Holy See Warns OSCE Against Imposing False Separation of Public, Private Christian Witness

In address to conference on persecution of Christians, looks at worrying trends in Europe

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Intolerance and discrimination against Christians was the theme of a conference organized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on Monday.

A Holy See delegation noted that persecution against Christians in some areas of the globe reaches genocidal tendencies. But in the OSCE region, the delegation affirmed, the worrisome trend is the false separation erected between living one’s faith in private and public.

Delegations of the various states of the OSCE region as well as NGOs active in the field of intolerance and discrimination against Christians spoke in three sessions about the importance of enhancing efforts to prevent and combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians in the OSCE region, focusing on hate crimes, exclusion, marginalization and denial of rights.

The Association of the Catholic bishops’ conferences in Europe (CCEE) was present at the meeting in the persons of Fr. Michel Remery, CCEE Vice-Secretary General, and Miss Raffaella Di Noia. 

Fr. Remery is also National Point of Contact for hate crimes against Christians for the Holy See, and as such was part of the delegation of the Holy See, led by Mgr. Janusz Urbańczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See at the OSCE and other international organizations based in Vienna.

In the address given by the Holy See delegation, it was noted that «it is well documented that year after year Christians are the religious group most persecuted and discriminated against on the global level.»

“Particularly worrisome is the fact that across the OSCE region a sharp dividing line has been drawn between religious belief and religious practice, so that Christians are frequently reminded in public discourse or even in the courts, that they can believe whatever they like in private, and worship as they wish in their own churches, but they simply cannot act on those beliefs in public.”

“Tolerance towards one view should not lead to intolerance towards others. Intolerance in the name of ‘tolerance’ must be named for what it is and publicly condemned. To deny religiously informed moral arguments a place in the public square is intolerant, anti-democratic and anti-religious.”

“Therefore, we call upon the participating States to act clearly against such hate crimes and to protect the Christians in their territories. Furthermore, we encourage them to report these incidents and seriously engage in ensuring that all their citizens, including Christians, can live peacefully, freely professing and practising their faith.”

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