Holy See on Tolerance and Fight Against Racism and Xenophobia
"Roots of Racism Found in Ignorance, Prejudice and Hatred"
BRUSSELS, SEPT. 27, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is the address delivered on Sept. 14, 2004, by Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, at the Conference on Tolerance and the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia, and Discrimination of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Mrs. Moderator and Distinguished Delegates,
In my capacity as President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue I wish to join the previous speakers in congratulating the Belgian Government for hosting this International Conference on a very important and delicate topic, to which the OSCE has been devoting particular attention since the Porto Ministerial Council in 2002.
We are all well aware that the roots of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance are found in ignorance, prejudice and hatred, which may often arise from faulty and inadequate education and also from the misuse of the media.
The role of education as a "good practice to be promoted" in the struggle against these evils, is fundamental. It offers a unique opportunity to present - especially to the young - certain major values such as the unity of the human race, the equal dignity of all human beings, the solidarity which binds together all the members of the human family. Accordingly there is a continuous need to monitor, and to correct if necessary, the presentations made in text-books used in schools. The programs of educational institutions should in fact transmit an objective knowledge of different cultures and encourage the interest of the new generations in the different historical, linguistic and cultural traditions of their particular area, of the European continent and indeed of the world as a whole. Pope John Paul II has often emphasized that the teaching of religion, in particular, can instill the hope that there is a real possibility of living together in a common perspective of solidarity and peace.
In this regard, the Catholic Church has, for centuries and in every continent, played a very active role "on the ground". Faithful to the values she cherishes, she carries out her educative mission in the service of every person and of the whole person. In many countries where the majority of the population is non-Christian, Catholic schools are places where children and young people of different faiths, cultures, social class or ethnic background come into contact with one another and are educated together. This is true also of certain areas of countries with a Christian majority, but including a substantial presence of other faith communities.
The Declaration "Nostra Aetate" on the relations of the Catholic Church to other religions emphasizes that "we cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people in other than brotherly fashion (...) No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned (Nostra Aetate, n. 5).
In the light of what has been said, the Holy See is convinced that education and the commitment against discrimination should involve reference to the current UN and OSCE agreed causes of discrimination. Attempts to extend such categories to include causes which would clash with the legal systems, with the culture and the religious traditions of a vast majority of the members of the United Nations and of the OSCE, constitute a lack of respect for, and even of tolerance towards, such traditions. Such attempts are in contrast with the indications given by the 1993 Conference of Vienna on human rights (cf. Vienna Declaration, para. 5).
Furthermore, respect for each individual's religious identity requires an education which will provide some understanding of the specificity of Churches and religious communities vis-ŕ-vis the organizations of civil society, to which they cannot be reduced. Religious communities contribute to the culture of our societies and to the democratic debate within them, but they also point to a spiritual dimension that not all would recognize but which is of demonstrable importance to the life of citizens. Moreover, the specific identity of religious communities implies that their values cannot be calculated on the basis of purely political criteria, nor on the basis of criteria uncritically adopted from those which are used to evaluate other kinds of associations. The media have a great responsibility here, and constitute a meaningful resource for creating an awareness of this specificity, and gaining respect for it.
With reference to this identity, I wish finally to emphasize that when carried out in the right manner education in respect and tolerance does not imply reducing the fundamental principles of every religion and culture to the lowest common denominator. As is stated in the UNESCO Declaration on Tolerance, the latter does not imply renouncing one's principles or weakening one's adherence to them. Education in tolerance, including through the media, means educating in the exercise of the freedom to adhere to one's own convictions, while accepting that others may adhere to theirs as well, and in respecting those practices that correspond to each individual's religious beliefs, provided that they violate neither the rights of others, nor national security, public health or morals.
Thank you, Mrs Moderator.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Racism, Ignotance, Prejudics, Hatred
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 22, 2017
- California's floods predicted by scientists, but how? HD Video
- St. Margaret of Cortona: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 22, ...
- 'I would like to relinquish my U.S. citizenship' - Priest makes ...
- 'God gave orders to kill every infidel' - ISIS reveals their favorite ...
- Is evolution a lie? The Tully Monster suggests evoluton took some ...
- Pope Francis tells how to become a saint HD
- Protesters gather to declare allegiance to Islam and hate toward President Trump HD
- Massive storm threatens to flood more than just the Oroville Dam HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.