Representative of the Holy See at UNO makes propaganda for religious liberty

Source: FSSPX News


On October 27, before the 3rd Commission of the 61st General Assembly of UNO dealing with the issue of the rights of man, Bishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See with UNO, requested that freedom of religion be recognized beyond simple tolerance.

“The need for interreligious dialogue at all levels is of crucial importance not only for resolving disputes, but also for fostering peaceful coexistence that enables all religions to live side by side,” declared the diplomat of the Holy See. However, he was sorry that “freedom of religion or belief does not exist for individuals and communities, especially among religious minorities, in many parts of the world.”

Bishop Migliore then deplored that religious intolerance might in some countries lead to a “polarization” of society and to “discrimination”. We must “reverse this trend”. If “religious tolerance is sometimes characterized as accepting or permitting those religious beliefs and practices which disagree with one’s own, the time has come to move beyond this type of religious tolerance, and to apply instead the principles of authentic religious freedom,” he exclaimed. And he specified: “religious freedom is the right to believe, worship, propose and witness to one’s faith. It grants the opportunity and creates the occasions for people to profess freely the tenets of their faith.” Thus, “Religious tolerance is simply a starting point, a basis for universal religious freedom. There cannot be full religious tolerance without an effective recognition of religious freedom,” he continued. “We have come to a turning point in history which demands more” in this respect. Bishop Migliore said he was convinced of the “importance of reciprocity”, which “is apt to ensure the free exercise of religion in all societies.”

The diplomat of the Holy See concluded with a denunciation of the laws and legislative frameworks, which limit the freedom of religion. He deplored that the freedom of religion is used as a “as a pretext or a justification for violating other human rights.” It is “intolerant to denigrate religious communities and exclude them from public debate and cooperation just because they do not agree with options nor conform to practices that are contrary to human dignity.” “No one should be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her beliefs, whether in private or public.”


Our comment: On the question of freedom of religion, about which Bishop Fellay spoke in his sermon of October 15 in Villepreux (see our Documents section), it would be useful to read or re-read the works of Archbishop Lefebvre They Have Uncrowned Him (in the 4th part, see the chapter:  Freedom of religions according to Vatican II) and Open Letter to Confused Catholics, chapter XI from which we draw the following passage in which the founder of the Society of Saint Pius X, following Cardinal Ottaviani, made a clear distinction between religious freedom and religious tolerance: “At the Central Preparatory Commission before the Council, two schemas were submitted, one by Cardinal Bea under the title “Religious Liberty,” the other by Cardinal Ottaviani under the title, “Religious Tolerance.” (…)

Cardinal Bea’s schema contained, in my view and in that of a considerable number of the Fathers, propositions not in accord with the eternal truths of the Church. We read, for example, “This is why we must praise the fact that in our day liberty and religious equality are proclaimed by many nations and by the International Organization for the Rights of Man.”

Cardinal Ottaviani, on the other hand, set forth the question correctly: “Just as the civil power considers it right to protect citizens from the seductions of error, so it may also regulate and moderate the public expression of other forms of worship and defend its citizens against the diffusion of false doctrines which, in the judgment of the Church, endanger their eternal salvation.”(…)

There can be no doubt about the right of the truth to prevail and to replace false religions.  And yet in practice the Church does not prescribe blindly and intransigently regarding the expression of false religions in public. She has always said that they could be tolerated by the authorities in order to avoid a greater evil. That is why Cardinal Ottaviani preferred the term “religious tolerance.”