Pope Decries Religious Intolerance

Pope Francis I just made a visit to Albania and gave a speech decrying religious intolerance around the world. I agree with most of what he said, of course, including the need for interfaith community service, but it does raise questions about Catholic history that I’m sure he would rather avoid.

We cannot deny that intolerance towards those with different religious convictions is a particularly insidious enemy, one which today is being witnessed in various areas around the world…. [A]ll those forms which present a distorted use of religion, must be firmly refuted as false since they are unworthy of God or humanity. Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence! No one must use the name of God to commit violence! To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.

Seen in this light, religious freedom is not a right which can be guaranteed solely by existing legislation, although laws are necessary. Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.

The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters. When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others….

The second attitude which fosters the promotion of religious freedom is the work done in service of the common good…. The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom!

But this also means that the Catholic Church itself, which claims to be the one and only representative of God on earth, committed a “grave sacrilege” and therefore was not an “authentic religion” for most of its existence. The pogroms against Jews that went on for centuries, the various Inquisitions that tortured and killed in the name of God, with the full support of innumerable popes and the institutional weight of the church behind it. By the pope’s own logic, the church he leads is guilty of being “inhuman.”

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mobius

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  • Alverant

    I wonder if this pope will ever fully acknowledge the crimes his church has committed and continues to commit.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Whatta buncha liberal hogwash! Impeach the Pope!

    /O’Reilly

  • mikeym

    Doubtless the Holy Father will now demand that nations with Catholicism as their state religion disestablish immediately.

  • eric

    religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.

    Attitude 1: inform police when you have a credible reason to suspect a child has been abused, and cooperate fully with police investigation of such.

    Attitude 2: actively speak out when any leading member of your organization (such as a bishop) supports heinous punishment for free expression, such as has gone on in India, and what is going on (albeit mostly with Protestant church leaders, not Catholic ones) in Ghana.

  • eric

    @3 – he’s a PINO!

  • velociraptor

    “To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.”

    So the Church Catholic will now have female priests and recognize gay marriage?

  • Die Anyway

    Aaagh, another mainspring sprung. It seems as if I have to repair my irony meter every time I read DFTCW. The pope should be embarrassed to say anything about these issues other than abject apologies for the church’s past and promises to fix it immediately.

  • dingojack

    I read it as “Pope Describes Religious Intolerance”.

    :) Dingo

  • D. C. Sessions

    Those of us who remember Vatican II might reflect on the relationship to the VII acknowledgment of the Church’s past offenses against Jews — and the firestorm it raised.

  • Michael Heath

    Pope Francis 1 states:

    Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence!

    Frank’s either lying or claiming that God will not cause suffering in the after-life. I’ll go with the former.

    The more interesting question is how delusional he is regarding his position on the matter, there I guess it’s mucho. I find that’s always the most interesting question when analyzing those who have religious beliefs. To what degree does an individual avoid, deny, or depend on logical fallacies to maintain their faith, with all its contradictions.

  • Michael Heath

    Frank states:

    The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters.

    He can’t state ‘equals’ here rather than ‘brothers and sisters’ since his church continues to discriminate and abuse some groups of people, e.g., women, children, and gays.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    y the pope’s own logic, the church he leads is guilty of being “inhuman.”

    True but the biblical standard requires the sheep to act inhumanely, which they’ve always done and continue to do. And let’s not forget the exemplar on carrying out this standard, the Bible’s god promises inhumanity on a scale no human could even remotely approach.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation…When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others…

    He’s not advocating tolerance, or really speaking out against intolerance — he’s demanding deference and respect for people’s beliefs. They’re not the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000263140906 Donovan

    @14

    I don’t think he is calling for respect for the belief.

    The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters.

    He specifically references people. And he clearly is NOT calling for us to respect Islam more then a Catholic. Yes, he wants the rights and protection to preach his fables without fear of harm, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t protect those.

    I get your general point, that beliefs have no right to protection. I just don’t think you make the case that this speech asked for that.