people of good will, the only road that leads to peace and fraternity is that of "respect for the religious practices and convictions of others," so that "in all societies, everyone may be assured of the opportunity to practice the religion they have freely chosen."
The Asia News - Italy article is here.