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Australian speaks on Religious Freedom at Vatican conference

Australian Jesuit, Father Daniel Madigan, described religious freedom as intrinsically connected to all other human rights at a US Embassy-sponsored conference at the Vatican.

The event - The Holy See and Contemporary Challenges to Religious Freedom - was held on Friday at Rome's Gregorian University on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Holy See and the United States.

Fr Madigan, director of the Institute for the Study of Religions and Culture at Rome's Gregorian University, spoke of the need to take a holistic approach to promoting the dignity and human rights of all people.

Father Madigan told the conference that many conflicts that seem to have a religious root are, in fact, conflicts in which religious differences are manipulated to defend economic or political power.

In addition, he said, "the global political situation, in its current critical state, is also played out on a local level" with some Christian communities suffering because of what some Muslim communities view as a global Christian offensive against Islam.

"If religious freedom is intrinsically connected to all other human rights, he said, then those who want to promote religious liberty must also promote the other rights that are inherent to human dignity.

"An international economic order that does not value the dignity of the human person more than "unbridled profit" cannot contribute to increased religious freedom", Father Madigan said.

And, he said, "we cannot expect that international relations not built on mutual respect, dialogue and consensus will ever contribute to the spread of religious freedom."

No nation has perfect religious freedom record, Vatican official says (CNS 3 Dec 2004)

Vatican official speaks on religious freedom at US-sponsored conference in Rome (Catholic News Agency 3/12/04)
United States Embassy to the Holy See | Religious Freedom: The Cornerstone of Human Dignity Conference
Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the 50th General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation (5/10/95)
Gregorian University

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6 Dec 2004