Religious freedom central to human rights, says bishop

.- The cause of religious liberty must be a fundamental priority of United States foreign policy, said Bishop Ricardo Ramirez Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

“From the perspective of Catholic teaching, religious freedom is the first of our freedoms,” said the bishop of Las Cruces in a testimony before the House International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations. He testified as a member of the USCCB’s International Policy Committee.

“Religious freedom covers a broad range of vital activities, from freedom of worship to freedom of conscience, from the right to establish schools and charities to the right to participate in and seek to influence public affairs,” said Bishop Ramirez, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

He described two “major challenges” to religious freedom. The first is “the proper place of religion in public life.” The second is the relationship between Christianity and Islam.

“This [second] challenge requires careful and deep reflection, respectful dialogue and candid discussion,” he said. “Authentic dialogue cannot be just vague expressions of goodwill, empty of a search for truth and unity.”

He said the USCCB supports the view of political leaders who have declared that the struggle against terrorism is not a war against Islam.
The bishop also responded to the State Department’s release last week of a status report on religious freedom around the world. He commented on the situation in Iraq, Israel, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Burma and Cuba.

While commending Iraq’s efforts to establish a stable democracy, Bishop Ramirez expressed concerns about the new Iraqi constitution. “Even though the constitution promotes the concept of religious freedom, some provisions circumscribe religious liberty by not allowing any law to contradict the principles of Islam,” he said.

The 1993 Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See was a welcome development, said the bishop, but the failure to conclude negotiations on economic and other issues of importance to the Catholic Church and the wider Christian community in the Holy Land is a concern.
He also spoke of the “shameful” attacks on Christians in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This violence indicates “that much more can be done to insist that each of these states act with greater conformity with international law and greater respect for religious rights,” said the bishop.

For the full text of Bishop Ramirez’s testimony, go to:

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 28, 2014

Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 13: 1-11
Gospel:: Mt 13: 31-35

Saint of the Day

St. Victor I, Pope »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:31-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: