Media must report religious persecution – always

Cardinal Pietro Parolin is calling on the media to highlight religious persecution wherever it occurs.

Parolin, who is the Vatican Secretary of State, has condemned the ongoing abuse of religious freedom in many parts of the world.

“Despite so many efforts to promote and reinforce the fundamental human right of religious freedom, we are actually witnessing a continued deterioration, we might even say an assault, of this inalienable right in many parts of the world,” Parolin says.

At a symposium called Stand Together to Defend International Religious Freedom, Parolin said a proper understanding of human rights must be rooted in an authentic anthropology that places religious faith at the core of the human person.

The reality of global religious persecution is often ignored, he said.

“Notwithstanding the strong protection that religious freedom has within the framework of international law … we continue to witness grave violations of this basic fundamental right that often occur with impunity and at times receiving little, if any, attention in the media.”

Parolin pointed out the international law he referred to included religious freedom’s clear presentation in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

He highlighted the importance of journalists in defending religious liberty.

“Raising public awareness on the reality of religious persecution, particularly via the rapid means now available with digital media, remains a useful step to address violations of religious freedom,” he said.

“Those involved in the area of media and social communications must bring to light those realities that threaten the common good of the human family.”

Parolin also spoke about the rise of “new rights” in a culture which has lost sight of human nature’s roots in natural law.

“Some of the so-called ‘new human rights’ at times tend to conflict with those universally recognised fundamental human rights, including religious freedom and the right to life,” he said.

“When discussing religious freedom, we should never lose sight of the anthropological basis of this right.

“To do so is to run the risk of understanding religious freedom as something ancillary to the human person, as something conceded from ‘outside’ the person, even by the State, rather than as a God-given gift, indeed a gift rooted in the transcendent dimension of human nature.

“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.”

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News category: World.

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